Monday, March 28, 2011

When is a Baseball Player Not a *Baseball Player*?

What's one of the highest compliments you can pay a baseball player?
You can call him a baseball player.
This may be evident already; the guy wears a baseball uniform and works at a baseball stadium and gets a giant check from a baseball team every two weeks.
Yet it bears repeating that a player who plays the game right, not to mention plays it well, is considered a baseball player.
Last week, Mets skipper Terry Collins endorsed second-sacker Luis Hernandez to
"I like his enthusiasm," Collins said. "I love his defense. I like the fact that he switch-hits and he's a baseball player, as he's shown the last couple games that he's played."
One eagle-eyed fan of our national pastime noted that Terry Collins isn't the only one who likes to stock his baseball team with baseball players. "Chico" posted thusly on
Just thought I'd note that Buck Showalter was on with Francesa today and used exactly the same line about Nick Markakis.

Now, I'm not saying Hernandez and Markakis are even in the same universe.
But I'm getting the idea that it's manager talk for a guy who does the little things like sliding hard into second to break up double plays and having an understanding of situations when at bat and in the field. Stuff like that.
For his part, Showalter also wants "pile-jumpers" and "nuggets" among his baseball players. 

Luis Hernandez is a baseball player.
Last summer, Mets hopeful Daniel Murphy earned that unique distinction from his manager at the time, Jerry Manuel.
“He’s a baseball player,” Manuel told the NY Times. “I wouldn’t put anything past him as far as adjusting.”
[EDITOR'S NOTE: We here at Batter Chatter will miss the quote-worthy Jerry Manuel very much, and hope for his speedy, if unlikely, return to Major League Baseball management.)

Alas, not everyone shares Manuel's characterization of Mr. Murphy, nicknamed "D-Rex" for his short arms and angled running style.
Writes commenter RAVELO on the NY Times site earlier this month:
"Does anyone remember how horrible this guy [D-Rex] played LF? he is not a baseball player, hes a batter."
Murphy and Hernandez are both alive in the Mets' ignominious second base sweepstakes, though neither looks like a starter right now. What we do know is that Luis Castillo, cast off by the Metsies and resurfacing in Philly, won't be starting at second in Queens.
No range. No speed. Iffy attitude...
Luis Castillo is definitely not a baseball player.

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