Where Is The Love For ... HEE SEOP CHOI?
Hi there. My name's Hee Seop Choi. I'm a first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers. You might remember me from a nationally-televised game between the Cubs and the Yankees a few years ago, where I had to be taken off the field by an ambulance after my head and the ground had a brief scuffle. Of course, the ground won, and I ended up with a concussion. (There was some other thing happening with some guy going for some 300th win or something, but, y'know, concussion.) But that was then, and this is now. In a world where people knew left from right, and common sense from sheer stupidity, I'd be THE starting first baseman for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Instead, I'm relegated to being part of a platoon with Olmedo Saenz. I don't have anything against Olmedo Saenz - he's a nice guy, leaves the seat down, and all of that. And, more importantly, he's hitting, so he's at least justifying his playing time.
What I don't get, however, is my manager's insistence on saying things like, "Oh, Hee Seop's doing so well right now hitting against righties that we don't want to screw him up and bat him against lefties." I'm sorry, but I don't think Yogi Berra would say anything as stupid as that, and at least Yogi's funny when he's being irredeemably dim. Can I tell you how many major-league at-bats I've had against left-handed pitchers in my career? You might have to take off your socks to count that high, so I'll wait for you to get ready.
OK. All set? Here we go. The total number of at-bats I, Hee Seop Choi, have had against left-handed pitchers is SIXTY FIVE. Let me type that one more time, just in case you were distracted by something shiny. SIXTY FIVE WHOLE AT BATS. It's, like, um, hi, I'm not going to be able to have a shot against lefties unless I get a chance to hit against lefties. I don't see companies doing this with new employees - "oh, well, that one time we had him do that thing, he didn't do well, so we're never going to give him a chance to do that ever again." Brilliant! No wonder American companies are doing so well in the global marketplace, with outside-the-box thinking like that! Hope you like your cheese, American Joe Blow!
Baseball's all about numbers, so here are some numbers for you. I am currently third on the Dodgers in home runs. I am also fourth in runs batted in (even though that's a statistic borne from opportunity and not real calculable skill, as anyone that can walk upright and clean themselves after using a toilet knows). While I'm only fourth on the team in walks with 12, that's a testament to A) the woeful lack of playing time I've been given (come on!), and B) the awesomeness of some of my teammates in getting on base, including the now-injured Jose Valentin - get well soon, Jose, and try to get some fielding practice in before you come back! (I'm kidding, but I'm not, y'know?) This is a better state of affairs, walk-wise, than what happened with the Marlins last year, where I ended up THIRD on the team FOR THE SEASON having only gotten 281 ABs with the Teal That Time Forgot. That's sad. And, unsurprisingly, the Marlins failed to defend their World Championship - of course, there were other mitigating factors in that failure (like, um, trading away Derrek Lee for me - I appreciate the thought, guys, but wow that was a goofy move).
And here's a set of numbers you folks might be able to connect with. This year, batting 2nd, I've been killing the ball - granted, it's only 75 ABs, but, y'know, a 1076 OPS is pretty sweet. Today, against the Braves, I was stuck in the 7th hole, which is part of the reason I'm willing to call out my skip; dude, learn to read a stat sheet before you fill out the lineup card, y'know? The guy in the #2 spot today was Oscar Robles. Who is Oscar Robles, you may ask? I have no freaking clue - he's some guy 3 years older than me getting his first cup of coffee this year, playing 3B in place of JV. And not only did he take an o-fer, but he took an o-fer while stranding a total of 5 guys on base, including two in scoring position with 2 outs. Because that's who you want for your #2 hitter - someone that will undoubtedly ruin your chances of scoring runs. You want to know how a team can get 9 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings against super-terrific All Star Tim Hudson and only score 2 runs? That's how. And don't give me that, "oh, he knows how to pitch out of jams" nonsense - it's real easy to pitch when you're facing a minor-league bus jockey. And, really, when you slot a guy into the place in the batting order that's going to see the 2nd-most at-bats during the game, you want someone in there that's going to have to be pulled for a pinch hitter, because, hey, come on, who doesn't do that?
Anyway, I don't want to make this all about me, though, really, Tracy, come on! What I wanted to do was introduce myself to you fine folks and tell you that I'll be around with more WHERE IS THE LOVE FOR... columns, to talk about folks that (like me) just don't get the love they deserve. Maybe I'll talk about teams and other things, too - I'll see how it goes. Unfortunately, there's plenty of them hanging around, so I won't be lacking for content. I don't know if Skip's going to appreciate my candor about my situation, but after getting a blow so that Nakamura jerk can play got-your-nose with throws in the dirt, and getting pinch hit for against a rightie, I don't know if things can get any worse. What, Skip, you want me to hitta five-lunna homa! Yes, vely good sir! I take-ah down that chitty wall now, yes! Hai! Vely good! Sheesh. I also don't know if my thinking jives with what most BBTN guys think, but, whatever, someone's gotta talk some sense.
Anyway, with weblog folks like FIRE JIM TRACY! and CHOI CENTRAL showing me love, I felt it was only fair that I reciprocate the love. Thanks, guys! Keep the faith! And, hey, thanks to you folks for reading! See you next time!