Tuesday, April 5, 2011

From the February 21, 2011 ESPN Magazine

The writer was Peter Keating. He speaks of Pittsburgh Pirates' catcher, Chris Snyder. Says Keating, Snyder has stolen zero bases, hit one triple and grounded into 43 double plays in just over 2,000 plate appearances. Now, if you consider that at its most stationary positions (1B, C, DH), baseball requires far less speed than any positions in any other Big Four sports (Football, Basketball and Hockey, aside from Baseball). Snyder may be the slowest pro athlete ever. He's slower than Bengie Molina giving Pablo Sandoval a piggyback ride. He's so slow, he takes 2 hours to watch 60 Minutes. (Keating reaching for the laughs, ya think?) If Chris Snyder were in the Olympics his sport would be plate tectonics. (Insert rim shot here.) Offensively his numbers have been solid and he's really known for his game-calling. "Speed always impresses but few can outrun mediocrity," says Keating. He goes on to state that the top career speed score ever was 8.8, belonging to Vince Coleman. From 1985-87, he swiped more than 100 bases each season. "Vincent Van Go" was a below-average hitter with a career OPS that was 83% of league average, and he made bushels of errors in left field. Secondly, speed is a measurable raw talent, and it's impressive to be the fastest at anything. But combining modest speed with discipline is almost always more valuable than flat out jets. Speed is cool. But sports don't just reward inherent abilities, they reward the intelligent application of those abilities on fields of play. (Keating closed on some good notes, I thought. Hope you did too.) Kevin J. Marquez