I'm not exactly sure how Plaschke gets away with this kind of writing on such a daily basis, but the people in LA must really be hurting. I've read a handfull of this guys work and every one of them makes me want to puke.
Dodgers' Juan Pierre is right where he belongs. He's been booed by fans and brutalized by bloggers, but his old-school play and speed will benefit the team as he becomes a complement and not the cornerstone of the lineup. Does he mean that Juan Pierre is going to the bench?
March 5, 2008"I'm coming into this season with a chip on my shoulder . . . just like every season," says Pierre. And the last 3 season, with said chip, you sucked.
Fans don't appreciate him. Statisticians can't calculate him. Bloggers downright brutalize him. and for good reason.
I like him. because you are stupid.
Now that the Dodgers have added Rafael Furcal's health and Andruw Jones' pop, I think Juan Pierre's presence at the top of the lineup will be as oversized as his cap. That was actually kinda funny. Let me try... After 17 years of constantly shrinking his uniform, Juan Pierre can finally fit into a medium.
Now that the Dodgers have moved him to left field, I think Juan Pierre will fit as easily there as his bat fits on a bunt. So... Um... Yeah... that wasn't as good. Because seeing Juan bunt every at bat is like watching Sergio Garcia twitch 97 times before he hits the ball.
Now that Joe Torre is installing an aggressive running game, I think Pierre's ability on the basepaths will be as evident as the dirt streaks on his jersey. Lets hope those are dirt streaks.
Hate him or not. Hate him.
"My game is not pretty, it's just not pretty," Pierre says. "You have to be an old-school guy to appreciate it." Too bad we don't play in the old school era. I'm sure if we played in that era everyone would appreciate it.
That's one more reason this will be a good year for Juan Pierre. Because he is older?
Torre is one of those old-school guys who appreciates him. Because Torre is older?
"He does things the right way," Torre says. Compared to the rest of the team. Specifically Andre Ethier who is competing with Pierre for playing time. Andre likes to do the BIG things instead of the little things. And he usually does them the wrong way. He holds the bat by the fat end. He wears his helmet backwards and one time he was caught running the bases in reverse order.
Contrary to the winter hopes of many Dodgers fans, Torre's lineups have indicated that Pierre will be the starting left fielder ahead of Andre Ethier. Mostly because when torre last saw Pierre, Pierre was kinda good. Since then Pierre has become an out machine.
Pierre adds an irreplaceable speed component to the top of the Dodgers order. And, in left field, what Pierre lacks in arm, he can overcome with that speed. Because instead of throwing the ball to the infield he is going to run it in.
"Johnny Damon never had much of an arm, we moved him to left field, it worked out fine," says Torre. "You can offset that kind of arm with your aggressive play. You can get good jumps, get to balls that other guys can't." At least Damon can get on base and hit for about as much power as Ethier can.
Pierre also brings something that, during last season's doldrums, everyone seemed to forget. What can't I remember about Pierre?... Poor arm... Really fast... Low OBP... No Power... Bad defense...overpaid... significantly declinging!!!... that about sums it up.
You can find it in a locked box in his Fort Lauderdale home. 9 million dollars? Nope. I remember that part pretty good.
He's one of only three Dodgers with a World Series ring. Oh yeah... he was the guy that had 36 so-lo homeruns for the Marlins the year they beat the Yankees in the WS. He pitched in every game too. He was the only guy on the team that contributed that year. It was amazing. Too bad he really... REALLY sucks now.
"The young guys know about it, they ask about it sometimes," Pierre says. "But I don't like wearing it. I'd rather lead with my actions." Plus they don't make rings that small. From Juan himself, "Here's a good pointer for you young kids. If I show up early and practice really hard, no matter how bad I play they will give me a stupidly horrible contract for millions of dollars." Lesson learned.
Those actions were uninspiring early last year, the first of a five-year, $44-million contract that was questioned before the ink was dry. Maybe it's still wet. Let's do some investigating.
