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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Matthews vs. the Internet
2006-11-29 20:20
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

The questions are getting asked ... and answered, even if the answers aren't quite what everyone will agree upon.

At his introduction to the Southern California media today, the kind of event that would normally pose nothing but platitudes, reporters emboldened by what's been written online about the Gary Matthews, Jr. contract challenged the new Angel. From Mike DiGiovanna of the Times:

... The Angels' new center fielder, who signed an eye-popping, five-year, $50-million contract last week, didn't feel the least bit uncomfortable defending a deal that has been roundly criticized — primarily by Internet columnists — as the worst contract of the winter so far.

"If you don't know the game, some people might think that," Matthews, speaking Wednesday at an informal media luncheon in Anaheim, said of the skepticism surrounding his deal. "But you have to look at the various ways I can help the team win. That gives you a broader picture."

Matthews, 32, had a career year for the Texas Rangers in 2006, batting .313 with 102 runs, 44 doubles, 19 home runs, 79 runs batted in and a .371 on-base percentage, the Angels needed a defensive upgrade in center and a boost in the leadoff spot, and the price for free agents has skyrocketed this winter.

But critics cite Matthews' career .249 average and .324 on-base percentage in the six years before 2006, the fact he has been claimed on waivers three times, traded three times and released once, and that he will be 36 in the last year of the deal. ...

Told 2006 seemed to come out of nowhere, Matthews replied, "Only if you don't know my work ethic, my desire to get better and to win. You have to look at the numbers the last three years, my runs, doubles, home runs, RBIs ... the average fan may not notice it right off the bat, but it's been a steady progression."

Whatever happens with Matthews, I like that a player's good character doesn't excuse him from answering for his performance and his prospects. The fact is that - nothing personal, Gary - some of the people criticizing your contract do "know the game."

Comments (103)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2006-11-29 20:35:48
1.   trainwreck
Interesting. I wish he went into specifics of what he can do.
2006-11-29 20:36:51
2.   trainwreck
Pujols is mad Howard won MVP and is saying the MVP should only come from playoff teams.

You should have been MVP because you had a better season Albert, that is the argument to make. I do not like the fact he felt compelled to complain to the media about this.

2006-11-29 20:37:05
3.   Jon Weisman
He did. Read the last italicized paragraph.
2006-11-29 20:38:40
4.   D4P
Any bad CF contract the Dodgers can sign, the Angels can do better. Or worse.
2006-11-29 20:39:30
5.   trainwreck
Well he said various ways I can help a team so I guess I was expecting something else then his rise in those areas.
2006-11-29 20:39:59
6.   trainwreck
5
Which are numbers everyone can see.
2006-11-29 20:41:49
7.   D4P
Which are numbers everyone can see

But not the average fan, who may not notice it right off the bat

2006-11-29 20:42:33
8.   trainwreck
Clearly, average fans cannot count. My mistake.
2006-11-29 20:44:41
9.   D4P
Average fans need other people to do the math
2006-11-29 20:44:59
10.   regfairfield
There seems to be a strange correlation between Matthew's counting stats and the number of at bats he gets. When his at bats go up, his counting stats do too. How can that be?
2006-11-29 20:45:18
11.   gpellamjr
I don't get it. I don't think Matthews needs to answer for his contract except to the Angels. From there, it's their job to deal with the media on it. I just think they're asking the wrong guy.
2006-11-29 20:45:52
12.   gpellamjr
10 It's about his work ethic and desire.
2006-11-29 20:47:25
13.   trainwreck
He wants to be great, unlike everyone else in baseball.
2006-11-29 20:47:58
14.   Steve
The burden of irony rests light on the shoulders of Mike DiGiovanna.
2006-11-29 20:54:03
15.   StolenMonkey86
3 - italicized paragraph? Where from?
2006-11-29 20:54:49
16.   StolenMonkey86
15 - never mind, I thought 3 was in resonse to 2 rather than 1
2006-11-29 20:55:11
17.   Jon Weisman
11 - In a sense, you're right. I suppose that my point is just that more often than not, the good guy label stops the media from questioning a signing at all.
2006-11-29 20:56:33
18.   StolenMonkey86
2 - Don't think this is about Ryan Howard. Pujols clearly directed his attack at Ernie Banks. :)
2006-11-29 20:58:12
19.   Hallux Valgus
well unlike Matthews, I have a pretty crap work ethic and only a vague desire to be above average. I guess that means I should get... actually, I think I'll wait and let JD Drew set the market on guys like me.
2006-11-29 20:59:52
20.   StolenMonkey86
so, if Drew signs in Boston, how long before he requests a trade because he can't take the media?
2006-11-29 21:06:43
21.   regfairfield
20 The media's hated Drew everywhere he's gone. I'm not sure increasing the value of that hatred's going to hurt him much.
2006-11-29 21:10:18
22.   StolenMonkey86
21 - I don't think it's the value of hatred as much as increased difficulty of avoiding it.
2006-11-29 21:14:31
23.   Bob Timmermann
Drew's first two stops in the majors (St. Louis and Atlanta) don't exactly have hostile media. Drew's bigger problem in St. Louis was his manager hating him.

