Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Post-Game 39 Thread: Namaste

You see the light in me,
I see the light in you.
We thank each other for class today,

Over the past weekend, I overheard my daughter singing this song which she learned in her yoga class. It's always an adventure trying to pick up words from a toddler, but after I stopped her and listened to the lyrics more carefully, I realized that maybe they had application for my life too.

She sings the words at the end of each yoga class. So maybe I could use this framework to reconsider my thoughts on Juan Pierre?

The prior night, watching the Dodgers get shelled by the Astros 7-1, Derek Lowe get creamed in another outing, and Juan Pierre struggle to another 0-fer evening, I got into a verbal sparring match with another fan over Pierre. Pierre had just made his second out of the evening and I uttered "come on, Slappy, you suck!" or something like that, at which point another fan said, "how many rings do you have?"

I was shocked. I mean, I like this guy (I see him all the time as we have season seats nearby). And I was shocked that any season ticket holder would come to the defense of Pierre. Juan-for-four Pierre? Slappy McPopup? Never mind that the fan's argument was ridiculous, a point eloquently made by firejoemorgan earlier this season after Bill Plaschke made the same insipid point:

[Pierre's] one of only three Dodgers with a World Series ring.

But the finger -- the finger is what will lead the Dodgers to victory. Well, it'll have about as much impact, anyway.

You know who else has a Florida Marlins 2003 World Series ring? Ugueth Urbina. The evidence is conclusive: World Series experience causes you to travel to Venezuela, pour gasoline on some men and commit attempted murder on them with a machete. Ugie Urbina: he's a winner™!

But this guy was a passionate Dodger fan, and I am a passionate Dodger fan, and after two innings of arguing over three rows of fans back and forth about the merits, and demerits, of Pierre (basically distilled down to "his speed makes things happen" versus "his bat makes outs and his arm allows other worse things to happen"), fellow Son Alex Cora looked at us and said, "You guys are on the same team! Come on, now!"

Point taken.

Sometimes, in the heat of analyzing and overanalyzing every game while following the Dodgers through a season, it's easy to get harsh on a player's ability, or lack thereof. Pierre has been one of those guys that I tried to like--despite the fact that a neighbor and fellow Cubs fan presciently told me (after we signed him), "You will try so hard to like him, and fail."--but the fact is I've seen so little from him that he'd become the focal point of my disappointment about the whole team. This year, I can direct disappointment at a cast of characters, including Andruw Jones and Mark Sweeney, for starters; but Pierre's dislike remains.

In fact, I couldn't recall a game this season in which Pierre batted leadoff, and we won. Until last night, that is, when Pierre knocked in the go-ahead runs in Milwaukee in the ninth, then stole a base and scored, to put the Dodgers up 6-4 and win the game. Slappy. The hero, with a double no less. Wow. Nice job.

Okay, Juan, you've earned a free pass for a couple of games. You have been hiting well of late (.293) and went 3-for-5 last night filling in for the injured Rafael Furcal in the leadoff slot. I suppose, as long as you keep hitting game-winning RBI doubles, that I can bite my tongue when runners take three bases on a single when balls are hit to left field, or when you pop up to the second baseman with two RISP, or when you stand on first base and won't steal second. I'll stop the Pierre hating for now. We are all on the same team, we're Dodger fans.


Now where the hell is Andruw Jones?


Orel said...

A wise man once wrote, "And it almost seems like, in reading blog posts and comments, there are those who are predisposed to dislike him, despite his amazing potential."

Steve Sax said...

Hey, if anything, I was predisposed to like Juan Pierre, at least in the beginning. I liked the fact he played every day and that he has a great work ethic, showing up early and leaving late.

Then, after watching too many GIDPs by about halfway through the season, I started questioning why he was playing every day...