Trying too hard, he spent much of the early season surrounded by boos for a mediocre batting average, an awful on-base percentage and general ineffectiveness. Which is the Juan Pierre of the last 3 seasons now.
"Yeah, I heard everybody," Pierre says. "It was like, 'Pierre, you stink' . . . 'Pierre, go away' . . . I heard it all." don't feel too bad Juan. I did some yelling at other guys too. Namely Ned Colletti.
Funny, but the most active guy on the team never made a move. Lets define active. Juan Pierre was actively running to first base to make an out at a rate more than anyone else on the Dodgers and more than anyone else in all of baseball! Sounds right.
He never even turned his head. Gotta focus on those outs.
"To say anything would have been the worst thing in the world," he says. "Hey, I signed the big contract. I'll take the heat." It's gonna get hot. Four more years of declining numbers. Were talking HOT!!!
By the end of the season, the team was in such turmoil that nobody seemed to notice the only player who had calmed down was Pierre. Perfect timing.
He batted .308 after the All-Star break, three points higher than his average during Florida's 2003 world championship year. He finished with 41 runs batted in, the same as in the championship year. Other players on the Dodgers in limited playing time surpassed Pierre in the RBI department. Why are you even bringing this up?
He scored four fewer runs (96), stole one fewer base (64), and, with the exception of a lack of plate discipline amid a lousy offense, he performed just as he did in Florida. And the Dodgers didn't even make it to the playoffs.
In the end, Juan Pierre did exactly what Juan Pierre does. Less than mediocre.
While unfairly taking the fall for a team that crumbled around him. While it was a team effort, Pierre contributed the most to the "lack of production".
"In Florida, when we won, it was like, 'Oh, Pierre and Luis Castillo are the table-setters, they're the keys,' " Pierre says. "Here, when we struggled, it's like, 'What is that?' " Well, that's a lot of bunt outs.
This was also the first time Pierre had been criticized for his arm. Not necessarily. I remember him playing in Chicago and they ate him up.
"I've had the same arm my whole life and I'd never been criticized like this," he says. "I couldn't understand it. It's never been an issue before." I thought Juan was the kind of guy that DIDN'T RESPOND!! You just wrote it like four sentences ago.
Placing Pierre's weak arm under the spotlight -- and, in fact, putting his whole game at risk -- was the injury to Furcal. Damn you Raffy. You were the reason Juan couldn't draw a walk.
The Dodgers shortstop couldn't reach many shallow center-field balls that shortstops usually reach. I thought his speed was supposed to overcome things like this. When did it all of a sudden become the short stops job to cover half of center?
He also couldn't move Pierre along the bases as a good No. 2 hitter should do. Here's is the basis of a poorly written article by Plashke. Do any of you remember watching games from last year? Raffy lead off. Pierre batted second. Both of them played pretty bad. Raffy was hurt. And Pierre couldn't move Furcal over as good number 2 hitter should do. Is Plaschke really going to keep doing this?
Without a rangy shortstop, Pierre was playing a center field that was twice as big. This just in, McCourt extended the center field wall to 600 feet making it twice the size of all other center fields. To quote Mccourt himself he has said that now that we have a guy who can literally run the ball in faster than other players can throw it, he should be able to cover the outfield pretty good. Since when did the SS have to cover half of center field?
Without a productive No. 2 hitter, Pierre was a sports car stuck on a pot-holed road. I want to puke. Plaschke is bordering on a "Joe Morgan stupid" level. I would better describe Pierre as a little girls bike with the training wheels still on.
By the end of the season, he was listed as a Ned Colletti mistake the size of Jason Schmidt. At least Jason only hurt us for 6 games. We had to endure the Juan Pierre marathon out machine for all of the 162 games.
The situation is, he's nothing like the Jason Schmidt mistake. It's worse.
The truth is, the idea of Juan Pierre was a good one, and still is if he's on the bench.
I can't wait for Plaschke to come out and write an article bashing Pierre at the all star break. This guy has to be the worst sports writers in America!