Honest to god, if I have to ignore one more misty-eyed salute to brave soldier Reed Johnson, I'm going to cry. The entire cult of the underdog in this city is depressing and predictable.
Does the fact that Reed Johnson looks like he's running fast make him the fastest runner on the team? Of course not. Does getting hit by a pitch mean you've suddenly developed a patient hitting approach? Nope. Devon White didn't get his uniform dirty often, does that mean he isn't as a good a centerfielder as Reed Johnson? If you trot around the bases and keep from dirtying your uniform, is that a bad thing? You won't even break a sweat. Slacker.
Why doesn't John MacDonald play every day? He doesn't swing the bat well enough to help his team win. Would all these hustle apologist rather see Eric Hinkse, Reed Johnson or Aaron Rowand in left field over Manny Ramirez? Manny's a terrible fielder, generally loafs around but also happens to be one of the better right handed hitters of all time. Miguel Cabrera is fat and has had declining zone ratings for the past three seasons. His own pitchers call him lazy. There is reason that he just signed a massive contract extension the same weekend Reed was let go. The goal here is to win games. If you win enough games, you win the championship. There is only one tangible or meaningful way to dirty up your uniform.
I've begun to question what people want, what they hope to get out of investing themselves in teams and players. Do they not want to win? If you are a fan of the team, isn't the team achieving success the desired outcome? We have a lot of fun at JP's expense around here, and despite this depressing article regarding JP's assessment and subsequent passing on Troy Tulowitzki (H/T to DJF), the Jays management are doing what they feel they have to compete. They didn't score enough runs to win enough games last year. They have a fantastic pitching staff that will not suffer by having an inferior defensive team behind it.
These guys are positioned as up-by-the-bootstraps, feel-good stories, but it's a lie. It is more to do with optics than reality. People like to like David Eckstein, but realize how much better the Jays would be with Tulowitzki in the lineup. Again, I like talented people doing things with their rare talents. I like Roy Halladay because he works hard to make the most of his talent, not overcompensate for his lack of it.
Note: The Mockingbird continues to be the polar opposite and intellectual superior of our blog. I'm no stathead but I know that more talent (assembled and coaxed in an intelligent and thoughtful manner) is better than having less talent. You can't hustle away from the truth forever.