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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
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Two-Way Players at the Crossroads
2006-02-16 09:36
by Jon Weisman

Amid my nearly lifelong fascination with pitchers trying to play the field and fielders trying to pitch, Baseball Think Factory led me to these two articles: one by Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Rick Ankiel, the former pitching prodigy trying to forge a second career as an outfielder ...

How much of a future Ankiel has as an everyday outfielder could crystallize in the coming weeks. At two levels last summer, he hit 21 home runs with 75 RBIs in 85 games. He caught eyes. He evolved from experiment to curiosity to, although 26, prospect. When a club official was asked to ascertain what Ankiel's status would be if he saw the numbers produced, his age, his position, but not the name, he said: "Prospect. Definitely a prospect."

... the other by George Vondracek of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times (your vice-presidential gunfire headquarters) on Brooks Kieschnick, who actually succeeded in the double role for a season or two, depending on how generous you are.

He finishes his six-year stint in the majors with a .248 batting average, 16 home runs and 46 RBI. In 74 appearances over two seasons as a pitcher, Kieschnick posted a 2-2 record with a 4.59 earned-run average, 67 strikeouts and 26 walks in 96 innings.

Maybe major league baseball is just too tough a game, but I really lament that teams can't find more pitchers who can hit on their days off. Ankiel's on-base percentage in AA last season was .295, so he's going to have to come on strong and fast to make it to the bigs as a hitter. In the Dodger organization, Ankiel probably would fall behind Joel Guzman, Delwyn Young, Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Justin Ruggiano and perhaps Cody Ross as well.

* * *

Thank goodness for reruns - otherwise the cliché of a team like the 2005 Dodgers looking like a MASH (or M*A*S*H) unit might soon be gone forever.

* * *

In a dream last night, the Dodgers signed Neifi Perez and I was in a quagmire of writing about it for Dodger Thoughts. Many of my nighttime dreams are about going far down the road on or toward something but not being able to finish or arrive. None has ever been about Neifi Perez.

* * *

Good news: first baseman Jon Weisman is back for his junior year at Wayne State. Weisman OPSed .969 with a team-high nine home runs last season. He also had a 4.0 grade-point average last semester.

2006-02-16 09:54:25
1.   Andrew Shimmin
He'd fall behind each of those guys unless he got over his whole refusing to pitch, thing. Did the Cards really expect Ankiel to make anything of himself as an OF, or did they just hope he'd calm down and embrace his front-of-the-rotation SP destiny?
2006-02-16 10:08:26
2.   Bob Timmermann
The game of baseball is hard to play
Most lose at it anyway
The final out I'll someday make
So that is something we have to take ...

But two-way stars are painless
They brings on endless changes
And I wish I could see it if I pleased.

2006-02-16 10:11:29
3.   Jon Weisman
Bob is really burnishing his cat. I think you're ready for the Copa.
2006-02-16 10:17:35
4.   Jon Weisman
3 - Sorry, I meant to say "act", not "cat." I really feel bad, unless you were at a taxidermist in the past year.
2006-02-16 10:23:09
5.   gvette
If the transition weren't so hard, we would have been forced to watch the career of Jeff Hamilton, starting pitcher.
2006-02-16 10:26:55
6.   Another Tom
Somewhat Off Topic: The WBC hats for sale. 35 bones seems a little steep, especially for such awful lids as a couple of them are (read: Mexico and Puerto Rico).

I think I'll pick up a Canada hat. I'm going to become a Canadian citizen if '08 goes as '04.(*)

(*)Politcial commentary.

2006-02-16 10:34:58
7.   Blaine
Would Darren Dreifort had a better career as an outfielder than he did as a pitcher? If I remember correctly, he was a great hitter in college. Would his body have held up better playing outfield during his career rather than the grind of pitching?
2006-02-16 10:36:51
8.   Bob Timmermann
I had a dream two nights ago that my family went on a vacation to a luxury hotel in Darfur.

One of my brothers complained about it during the dream.

2006-02-16 10:40:20
9.   Jon Weisman
6 - * Yeah, let's nip that political commentary in the bud right now. Really not wanted here, however self-aware it is. Thanks.
2006-02-16 10:51:26
10.   Bob Timmermann
Judging by the current post in The Juice, you can safely take political commentary over there.
2006-02-16 10:55:37
11.   Another Tom
9 - No prob Jon, my bad. The Canada hat just looked so nice and inviting I couldn't resist.

I do dig the China hat. It's got that whole hammer-and-sickle feel. The Olympics needs more of that. Enough of this feel-good stuff, let's get some USA v. USSR going. The Us v. Them is what the world go 'round. Even the arcade table hockey game would boo when the Soviets scored....

2006-02-16 10:56:06
12.   oldbear
7. I remember Dreifort pitching against the Cubs one nite at DS. I think he hit 2 HR's IIRC. Or maybe it was 1HR and 1 long double.

He crushed the ball.

2006-02-16 11:04:08
13.   Ben P
Ankiel's OBP is low but he did slug .515 in AA last year and struck out less than I would expect from a converted pitcher -- 29 K in 136 AB. I would agree with the article that if he was named Joe Shmoe and had put up those numbers in his first year as a professional hitter we would be pretty impressed.
2006-02-16 11:13:11
14.   GoBears
3 burnishing his cat

You've done it, Jon. After years of skilled and careful writing, you've coined a phrase. I thank you for your correction in 4 - I thought I'd run across a metaphor I hadn't heard before - but now I see that it was merely accidental genius.