Whatever the LA Area media said or wrote about him will be much tamer than anything that the good folks of the Hub come up with.

2006-11-29 21:25:27
24.   franklin
The numbers back up Matthews' claim of "a steady progression". I've seen this mentioned a few times already on DT and elsewhere but his last three years of 285/349/468 with about equal home/road splits make the contract look reasonable especially compared to Pierre's 298/343/383.
2006-11-29 21:27:08
25.   DodgerHobbit
It would be interesting if the sox kept both Manny and Drew.
I can see them being friends in a Chuck Noland/Wilson the Volleyball way
2006-11-29 21:30:37
26.   dzzrtRatt
I think Jon's point is well-taken. I wish reporters in Washington DC would do the same thing the baseball beat reporters did.

I can understand Matthews POV here, however. In anything you do, you judge yourself and expect to be judged on "what have you done for me lately?" Well, just lately, Gary Matthews Jr. has been a fine player. So I'm sure he found it weird that people would bring up his career batting average and OBP as if those numbers represented some kind of limit, the mean to which he will inevitably regress.

Matthews surely thinks, "Hey, I finally figured out how to hit. You're telling me I can't repeat 2006 or even get better?" Just because ballplayers know their stats doesn't make them statisticians. Their agents might know the age at which most players peak, but they don't mention it to their clients. Matthews sees no reason why the Angel fans won't fall in love with his production. Nor should he. It's the Angels' problem, not his.

2006-11-29 21:39:40
27.   Jon Weisman
25 made me LOL.
2006-11-29 22:08:10
28.   Gagne55
Off topic, but does anybody know what happened to Baseballthinkfactory?
2006-11-29 22:11:46
29.   trainwreck
In the last thread it was mentioned they were doing maintanence after their domain name expired.
2006-11-29 22:22:11
30.   natepurcell
a fitting pierre quote i found.

"I try to walk," he said. "I guess it's that pitchers realize if they walk me, there's a chance I'll get on second or third. ... I never swing when it's 2-0 or 3-1. It's one of those things. Some guys can walk. I think I could get a little better at taking that pitch right off the plate. I may be a little (too) aggressive with that. But I don't want to take my aggressiveness away to where it'll affect my hitting."

2006-11-29 22:28:38
31.   bhsportsguy
30 Of course that was a complaint about Drew, his lack of aggressiveness at times.

Not my complaint but a complaint that was reported throughout last year.

2006-11-29 22:32:49
32.   regfairfield
30 Over the last three years, Pierre has swung and put the ball in play 220 times in those counts. This doesn't include the times he's swung and missed or fouled it off. I don't know how many times this situation came up over the last three years, but 220 is a lot more than never.
2006-11-29 22:33:05
33.   D4P
I guess it's that pitchers realize if they walk me, there's a chance I'll get on second or third

I'm willing to give Juan (who needs a nickname*, by the way) Pierre some benefit of the doubt on his lack of walks, though not because pitchers realize he'll get on second or third, as he believes. Pitchers don't walk Pierre because they know there's virtually no chance of him hitting the ball a long way. Worst case scenario is he hits a single, after which there's a pretty good chance he gets caught stealing anyway.

