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Monday, January 16, 2006

Daily Southtown: Cubs Notebook: Grissom gamble

Grissom…the evidence of leadership never lies.

Dusty Baker, on Marquis Grissom…..It’s really a no-lose situation for us. What’s the cost of leadership if he can play some? That’s something lacking on most teams — it’s really lacking everywhere. How many people are willing to take a leadership role and accept the responsibility that goes with it?

To me, he’s like an Eric Karros type of guy. He’ll help everybody.

...Last year, he wasn’t healthy. But he told me, ‘Hey, man, if I can’t play anymore, I’ll let you know. You don’t have to send me home, I’ll go home. I’m not here to cause any trouble. I’m here to enhance and make things better.’ 

He’s a clean liver, he works hard and he’s a good-body guy. Those good-body guys don’t get as old as quick as others.

 

Repoz Posted: January 16, 2006 at 01:00 PM | 47 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Matt Garza smells it deep (Mr. Tapeworm) Posted: January 16, 2006 at 01:15 PM (#1823624)
Those good-body guys don’t get as old as quick as others.

That explains the amazing eternal youth of Slim Goodbody!
   2. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 16, 2006 at 01:53 PM (#1823650)
I assume when he says "good-body," Baker is not referring to Grissom's frighteningly misshapen head and neck area.
   3. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 16, 2006 at 02:01 PM (#1823652)
"To me, he’s like an Eric Karros type of guy."

That's got to be a terrifying quote for Cubs fans.
   4. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: January 16, 2006 at 02:12 PM (#1823661)
Dusty's got a boyfriend!
   5. Cooper Teenoh Posted: January 16, 2006 at 02:14 PM (#1823664)
"To me, he’s like an Eric Karros type of guy."

That's got to be a terrifying quote for Cubs fans.


You can't begin to imagine. Can we get Matt Murton a padded helmet.
   6. Cooper Teenoh Posted: January 16, 2006 at 02:16 PM (#1823666)
You can't begin to imagine. Can we get Matt Murton a padded helmet.

Um, that should be in the form of a question, complete with a question mark. Dusty has scared the punctuation out of me.
   7. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: January 16, 2006 at 02:34 PM (#1823680)
"To me, he’s like an Eric Karros type of guy."

That's got to be a terrifying quote for Cubs fans.


I'm still shaking. We need to start the Murton dead pool - pick the first full week in the season when he gets fewer starts in LF than Grissom does.
   8. Spahn Insane, stimulus-funded BurlyMan™ Posted: January 16, 2006 at 02:52 PM (#1823692)
That's got to be a terrifying quote for Cubs fans.

Eh, I don't know. Grissom and Murton are both righty hitters--there won't be the platoon excuse that existed with Karros and Choi (though of course, Choi should've had the PT advantage in a platoon arrangement).

FWIW, Murton appears to have quickly become wildly popular with the fanboy base. He was enthusiastically received at the panel he sat on yesterday at the convention, and the fan and moderator comments/questions both suggested that the rank-and-file idiots know what they've got here. I think he's going to stick, and that he's going to play very well.
   9. Gromit Posted: January 16, 2006 at 03:56 PM (#1823746)
He’s a clean liver

Thank you, Dusty! I've never heard a player referred to that body part before.
   10. Rafael Bellylard: The Grinch of Orlando. Posted: January 16, 2006 at 04:05 PM (#1823754)
We need to start the Murton dead pool - pick the first full week in the season when he gets fewer starts in LF than Grissom does.

Sign me up for April 17.
   11. PFJ Posted: January 16, 2006 at 04:31 PM (#1823785)
If there is a tough lefty for Jacque (Jones)

I can't come up with a funny comment, but that quote alone gave me a laugh
   12. paytonrules Posted: January 16, 2006 at 04:58 PM (#1823816)
I think he'll "earn" the job in Spring Training.

You know just like Todd Hollandsworth did.
   13. Fred Garvin is dead to Mug Posted: January 16, 2006 at 05:03 PM (#1823824)
We need to start the Murton dead pool - pick the first full week in the season when he gets fewer starts in LF than Grissom does.

I may be nuts, but I don't think it's gonna happen, not only because they are both RH, but because I don't think Dusty seeks Grissom as a corner OF.
   14. Jefferson Posted: January 16, 2006 at 05:23 PM (#1823848)
Grissom is probably through as an effective major league hitter, but he is such an easy guy to root for. Humble, level-headed, nearly always smiling. I hope he manages a comeback, somehow, and has a good year.
   15. jmac66 Posted: January 16, 2006 at 05:30 PM (#1823855)
he has a clean liver?

how's his pancreas?
   16. 1k5v3L Posted: January 16, 2006 at 05:31 PM (#1823859)
Worry not, Cubs fans; Grissom will die in his sleep before spring training.
   17. Hendry's Wad of Cash (UCCF) Posted: January 16, 2006 at 05:34 PM (#1823862)
he has a clean liver?

how's his pancreas?


