Just when I thought the Cubs were best at something, along comes another team to take away their prize. I didn’t think any team anywhere could top the Cubs in over-hyping players the way Vine Line and Cubs.com and Ricketts’ puppet blogger have in the past, but they are going to have to step up their game to catch up to the Rays.
The Tampa Bay Rays are holding a Sam Fuld Superhero Cape night on May 29th at Tropicana Field.
I swear on a stack of Bibles I am not making this up. Here’s the link to the story in the Sporting News. (h/t WaLi)
Fuld, a 29-year-old outfielder who got his first taste of the majors in 2007 but played only 98 big-league games with the Chicago Cubs prior to this season, has been a revelation. More than that, he has been an inspiration.
He is inspiring children everywhere to run into walls and furniture at high rates of speed. Look at them go! Look at their bruises and scabs! What gamers these kids will grow up to be!
Through his first nine games with the Rays, Fuld is batting .313 with a .965 OPS. He makes diving catches, and he hustles like his job depends on it. Fuld missed his shot at a cycle at Fenway Park—keep in mind that he is a New England native—when he refused to stop at first base in the ninth inning, even though a single would have given him the rare feat.
You know why he hustles like his job depends on it? Because it does. He is the most easily replaceable player. There is a reason they are called “replacement level.” Yes, he has a .965 OPS through his grand total of 9 games played. Want to know his OPS in the 7 games prior to his super-cycle night? It was .638. If you put that on last year’s Cubs team he would rank in between Xavier Nady and Chad Tracy. In his game since the super-cycle, he went 1 for 4 with a single and lowered his OPS 60 points. Why are they only giving away a cheesy cape? Where is the statue?
And why would it matter that he’s a New England native? Does anybody really think he was more likely to stop at first for some feat of statistical coincidence because maybe somebody he went to high school with might be getting drunk up on the Monstah as he played? I’d argue that two doubles, a triple and a homerun on the same night is even MORE RARE than a true “cycle,” so why stop at first? Why is that something that needs to be praised? It was nothing more than logic and instinct at work. Granted, Logic and reason are good virtues, but they aren’t something I would call super powers.
The Rays understand the stat side of baseball probably as well as any team in the majors at this point, so you have to wonder why they are going to such lengths to crown a new king of the small sample size. It’s not like they don’t get that Fuld is less likely to maintain that .965 OPS as he was to stay as low as .638. He’ll settle in somewhere in between and probably be the very model of an average player. He’ll be Clark Kent. Not Superman. The Rays have to know this, so what’s the deal?
May 29 was supposed to be Manny Ramirez bobblehead night at Tropicana Field. Instead, the first 10,000 fans 14 and under will get a cape with the words “Super Sam” over a picture of Fuld diving to make a catch.
Ohhhh… I see. They needed a replacement promotion and what better than to hype a replacement player that is off to a “hot” start. But still, this has to trump every stupid promotion the Cubs have ever come up with.
But I remain certain that Wally Hayward and the kid from the grounds crew that Todd hired are putting their heads together to come up with something that will return them to the top of the over-hype mountain. My bet is it involves Darwin Barney or Reed Johnson.