It may be true that pitchers throw him a lot of strikes, which makes it hard for him to draw walks. But the strikes are not thrown out of respect for his speed, but rather a lack of respect for his power.

*I toyed with "Juan 'In play, out(s) recorded' Pierre", but didn't think it was very catchy. The acronym (JIPORP) wasn't particularly catchy either, though it's not horrible

2006-11-29 22:36:29
34.   trainwreck
Juan Saint Pierre

JSP

2006-11-29 22:40:07
35.   natepurcell
if anyone has NYtimes select and could email me two articles, i would greatly appreciate it.

it seems like paying 5 dollars per article is uh, quite a bit expensive.

2006-11-29 22:40:53
36.   D4P
34
Heh heh. I just rewatched GSP's victory over Matt Hughes. Good stuff. Matt made the classic grappler mistake of trying to prove he could win the stand-up game. Bad strategy.
2006-11-29 22:42:22
37.   D4P
it seems like paying 5 dollars per article is uh, quite a bit expensive

The New York Times has gotten better over the past few years. The average reader may not notice it right off the bat, but it's been a steady progression.

2006-11-29 22:43:21
38.   natepurcell
37

I just need two articles :)

2006-11-29 22:47:28
39.   Bobby Bran
I'd say that while it's refreshing to see the reporters asking tough questions, their target is somewhat misplaced: the Angels need to be the ones explaining and accounting for the decision to sign Matthews to such an extensive contract (and likewise the Dodgers with Pierre)-- the defense shouldn't have to be made by players accepting a deal that was offered to them by potentially bonehead management.
2006-11-29 22:51:33
40.   Vishal
[31] yeah, but if drew is a little more aggressive, that's okay. he can hit the ball out of the park no problem. pierre can barely hit the ball out of the infield.
2006-11-29 22:52:39
41.   Vishal
[32] where did you find that information???
2006-11-29 22:56:05
42.   Jon Weisman
39 - Yeah, I'm realizing I didn't word my post in the best way. I didn't mean literally that Matthews should be the one answering for his contract. I just like the fact that even though Matthews is a good story - local kid who struggled finally makes good and comes home - the other side is being examined in a mainstream publication.

It's not that big a deal - just thought it was interesting.

2006-11-29 22:56:39
43.   GoBears
33. Savior Faire....is EVerywhere!

http://www.citizenlunchbox.com/famous/critters-S-Z.html

2006-11-29 23:00:37
44.   regfairfield
41 ESPN's splits. If he had an at bat in a non-two-strike count, it means that he put the ball in play during that count.
2006-11-29 23:01:12
45.   D4P
43
How about "Pier One"...?

Juan Pierre = Pierre Juan = Pier One = Overpriced imports...?

2006-11-29 23:06:52
46.   GoBears
45. Ooh, me likey. Pier Juan. You Carolinians are too credulous. What you meant to say, and which is more appropriate, was "overpriced faux imports."
2006-11-29 23:08:26
47.   trainwreck
36
Yeah, he made a bad decision, but when he tried to shoot (one time)he got stuffed. GSP has good take down defense and is strong. He lost the first fight because he got caught in a stupid submission, but before that he was winning the fight.

Saint is a good name not just because it is like GSP, but because he has a Creole name (new orleans saints) and Ned kept praising what a good person he was.

2006-11-29 23:09:16
48.   D4P
Yes, "Pier Juan" it shall be!

PS: I'm only temporarily Carolinian...

