Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Theriot's Best Skill is Pandering

Ryan Theriot doesn't do much well on the baseball field. 

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)


Duey23 said...

You've had a lot of great posts over the years, but this one, has me giggling still.

Sadly, when the Cards come to town, 40% of the crowd will be wearing red and cheer and 40% of the remaining wearing blue will still cheer for him because they have no clue and won't even REMEMBER (if they've even heard them this week) what he said.

So all 20% of the rest of us will be a huge minority.

Kin said...

You're famous, Tim.

Aisle 424 said...

That's funny, Kin.

Duey, I think the Theriot comments are getting enough play in the MSM to turn Theriot into a villain by the time they play the Cardinals. He has really pissed some former Theriot-lovers off.

Anonymous said...

With time, I think Theriot will regret his words this offseason. Not because of anything he does on the field, but because he'll mature as a man.

Bashing your old mates isn't the right approach to joining a new team, let alone, the arch-rival. It's a lame move and a lack of maturity. Theriot should know better.

I'm a bit surprised, however, he's gone so far off course giving his professionalism with the Cubs over the years.

Chicago, and its fans, were nothing but fair to Ryan. And probably too fair at times. He seems to have forgotten the love...and there's no guarantee St. Louis supports him equally.

Ryan's sound-bites are cute for the moment, but I bet they're are a few Cardinal players thinking: "man, this guy IS a douche."

Love the pic, by the way:)

Aisle 424 said...

Thanks, Brian. Theriot has always said the "right" thing because he was sucking up to a single fan base. He said all the cliches and didn't mean any of them, but because he has a boyish face, everyone bought it at face value. He has played the media and the fans his whole career. Nothing has changed. Now he just has a different set of fans to be be fake with and it will rub Cubs fans the wrong way. It is all a show. All of it.

Southside Phil said...

All I know is that all my Cub fan friends loved Ryan because his last name spelled out "The-Riot," which, I admit, was pretty novel...for about a week.
After that, you could plainly see an overrated player who hustled for the sake of looking like he was hustling. This is much unlike Alexei Ramirez, who has tons of talent but doesn't like to hustle or look like he's trying...or maybe it's just that easy for him?

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