Friday, June 27, 2008

What Can Cinematic Xenomorphs Teach Us About Young Baseball Players?

"I almost got lost in Andruw Jones!"

Remember in Alien after the chest-burster pops out of John Hurt and disappears into the spaceship? And then the next time we see it the alien is fully grown and ready to kick ass? Well it turns out that kind of rapid development is pure movie magic, and boy am I disappointed our "Baby Blues" haven't undergone a similar metamorphosis in the Dodger Stadium air ducts, ready to pop out and dismember unsuspecting opponents.

Fast starters are the exception, yet every season they make baseball fans drool. In 2006 there was the Angels' Jered Weaver, who started the season 9-0. Last year Chris Young of the Diamondbacks hit 32 home runs. This year, the Reds' Jay Bruce hit three home runs in his first seven games. And these types of exceptions unfairly set the standard for other rookies, especially those labeled "hot prospects."

Why? Because the game works in cycles. Opposing teams make adjustments, and word gets around on how to beat players. Phenoms don't stay phenoms by doing the same thing; they adjust to the adjustments. And so we are all connected in the great Circle of Life. (Whoops, wrong movie.)

Anyway, next time Clayton Kershaw fails to get his first win, or Matt Kemp chases another ball out of the strike zone, or James Loney hits into another double play, just remember these kids aren't part of a parasitoid extraterrestrial species whose spawn springs forth fully-formed killing machines. Rather, they're just employees learning on the job.