2006-11-29 23:10:16
49.   D4P
47
I like the Saint idea, but most folks around here probably have no idea who GSP is, and thus wouldn't get the allusion...
2006-11-29 23:10:19
50.   GoBears
I know, but you'd better get out soon.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2006-11-29 23:10:51
51.   GoBears
Who is GSP?
2006-11-29 23:12:02
52.   trainwreck
A French Canadian that is the welterweight champion of the UFC.
2006-11-29 23:12:56
53.   GMac In The 909
25 and 37 have me cracking up in an empty newsroom. Awesome, awesome stuff.
2006-11-29 23:14:31
54.   D4P
I know, but you'd better get out soon

I'm trying! I'm sending out my application for a position at UCLA tomorrow. The odds of me getting the job are very low, as I'm probably not far enough along and there will likely be stiff competition (e.g. in the form of candidates who have been assistant professors for 1-2 years somewhere else). But it will be a good experience either way.

2006-11-29 23:15:10
55.   GMac In The 909
48 Pier Juan sounds like a winner.
2006-11-29 23:15:11
56.   GoBears
You can be a welterweight champion of a performance art?

Cool beans.

2006-11-29 23:15:24
57.   trainwreck
52
No one can handle his riddum.
2006-11-29 23:35:37
58.   natepurcell
so im watching the wolf/pierre press conference right now and randy is on the mic talking about how he wasnt about getting the most money and location was very important to him signing with the dodgers..during the part, you can see pierre juan in the background, hands in pocket, shoulders shrugged, heads down.

i wonder what he was thinking in his head.

2006-11-29 23:41:42
59.   trainwreck
58
Should I bath myself in dollar bills or fives.
2006-11-29 23:51:20
60.   D4P
I missed the initial Pier Juan discussions, so maybe this was already covered. But from what I can tell, of the 41 players in the league who stole 12 or more bases last season, Pier ranked 30th in SB%.

Just for kicks, you might also want to know that K-Lo ranked 10th, and Fur-kel ranked 31st.

2006-11-30 00:02:46
61.   trainwreck
Glad to know our top of the lineup will be running...

and then caught.

2006-11-30 00:27:23
62.   Yu-Hsing Chen
A Dodger related news happening in the middle east, the Doha Asian games is kicking off and the Taiwan team boosts Hong Chi Kuo and Dodgers SS prospect Chin Long Hu.

Kuo gets the nod for the start against Korea, in what should be the most pivitol match of the series, he did very well allowing only 1 unearned run through 5 inning while striking out 6.

a vast improvement over his last national team showing, where he hit multiple batsmen and blew a big game, at that time he was still battling back from TJ though and really was pushing it simply to go out there.

I'll update when i can grab Hu's numbers, though not so surprisingly he's had some nice defensive plays... now if he could only hit...

2006-11-30 01:09:22
63.   Vishal
[62] the description of baseball on the asian games website isn't particularly good:

http://www.doha-2006.com/gis/menuroot/sports/Baseball.aspx

2006-11-30 01:12:04
64.   Vishal
according to the website, kuo's run was earned, on 6 hits, 1 walk and 6 k's, and hu went 2 for 5 with 4 putouts, 7 assists, and 2 errors.
2006-11-30 01:20:35
65.   Samuel
62

I thought Kuo's last national team outing was in the WBC? or does that not count?

2006-11-30 01:47:00
66.   xaphor
63. I thought it was rather charming, especially the usage of the cricketing term batsmen, and it displayed knowledge even our GM seems to be lacking, "The big crowd pleaser is the 'home run', a ball hit straight into the stands that can score up to four runs."

Mr. Blogger Man, why won't the mean GM be nice to LA?

