LaRoche a Good Fielder? And Other Things

I do not claim to be an expert on fielding or fielding statistics. Nor do I claim to have studied the fielding abilities of Adam LaRoche live or on the tube. But, every comment I’ve read about him since his rumored and finally consummated trade to Pittsburgh speaks of him as being, at best, an average fielder. Definitely a lumberer.
Yet Mike Berardino’s Inside Dish left me scratching my head. He quotes a rival scout as saying, “Having him at first is like having another shortstop on the field. He’s a really slick, comfortable, fundamentally sound defender. He’s agile and mobile. That’s a big upgrade for Pittsburgh.”
Wow! Really. Anybody else heard that? If that’s true, I somehow missed reading that from other sources.
Absolutely fantastic story from Bill Simmons on’s Page 2. I love Simmons. I love the way he writes and I agree with his most recent post. I think it relates well to my recent post about the kind of posts I like to make.
Simmons writes:

the way our society works now: We embrace something new, digest it, beat it into the ground and move on to something else. One minute, “Borat” is the greatest comedy of all-time; the next minute, it’s overrated. One minute, everyone loves “Lost”; the next minute, we’re wondering if it jumped the shark. One minute, everyone loves The Killers; the next minute, they’re self-important sellouts. It’s the Everything Sucks Era. We spend an inordinate amount of time bitching about everyone else. Nobody’s good, nobody’s worthwhile and everybody needs to go away. That’s the prevailing theme.

That’s a well written sentiment. I’m going to go a bit old school and take you back to the reunion movie from one of my favorite TV shows of all-time. Several years ago “8 is Enough” had a two hour reunion movie. At the end of the movie, the youngest son, Nicholas (Adam Rich), interviewed his brothers and sisters about various topics. One question was “What do you think is the biggest problem in America right now?” Great question. Almost rhetorical and could be answered in a number of ways. Middle brother, Tommy (Willie Ames) answered by saying something like, “The biggest problem is a lack of direction. Everybody knows how to tear something down, but not enough people know how to build something up.”
That struck me enough nearly 20 years ago in 1987 to stay with me. Why? I don’t know it just did. But it was true then and it is true now. Does anybody who follows the Pirates closely really think that ownership or the GM is doing well? Probably not. I, personally, don’ t see the point in dissecting/criticizing/ripping Littlefield and Tracy for every comment they make to the Post-Gazette or the Sporting News. Some people do and I’m fine with that. Just a difference in styles.
Simmons continues later:

As recently as 20 years ago, the concept of a sports radio station didn’t even exist. Neither did the internet or DirecTV. Fantasy leagues and SportsCenter were just starting to round into shape, but it was still pretty early for both. You simply watched a game, discussed it with friends, devoured the ensuing newspaper coverage, argued about the game at work or school the following day, then you waited for the next one. Now sports has evolved into a 24/7 event, between the instant highlights and internet coverage, thousands and thousands of Web sites and blogs, an infinite number of fantasy leagues, a never-ending slew of sports radio shows, sportswriters screaming at one another on TV and everything else you can imagine. Every game and event is digested and processed almost instantly, and then it’s rehashed and digested again, and then it’s beaten into the ground, and within a few hours everyone feels obligated to come up with their own unique angle on things — even if it’s extreme, even if it’s insane, even if it’s blisteringly nasty or vicious, even if it’s completely nonsensical or inane.

I love sports. I’m obsessed with baseball. Yet, the concept of a 24 hour sports talk radio network is foreign to me. How could such a thing exist? Somebody talking about the current sports scene all day long? Simply not enough there to hold my interest for more than a couple of hours. Kudos to the guys/gals that pull that off. ESPN works because it shows live sporting events. But all sports talk all the time? Boring. Where SportsCenter has gotten off track is quite simple: too much analysis and not enough video highlights. The opening of the show is always three minutes of yesterday’s top game followed by five minutes of guys analyzing it. Personally, I’d rather see highlights of the next game rather than the break down of the top game. Drives me nuts. This comment from Simmons also speaks to my comments a few posts ago. Every one feels obligated to weigh in on every subject. Well, almost everyone. Not me. I’ll weigh in if my take/opinion is different than what exists out there right now. Otherwise, I’ll keep quiet.

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Randy Linville

Randy is currently living and thriving in suburban Dayton, OH with his wife and two kids. He was raised in Cincinnati, OH and attended Anderson High School. He went to Miami University (Ohio) and received a degree in Paper Science Engineering from MU. He is a devout Christian and a pop culture buff. He coaches his son’s baseball and basketball teams and his daughters softball and basketball teams. Randy has been a Pirates fan since the late 1970s and has fond memories of the 1979 World Series team. He began blogging for Most Valuable Network in 5/2004 after stumbling across a help-wanted sign for a Pirates blogger. He wrote for Pittsburgh Lumber Co. until the site merged with Pirates Prospects in 2/2011.

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