He can't hit worth a damn. Of the players who qualified for the batting title last year, Ryan Theriot has a higher OPS than exactly four of them. Four. Nyjer Morgan, Alcides Escobar, Jose Lopez, and Cesar Izturis. Juan Pierre had a higher slugging percentage. I'm not kidding. Juan Pierre. This is how bad he is.
That in and of itself is bad enough, but when you take into account his base running skills when he actually managed to reach base, he is even worse. I always got the impression that a lot of Cubs fans were always kind of surprised when Theriot would get himself picked off, or if not surprised, thought he would eventually get better. That mentality about Theriot always made me think of this:
Of course, on the defensive side, Theriot was average at best and always seemed much, much worse than that. He had limited range, which didn't matter since he didn't have the arm to get off a decent throw on any ball he had to range too far for (not that he didn't throw the ball anyway). His decision-making was also questionable as it seemed far too often that when presented with two possible plays he could realistically make, he would opt for the third choice where he had no prayer in hell of making the play.
But one area where Theriot has always excelled was his pandering to the crowd. I'll give the guy credit, he must have sat and studied every single one of the cliches from Bull Durham like he would be tested on it because he had those down cold. He knew what Cubs fans wanted to hear. He knew what they liked to see.
So even though Theriot would have no chance in hell of of reaching a ground ball in the hole, he'd go diving after it anyway to get some dirt on his uniform because he knew the fans liked players who sacrifice their bodies for the team. He'd wildly try to take an extra base and get thrown out by thirty feet, but damn if he wasn't hustling all the way. Fans like players who hustle.
Off the field, he would plop himself in front of any camera he could find and spout off all of his well-learned cliches about hard work and determination and helping the team. One of the best moments of Cubs Convention last year was when Dempster and Theriot were on a panel and Dempster said to the host, Dave Kaplan, "I appreciate you giving Theriot a microphone so he doesn't have to chase around a reporter to interview him."
Well, Theriot is taking his pandering talents to St. Louis and he has already gotten started. Theriot did an interview with KFNS yesterday and immediately started ingratiating himself with the Cubs haters down there. You can listen to the whole interview here, but thankfully Paul Sullivan pulled many of the highpoints out of it for us so we don't have to sit through the whole thing.
"I'm finally on the right side of the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry"
On this much, we can agree. Is anyone really shocked he said this? What is he supposed to say? "I'm glad to have a chance to play with the Cardinals, but I'll always bleed Cubbie blue"? This is as standard and formulaic as when Jake Peavy, the new White Sox acquisition last year, said he hated the Cubs after singing "Go Cubs Go" in the Padres' locker room the year before when he thought he was getting traded to the Cubs.
Theriot went on to question the willingness of the organization to win a World Series, which I do all the time, but he was talking about the locker room. I bet when they were winning 97 games in 2008, the World Series came up quite a bit. My guess is the last couple of years were a little light on World Series talk since they were having trouble not losing series to the Pirates.
He managed to get a dig in at the Cubs' bullpen:
While complimenting the Cardinals' bullpen, saying it "seemed like everybody was throwing 100 miles an hour," Theriot asked a rhetorical question:
"Where's the guy that throws in the 90's, with a little sink right down the middle? He doesn't exist over here."
Making fun of the Cubs' bullpen is almost as easy as making fun of Theriot's baseball skills, but again, it will play really well down there where Cub Hating is as prevalent as mullets.
Theriot also mentions how hard he will play and refers to playing in St. Louis as "baseball heaven." It's amazing how thick he laid it on, but the guys interviewing him ate it up.
I'm glad he turned on the anti-Cub sentiment so quickly because I no longer have to dread the standing ovations the guy would have inevitably received every time he stepped out of the Cardinals dugout. Now he can enjoy his time down there in baseball heaven hitting in the second leadoff spot other wise known as ninth in the order. The Cardinals fans can enjoy his mugging for every camera pointed anywhere close to his direction and all of his "skills" on the baseball field.
I'm sure he'll be very happy and will soon land some endorsement deals.
(Photoshop courtesy of @plamorte)