2006-11-30 01:49:04
67.   Uncle Miltie
Pier Juan is a good nickname. I like "The Professional Outmaker", though it fit Old Maid a lot better when he was slumping.
2006-11-30 02:22:03
68.   xaphor
For some insomnia fun, try out the online games: (weight lifting destroys your mouse)

http://www.doha-2006.com/gis/menuroot/funpage/onlinegames.aspx

2006-11-30 04:31:54
69.   Yu-Hsing Chen
only caught a glimps of the game and read some of it online as i was at work. will see the re-run a bit later. from what i've read anyway.

on Kuo: he gave up a bunch of hits but only 1 of there were extra bases, and while Hu was the only Taiwan fielder to commit offical erros, the rest of the team had some sloppy plays which is probably why some scored the run as unearned. i'll have to see the re runs to see what happened there. Kuo appeared to really picked it up a notch after he gets into trouble though. as 5 out of 6 strike outs came with guys on base. read something about the catcher calling for way too many first pitch fastballs and didn't try to mix in a few occasional backdoor curve that we saw late in the year. was also a reason why he gave up a bit too many hits

I forgot about the WBC, Taiwan's performance there was sort of forgetable too anyway, though they did make it very close with Korea dispite missing out on a lot of their better playres (Wang, and slugger Chen Chin Fung and a few others )

2006-11-30 04:35:17
70.   dodgerstang
Maybe, when Matthews said "the average fan" he was talking about about BA. .263 career is not something you want to get noticed for.

and for truly addicting stuff, check out:

http://addictinggames.com/lineflyerupdated.html

Jon and all, really been enjoying reading this blog. Thanks.

2006-11-30 06:53:04
71.   Terry A
I thought Pierre's nickname was Slappy McPutout.

That was Greg Brock's contribution, and it's a favorite of mine.

2006-11-30 07:44:14
72.   Bob Timmermann
They're are other people following the Asian Games baseball tournament other than me?

My work is done.

2006-11-30 07:48:57
73.   Bumsrap
Slappy more than one way to make out McPutout could have a statistic named after him. I wonder how his smtowtmoMcP compares with the league.

On another note the NY Times says On Thursday, Wal-Mart is expected to announce, based on its own estimates, that sales for November fell for the first time in a decade.

As a well known large contributor to the Republican Party it would look like they too lost a few seats in congress. Doesn't look like they will be buying Marlins and moving them to Arkansas soon.

2006-11-30 08:03:49
74.   StolenMonkey86
Doesn't look like they will be buying Marlins and moving them to Arkansas soon.

Well that's one way to avoid being punished by Rule 5.

2006-11-30 08:14:35
75.   Marty
Greg Brock, when he comes out of seclusion will tell you that Slappy McPutout is the official nickname.

Though, I'm kinda partial to Juan Out

2006-11-30 08:29:54
76.   Disabled List
Slappy works for me. Appropriate and mildly demeaning, but not in a nasty way. And it's not an obtuse pun like Pier Juan. (Although I did like Russeldinho for Russ Martin last summer. I was definitely in the minority on that one.)

p.s. Nate, if you still need those Times Select articles, I can help you out with that.

2006-11-30 08:39:37
77.   Andrew Shimmin
Now available from Walmart, the pony Steve linked to the other day. For thirty dollars less! Walmart: Always low prices. Always.

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.gsp?product_id=4875172

2006-11-30 08:58:52
78.   D4P
Walmart: Always low prices. Always

Ah, Andrew. Ah, humanity.

2006-11-30 09:06:55
79.   Steve
It's sold out, I wonder who bought the last one.
2006-11-30 09:23:36
80.   Jon Weisman
When it comes to a nickname people would be using here, shouldn't it be shorter - quicker to type - than the actual name?

I think maybe you need to find the shorthand, like JtD.

Slappy McPutout
SMcP
Smickpee

2006-11-30 09:27:02
81.   DodgerBakers
While Slappy McPutout is a good one, I like the reasoning behind Pier Juan better.

By the way, who is Lucille II? And how did he get his nickname? Thanks!

2006-11-30 09:32:03
82.   D4P
80
How about PJ...?
2006-11-30 09:32:27
83.   Sam DC
I vote for Smickpee, just because in a year, not one of us will ever remember how we got to that.

Then we could hold a Liar's Club thread where people tried to explain what Smickpee means.

2006-11-30 09:37:10
84.   Bumsrap
McOut is now available on the $1 menu at McDonalds if the McDonalds is inside a Walmart where apparently ponies are now being sold.

If Walmart were to buy the Marlins and move them to Arkansas would they change their name to The Arkansas Wooden Ponies?

