Where Is The Love For... Scott Erickson?
We here in the Dodgers front office hear what you're saying, fans. Scott Erickson has got to go. Scott Erickson is the worst pitcher in the major leagues.
What the meatheads and frat boys aren't telling you is that Scott Erickson is a proven winner. This is a man, let's not forget, who propelled his Minnesota Twins to World Series glory just 14 years ago.
Are you telling me, Dodger fans, that you don't want the same Scott Erickson on your team who outdueled the mighty Randy Johnson on April 26? Neither Ken Griffey Jr. nor Ken Griffey Sr. could manage much in the way of success against the devastating Erickson sinker that fateful day in the Metrodome. Scott Erickson's power simply spans generations.
On May 1, Scott Erickson shut down the Boston Red Sox - the very same Boston Red Sox who, of course, eventually went on to win the World Series themselves. Not even Hall of Famer Wade Boggs could manage a hit that day against the rubber arm of young Erickson.
Bill Gullickson. Roy Smith. Andy Johnson. Bobby Witt. Dave Stewart. They were all mowed down by the impressive force of the plucky Erickson. Even Charles Nagy - arguably the greatest major leaguer ever from the storied University of Connecticut baseball program - could manage only a pathetic piffle when his Indians crumpled against the Twins one sultry June night that fateful year.
We've known about Scott Erickson for a very long time, Dodger fans. And we know what he brings to a team. Proven experience. Championship poise. You may have heard some baseball experts call these "intangibles."
We're on the Internet, too, and don't think that we don't take your opinions into consideration. "He pitches like a beer league softball player," you say. "He looks like Jamie Moyer at 24 fps," you scornfully cluck.
The fact is, when major league hitters step into the box, they expect to see the ball coming at them at lightning speed. When it's slow, their little brains hesitate, and they fail to register the ball's movement at all. Most of these hitters barely graduated high school, let alone cum laude from Harvard like me, Paul DePodesta '95. Like the great Kodiak grizzly, a top major league hitter like Albert Pujols simply cannot react when his prey - in this case, the deceptively slow fastball of Scott Erickson - is before him, unmoving. Albert Pujols went to a junior college in Missouri, people. I shouldn't have to spell this out for you.
But if I must, let me put this in terms that even the casual baseball fan can understand: if you take the N, tilt the letter I a little, and visualize the letter M, it is absolutely impossible to spell "Scott Gavin Erickson" without "gamer." This is exactly what a progressive, modern organization like the Los Angeles Dodgers is looking for in this age of bloated contracts and big-money free agents.
Some of you bloggers, safe at home behind your keyboards, may want to call Erickson a "human taco machine," but we Dodgers choose to look beyond the tacos - even tacos such as those which Erickson serves up, drenched in guacamole and refulgent with luminous caramelized onions - and see what lurks behind the crispy corn shell of Erickson's 81 mph fastball. It's this type of thinking outside the box - nay, thinking outside the bun - that shall lead us once again to the promised land.
Paul DePodesta is the general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.