Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Texas Leaguer (Part I)


I love the Waffle House. There's just something about entering through those glass doors. Their food isn't so great but their people always shout out a warm greeting as soon as you set foot on their greasy floors. And they always seem to know what I'm thinking.

"You looking for a little computer guy with glasses and a laptop?" the waitress asked while pouring a cup of coffee for a patron at the bar. Her voice is raspy from years of smoking which reminded me that I should probably kick the habit sooner than later.

I nod and she points to the corner booth on the end. I can see his young face illuminated by a laptop screen. Deep in thought, feverishly typing away. I dropped my notebook onto the table and slid into the booth. He managed to take his eyes off the screen for a split second to acknowledge me. No words. Just a quick glance. What happened next was like one of those bloppers dropping between second and center. You don't know quite what to make of it.

The kid reached down into his bag of tricks and pulled out a ten page scouting report on Xavier Pacheco. He slid it over to my side of the table without taking his eyes of his computer screen. The report had a nice cover page with the kid's picture and his basic information: bats/throws, height/weight, date of birth, etc. Mind you, I was just looking for a paragraph or two about what tools he saw and what kind of player he thought Xavier would become. It goes without saying that Carson and I are on different planets. Maybe even different galaxies. Nah...different universes.

As soon as I turned to the first page, Carson pushed his laptop aside and said two words. "Chipper Jones." After a long pause, he went on to say that if he had to compare Xavier to a third baseman in the majors, it would be Chipper. There was another lengthy pause as he continued to study his screen as if the consequence of all mankind depended on it. The suspense was killing me.

I turned my palms to the sky as if to say, anytime you're ready, jack... He then went into this highly technical thesis of sorts using Xavier's varsity high school stats compared with Chipper's MLB stats. Oh, and there were graphs too. Lots of them. I took the liberty of showing you one of them above-- Chipper's OBP. He showed me all sorts of ratios and trends as well as their correlations. Although I felt like he was picking a stock instead of a ball player, I must say that it was a fascinating display. Of what, I still don't know, but it was interesting to say the least.

I was waiting for the page about Xavier's tools and how these fundamentals would match up to Chipper's. But it never came. It was pretty much a statistical lovefest. Carson admitted that this was the first time he had scouted a high school player but he was relieved to find all of Xavier's high school stats online with a local paper. He even found Xavier's "all-county" photo in the same archive. The traveling team apparently had a short bio for Xavier on their website too. The wonders of modern technology. But I always just asked. Which brought my curiosity to another question.

"Did you at least talk to him?"

"Maybe 30 seconds. Just enough to get his cell phone--"

I waved him off in disgust. It was time for me to share with Carson what I first wrote about Xavier when I first scouted him. I reached into my bag of tricks and pulled out a handwritten report done earlier this year.

8 Comments:

Blogger rluzinski said...

Ha! It appears Carson can't make his own graphs; instead he steals them from fangraphs.com:

http://www.fangraphs.com/graphs.aspx?playerid=97&position=3B_OF&page=1&type=full

Kind of sucks for him, since it's just a picture file.

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHAHA
Now we know it's fiction...
laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaame

3:43 AM  
Blogger M.Schumacher said...

You know what? I've had my doubts as to whether this was real or fiction since I found it, but I really don't care. It's compelling reading, and that's more than 99.9% of blogs can claim.

Real or fake? Who cares, as long as it's entertaining?

10:54 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

rluzinski: That's not supposed to be Carson's graph. It's just a graph. Look at the other pictures that lead the posts. They don't pretend to be anything other than pictures.

9:44 PM  
Blogger Dr. Funkenstein said...

So, Ben, what did you interpret the following phrase to mean?

"Oh, and there were graphs too. Lots of them. I took the liberty of showing you one of them above-- Chipper's OBP."

That said, it doesn't really matter. If you need this "proof" to know the blog was fiction, you're missing the point anyway.

1:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it neccessarily fiction for a guy using "performance" scouting to just steal a graph of Chipper's OBP than use his own? Maybe the "bird-dog" cited the graph and the scout just printed it out to show us. That is well within the realm of possibility. Stating to the contrary does not equate this blog with fiction.

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For a guy who attempts to appear so techno-illiterate, he sure can navigate the Internet pretty well (Wikipedia, ESPN stats, linking, etc). Plus, the whole BS stolen Chipper graph... I call BS.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

Look guys -- I admit it, I was so taken in by this blog when I first found it -- I decided to google some of the details and try and piece together who this guy worked for. Only problem is this: he doesn't exist. I'm not saying that's good or bad, but if you spent like 60 minutes just trying to piece this all together from start to finish, you'd end the silly debate.

Now as far as the entertainment value goes, I'm hooked -- you really are an impressive storyteller, whoever you may be. As a native Floridian, I also like the attention to detail you afford when discussing the various parts of my state. You must be a native -- if you're not, your research is even more impressive.

6:11 PM  

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