Maybe the Cubs are just thinking of him as an organ donor, in case one of the good players gets sick.
   18. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 16, 2006 at 05:42 PM (#1823868)
Cripes, I was disappointed when the Brewers picked up Grissom back in the 90's!

And the Cubs want the older, slower, REALLY can't hit anymore version?

Is Jim Hendry in some bizarro management contest with David Littlefield?

DL: Hey Jimbo, just signed Robert Hernandez. Yup. That's right. SMOKIN' fastball on this guy. What do you think of THAT?

JH: Ah, that's nothing. I have Kerry Wood to throw heat out the bullpen. I signed Jacque Jones to SERIOUS money. He's the real deal. Yeah, baby.

DL: Pshaw. 'Tain't nothing. I picked up Joe Randa. The guy is MONEY. Glove, bat, and all kinds of heart. You know what I mean? Jellybean??

JH: You are so lame. You had to sign Randa cause I stole your third baseman. And did you know I traded that flamer Patterson and picked up a real pro in Marquis Grissom? We are SO getting the division this year.

DL: Oh yeah?

JH: Yeah!!
   19. Steve Treder Posted: January 16, 2006 at 05:43 PM (#1823869)
Grissom is probably through as an effective major league hitter, but he is such an easy guy to root for. Humble, level-headed, nearly always smiling. I hope he manages a comeback, somehow, and has a good year.

Word.

When the Giants signed Grissom to a 2-year contract following the 2002 season, I was mortified (as those of you who read my comments on this site may recall). But he surprised me, and was a solid contributor for the Giants for 2 years (obviously before collapsing in '05).

So, who knows, he may surprise again. And at any rate, he is one of the really good guys in the business, genuinely liked and respected by everyone. Grissom's an easy player to root for, and a hard player to root against.
   20. Evil Twin Posted: January 16, 2006 at 06:05 PM (#1823895)
On the contrary, it was very easy to root against Grissom when he was the highest paid position player in Milwaukee. Not to mention the minor whining that he needed to bat leadoff to really show what he was capable of.

He certainly has the reputation as a good guy, but he's been done as an everyday player for at least 6 years.
   21. jmac66 Posted: January 16, 2006 at 06:07 PM (#1823897)
I always wondered--does he have a brother named Viscount?
   22. Steve Treder Posted: January 16, 2006 at 06:18 PM (#1823915)
he's been done as an everyday player for at least 6 years.

Not true. Grissom played vastly better for the Giants in '03-'04 (and for the Dodgers in a platoon role in '02, in which he was great) than he ever did for the Brewers. For the Giants in those years, he was a solid, productive regular, not a star, but quite competent. I was as surprised as anyone, but it happened.
   23. Greg Pope Posted: January 16, 2006 at 06:20 PM (#1823917)
Eh, I don't know. Grissom and Murton are both righty hitters--there won't be the platoon excuse that existed with Karros and Choi (though of course, Choi should've had the PT advantage in a platoon arrangement).

Rember the last time Dusty had an opportunity to have a real platoon? Karros and Simon were a really good option for a platoon, but Dusty used his random lineup generator. I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out that he actually reverse-platooned them. Can that be looked up somewhere?
   24. Steve Treder Posted: January 16, 2006 at 06:20 PM (#1823918)
I always wondered--does he have a brother named Viscount?

Grissom's one of like 14 kids. His dad worked at the Ford plant in Atlanta, and named him after the model of Mercury he was building the day Marquis was born.
   25. Steve Treder Posted: January 16, 2006 at 06:22 PM (#1823924)
Can that be looked up somewhere?

Complete splits, as well as daily lineups, are quite available on Retrosheet.
   26. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: January 16, 2006 at 06:31 PM (#1823936)
By the way, I always thought that Rob/Rany owed me royalties on the use of the name "Grimace". I tagged Grissom with that moniker YEARS ago when he was the out-making machine of Milwaukee.

Nobody could kill a rally faster than my buddy Marquis. His knack for the sharply hit double play ball or flailing swing at a slider in the dirt with runners on second and third was without peer.
   27. Andere Richtingen Posted: January 16, 2006 at 06:32 PM (#1823937)
On the contrary, it was very easy to root against Grissom when he was the highest paid position player in Milwaukee. Not to mention the minor whining that he needed to bat leadoff to really show what he was capable of.

He certainly has the reputation as a good guy, but he's been done as an everyday player for at least 6 years.


I think if he's healthy, he can hit LHP, and that is how his job is currently envisioned.

The problem is that a team that isn't very good about recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of its players might see his success in that role and expand it, perhaps to the detriment of a younger player with more upside. And if ever there were an organization prone to making that mistake, it's the Cubs. One particular problem is that Grissom is not viewed as a RF, and the need for a lefty-masher is greatest at that position. All it will take is for Baker to do whatever he can to get Grissom's hot bat into the lineup and identify another position in which to insert him.