So, to enter it into Wikipedia, we'll need to define the parameters of "burnishing one's cat." With all due respect, this turn of phrase seems bigger even than Bob T - it should probably be defined in more general terms than "embarking upon a Timmermannian (Timmermannic?) song parody." And, of course, in sticking with the G-rating of the site, it'll have to be something that won't offend the APSCA. I'll open it to the floor.

As soon as it's defined, I'll work on burnishing my own cat.

2006-02-16 11:14:01
15.   Jon Weisman
13 - Except that rarely does someone's first year as a professional hitter come at age 26. If Joe Shmoe puts up those numbers at age 26, few would think he's a real prospect.

Like I said, if Ankiel can come on fast, great. But he's still got a ton to prove.

2006-02-16 11:19:57
16.   Linkmeister
14 Please explain why "gilding a lily" (not Evangeline) does not already fill the space "burnishing a cat" would take up.
2006-02-16 11:20:13
17.   Jon Weisman
14 - Consider it officially endorsed, pending Bob's approval.
2006-02-16 11:21:33
18.   Jon Weisman
16 - one is exaggeration, the other is striving toward perfect expression.
2006-02-16 11:28:42
19.   Marty
Just burnishing the cat over here...

A few years ago a group of my friends were watching TV and happened on an old tv star doing an infomercial for woks. After that, "He's selling woks" became a euphemism for a washed-up actor in my circle.

2006-02-16 11:32:49
20.   GoBears
14 Hmm, that's irony for ya. In ribbing Jon about a simple typo, I made the same kind myself.


2006-02-16 11:56:04
21.   Xeifrank
Rick Ankiel caused the worth of my baseball card collection to go down the drain. vr, Xei
2006-02-16 12:00:45
22.   Bob Timmermann
I might have to go get a new cat so I can burnish it.
2006-02-16 12:34:31
23.   Linkmeister
20 GoBears, you have just proven (yet again!) the validity of Hartman's Law:

Hartman's Law of Prescriptivist Retaliation states that any article or statement about correct grammar, punctuation, or spelling is bound to contain at least one error.

2006-02-16 12:40:00
24.   Linkmeister
I see that the original law spells "error" without the double "r":

I assumed that was a mistake and corrected it when I typed it. Shoulda recognized the implicit irony.

2006-02-16 12:41:19
25.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
Then there's the phrase "stemming the rose," which I learned from watching Brokeback Mountain. Don't know what it means, but from the way Randy Quaid spat it out it's not complimentary.
Unless, perhaps, Jake Gyllenhaal's character was considering a career as a florist.
2006-02-16 13:02:35
26.   oldbear
I think there are big differences in Colletti and DePo after the off-season has gone by.

#1. DePo knew the value of acquiring young cheap position players entering their prime (Antonio Perez, Jayson Werth, Milton Bradley, Hee Seop Choi).---->>>> I've only seen Colletti acquire Seo in this fashion. There's alot more upside to DePo's pickups, than with Colletti's. Every team with a normal needs cheap, effective, young position players in order to be able to afford the higher priced stars.

#2. DePo also seemed comfortable with giving young players a shot. Colletti has gone with vets past their primes (Nomar over Choi, Mueller over Aybar, Lofton over Bradley, Tomko over Billingsley)...

#3. At the beginning of the off-season it seemed they were similar, but as time has passed the Tomko, Nomar, and EJ/Tiff deals were enough to see a pretty pronounced difference in my opinion. DePo was all about bringing in cheap value guys, and using the saved cash to acquire legit stars. Colletti just seems content with having a roster full of middle priced guys, but whom dont make alot of difference.

2006-02-16 13:13:25
27.   Curtis Lowe
26- How could Colletti realisticly have stood still this offseason? He was just hired as GM and you expect him to start the GM that just got fired's acquisitions?(Excluding Aybar).
2006-02-16 13:17:16
28.   Jon Weisman
26, 27 - I think you guys are sort of in the wrong thread.
2006-02-16 13:24:10
29.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
26 - As far as Colletti's fondness toward "vets past their primes," that may be true but only to an extent. To his credit, he didn't offer any of the vets contracts that were ridiculous in terms of length. Also, he seemed to know the difference between "past their primes" and "over the hill." Remember, there was serious concern on DT that Colletti's fetish toward Giants and veterans would saddle the Dodgers with the likes of J.T. Snow. Ick.
2006-02-16 13:28:09
30.   Humma Kavula
25 I also learned "stem the rose" from Brokeback Mountain, and while I also don't know what it means, I will say:

My imagination runs WILD.

2006-02-16 14:45:29
31.   scareduck
"Burnishing the cat": an imaginary pastime of no actual importance, but useful as an excuse to avoid an undesirable date. "I'd love to, but I have to burnish the cat tonight. He's two, and the vet says he's overdue."
2006-02-16 14:48:51
32.   dzzrtRatt
Since we're talking about idiomatic expressions that we hear but don't understand, let me recommend the following site:

This site is called "I am Chinese. Correct My English." A Chinese student at Cambridge University blogs about idiomatic expressions he hears and what he thinks they mean, and the commenters try to help him refine his understanding of them. Obviously, the feedback he gets helps the blogger, but it also gives native English speakers a fresh angle on the oddness of our language and expressions.

Meanwhile, I'm getting my cat together and taking it on the road....

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