2006-11-30 09:40:23
85.   gpellamjr
80 Until, reasonable as always, you said that, I was going to suggest "Juan up Juan down", which would work provided JP was in the leadoff spot.
2006-11-30 09:41:00
86.   Bumsrap
McOuts include pickles, onions, special sauce on sesameseed bun with no meat.
2006-11-30 09:42:02
87.   Marty
77 Somebody needs to buy that pony for Owen Wilson.
2006-11-30 09:45:39
88.   dkminnick
Our friend in Chicago who weighed in on Juan a few days ago had the nickname with the best ring to it - Juan The Outmaker - JtO.

Pretty negative, but all of them are, so far.

2006-11-30 09:45:55
89.   Humma Kavula
81 Lucille II is shortstop Ramon Martinez.

On the television program "Arrested Development," there are two characters named Lucille; the one who is not the Bluth matriarch is called, for short, Lucille II.

Because the shortstop Ramon Martinez is the second (and inferior) Ramon Martinez to play for the Dodgers, and because there are many Arrested Development fans on DT, he earned the nickname Lucille II.

2006-11-30 09:46:44
90.   Penarol1916
My vote is for Dirty Pierre.
2006-11-30 09:47:26
91.   Humma Kavula
90

When he gets a hit, is he "Lucky" Pierre?

2006-11-30 09:49:59
92.   Steve
I'm going with JtO. There's a ring of sadness to it that I dig.
2006-11-30 09:55:17
93.   Andrew Shimmin
If we go with Juan Out, that could be rendered Nobody on, Juan out--NoJo.
2006-11-30 09:55:21
94.   DodgerBakers
89

Thanks! I was always going to watch that show when it first came out, but I never did.

Ramon was a great pitcher, but does anyone know what happened to the youngest brother, Jesus Martinez? I got him to sign a baseball card of Pedro and Ramon at spring training one year and he was still in the minors. I never heard of him after that.

2006-11-30 09:57:56
95.   Marty
93 I like the cut of your jib.
2006-11-30 09:59:53
96.   Greg S
http://tinyurl.com/w67de
This ESPN article speaks the truth. Baseball owners don't know their own history and are doomed to repeat it. You can bet your $45M contract that they will be crying poverty and that the lockout/strike of 2011 will be a prolonged one.
The collusion damages will be higher this time as well.
2006-11-30 10:00:51
97.   Jon Weisman
In a way, Julio Lugo should have been JtO.
2006-11-30 10:03:11
98.   Steve
JtO carries with it a quiet dignity that Julio Lugo can never aspire to.
2006-11-30 10:09:08
99.   Andrew Shimmin
Gib and the Gray Ghost, paperback, $4.79 and only $.97 shipping!

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=1573009

Also, an update, apparently the motto isn't, "Always Low Prices. Always," anymore. It's "Be Bright," which I'm not in love with. I understand the point: "Hey doofus; we're selling that pony for thirty bucks less; what's the matter with you? Are you stupid?" But, still; not in love with it.

2006-11-30 10:15:47
100.   dkminnick
98, 99 - LOL
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2006-11-30 10:32:04
101.   Jon Weisman
So at least Pierre has quiet dignity. I like that.

New post up top.

2006-11-30 12:03:41
102.   bigcpa
How about OBP Juan Kenobi?
2006-11-30 12:20:45
103.   scareduck
26 - Matthews surely thinks, "Hey, I finally figured out how to hit. You're telling me I can't repeat 2006 or even get better?" Just because ballplayers know their stats doesn't make them statisticians. Their agents might know the age at which most players peak, but they don't mention it to their clients. Matthews sees no reason why the Angel fans won't fall in love with his production. Nor should he. It's the Angels' problem, not his.

All this is strictly true. However, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Angels fans will take out on Matthews the rage and frustration that should be vented in Bill Stoneman's direction when Matthews isn't hitting his weight in July. It's a simply incomprehensible signing compounded by hallucinatory comments from the player.

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