FWIW, Murton appears to have quickly become wildly popular with the fanboy base. He was enthusiastically received at the panel he sat on yesterday at the convention, and the fan and moderator comments/questions both suggested that the rank-and-file idiots know what they've got here. I think he's going to stick, and that he's going to play very well.

I see your points, and genuinely hope that you're right. But I think people are underestimating Baker's Ratchet: the force that very efficiently removes young position players from the starting lineup and replaces them with veterans. All it takes is for Murton to slump anytime early in the season, and for a veteran to get hot at the same time. All it takes is for Baker to insert the hot veteran in for the slumping rookie for a few days for the ratchet to start turning. The rookie finds it difficult to improve on his numbers because he gets less and less PT, and the veteran not only has some cushion in his numbers, but gets the benefit of the doubt for being a veteran.

Murton is truly a different case from that of Dubois or Choi, but I would never dismiss Baker's Ratchet, and I think Murton will have to come through strong, and most importantly, early, in order to avoid it. Cedeno I think is a goner.
   28. Andere Richtingen Posted: January 16, 2006 at 06:34 PM (#1823941)
Grissom's one of like 14 kids. His dad worked at the Ford plant in Atlanta, and named him after the model of Mercury he was building the day Marquis was born.

The sad part of that, of course, is the story of his sister Galaxie 500.
   29. Randy Watson and Sexual Chocolate Posted: January 16, 2006 at 06:34 PM (#1823944)
Foolish as it will no doubt end up being, I am a bit optimistic about Grissom as a Cub. Pierre will presumably play most every day in CF -- he's played 162 each of the last three years, and that seems like the sort of thing that Dusty would defer to. Everyone appears to be high on Murton -- to such an extent that it's possible that he's already been given his Proven Veteran Secret Decoder Ring, at least on a probationary basis. And Grissom is almost the Platonic ideal of a Dusty Guy: a well-liked elderly AVG-heavy player who doesn't draw walks and has a rep for speed and defense based on data from years ago. (You've got to get a guy like that in the lineup somehow, dude.)

The most logical way to get Grissom starts would be spelling Jones -- perhaps as an informal platoon. Barring any major trades, and given the predilections of the manager and the present roster, the best that can be hoped for is a platoon in RF, right?

If any player is capable of motivating Dusty to keep Jones off the field vs. lefties, it's a guy like Grissom.
   30. Andere Richtingen Posted: January 16, 2006 at 06:50 PM (#1823967)
Can that be looked up somewhere?

Complete splits, as well as daily lineups, are quite available on Retrosheet.


Simon was used almost entirely against RHP. Of course, during August and September of that year, Karros was horrible. He started August hitting .321/.380/.500 and finished at .286/.340/.446. Those last two months he saw some RH and most LHP, and really stunk against the RHP, IIRC.
   31. Passed Ball Posted: January 16, 2006 at 06:50 PM (#1823972)
The Pierre streak has to end some time. Now is as good a time as any for him to break his ankle against the brick wall in CF.
   32. The Artist Posted: January 16, 2006 at 06:53 PM (#1823974)



When the Giants signed Grissom to a 2-year contract following the 2002 season, I was mortified (as those of you who read my comments on this site may recall). But he surprised me, and was a solid contributor for the Giants for 2 years (obviously before collapsing in '05).

So, who knows, he may surprise again. And at any rate, he is one of the really good guys in the business, genuinely liked and respected by everyone. Grissom's an easy player to root for, and a hard player to root against.

Yours, mine, and every breathing Giants fan. But I'll echo the sentiments - I admired the man, and was pleasantly surprised by the ballplayer. As a lefty masher, Grissom probably will still be roundabouts replacement level.
   33. Steve Treder Posted: January 16, 2006 at 06:57 PM (#1823979)
The sad part of that, of course, is the story of his sister Galaxie 500.

And the youngest, little Pinto.
   34. H. Vaughn Posted: January 16, 2006 at 08:12 PM (#1824050)
He's so old, I'm surprised he's not named 8.
   35. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: January 16, 2006 at 08:16 PM (#1824055)
His sisters run the gamut from the oh-so-pretentious Crown Victoria to trailer-trash, Econoline.
   36. Andere Richtingen Posted: January 16, 2006 at 08:44 PM (#1824086)
The sad part of that, of course, is the story of his sister Galaxie 500.

And the youngest, little Pinto.


Then there's poor Thunderbird, who ended up on skid row, drinking fortified wine out of a paper bag.
   37. FDR Jones Posted: January 16, 2006 at 08:50 PM (#1824093)
poor uncle edsel
   38. Bunny Vincennes Posted: January 16, 2006 at 08:52 PM (#1824095)
Well great little Marquis is a nice guy. I've got $10 says he's the Team MVP this year. You can't disrespect what he's done in the past, dude.
   39. Repoz Posted: January 16, 2006 at 09:07 PM (#1824109)
of his sister Galaxie 500.

So now we know how Wilt Chamberlain padded his total...:)
   40. RichRifkin Posted: January 16, 2006 at 09:11 PM (#1824113)
I just looked this up, but it's interesting to me that Marquis Grissom's alma mater, FAMU, has only produced 4 major league players, yet all four of them were very good major leaguers: Grissom, Andre Dawson, Hal McCrae and Vince Coleman.

Most college baseball programs that have produced a handful or more guys who made it to the majors, produced more cup o' coffe players, then fewer who had okay careers and then the fewest who were all-star caliber. Yet all four Florida A&M Rattlers were all-stars.

That's probably just a coincidence. However, I've heard it said (by black critics) that marginal black players have been given less of a look than marginal white players. Insofar as scouts were looking at FAMU, perhaps they only targetted their truly outstanding ballplayers.
   41. RichRifkin Posted: January 16, 2006 at 09:17 PM (#1824121)
To see if there is a pattern with players coming from all-black schools to the majors, I just looked up Tuskegee University, which like FAMU, has sent four men to the majors, three of whom were pitchers: Ken Howell, Roy Lee Jackson, Alan Mills and Leon Wagner (OF).

Wagner was an all-star, while none of the pitchers was. However, it is again true that all four of these players had meaningful -- as in, non-cup o' coffee -- major league careers.

Eight players from two schools is still probably too few to draw any conclusions, but it's interesting (to me).
   42. RichRifkin Posted: January 16, 2006 at 09:28 PM (#1824136)
One last school to add to the mix for now: Grambling State. 12 players: 3 pitchers; 9 position-players.

3 big careers: Tommy Agee; Ralph Garr; and Gerald Williams. 3 small careers: Matt Alexander; Johnny Jeter; and Lenny Webster. 6 others who had a cup o' coffee or a bit more.

From what I know about a normal distribution of players, the Grambling example is more common. So it's likely that FAMU and Tuskeegee, do to such small samples, are outliers.
   43. Steve Treder Posted: January 16, 2006 at 09:39 PM (#1824145)
From what I know about a normal distribution of players, the Grambling example is more common. So it's likely that FAMU and Tuskeegee, do to such small samples, are outliers.

Interesting stuff, Rich.

Isn't one other possiblity that some cup of coffee players at those schools may not have generated enough interest/visibility for researchers to complete their college info, so you're just missing them?
   44. RichRifkin Posted: January 16, 2006 at 09:49 PM (#1824158)
Steve,

I suppose that's possible, too. I relied on the information from baseball-reference.com as my source for the above. I've also just looked at a list of historically black colleges and tried to see if the major league players that came through those schools were more like FAMU and Tuskeegee, or more what I think is ordinary. And I would say that it is the latter.
   45. Steve Treder Posted: January 16, 2006 at 09:56 PM (#1824171)
I relied on the information from baseball-reference.com as my source for the above.

Fabulous as that resource is, I've discovered some omissions in the college field. It's also the case that many players (just like many regular human beings) attend more than one college, yet one is all I've ever seen listed.
   46. RichRifkin Posted: January 17, 2006 at 02:09 AM (#1824428)
Steve,

I would guess that the information provided to Sean Forman (baseball-reference) comes from MLB, and they probably get it when each player signs his first pro contract and fills out a form. Insofar as there is missing information, it might be that the players don't care enough to be complete. For what it's worth, I just checked my favorite Gaucho, who also went to USC, and both of his schools are listed.

One thing that is rarely mentioned about pro baseball players who first played college ball: almost none of them graduate. It's remarkable how much attention is paid to that issue with regard to basketball players, while so little is with baseball. When my old UCSB roommate, Steve Connolly, was in the Giants' system, I recall looking at a media guide that listed every player in their organization from Rookie ball to the majors. I don't recall the percentage who had a college "attended" listed, maybe a third or more, but Steve was the only player who had college "graduated from" listed at that time.

What seemed to be the system then -- and probably still is -- was that the most talented ballplayers would use their college years as a chance to improve their position in the draft, so that they could get better signing bonuses. Many would go to a junior college for two years -- Sacramento City College was a great institution for that purpose -- and players would try to improve each year the round in which they were drafted. If, after two years at a JC, a player was still not satisfied with his draft status, he'd go on to a 4-year school, and leave after one year if he could get a good signing bonus. If not, he'd stick around for his last season. But getting a good academic education seemed to be low on most top players' priority lists. (What set apart Connolly was largely the fact that he was never a top prospect. In fact, he was never drafted, only signing with the Giants as a minor league free agent.)

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