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August 29, 2014

Prospectus Feature

Roast A Parks

by BP Staff


Sam Miller: So with Jason Parks gone, we thought it was appropriate that the staff assess his tenure here and make sure that his future employers know what they're getting: A guy who will write the occasional scouting report in the voice of Bud Cort's character in Electric Dreams; a guy who will push to sign every cast member from the Venezuelan remake of The Outsiders based solely on the way they wrap cigarette boxes in their t-shirt sleeves; and so on.

So, everybody: Now's the time to pile on. Consider this something like a roast. Profanity follows.

Joe Hamrahi: Everything is fair game here folks!

Ben Lindbergh: #[redacted]

Joe: Well that may not be fair game actually!

Sam: The hell is #[redacted]?

Ben Carsley: #Core4

Joe: Haha…that's an offline discussion

Dan Brooks: SORRY BEN. From chat on 1/10/2014:

Dan

"My emotions are confused and uncertain, and I’m starting to cling to the outside air like I’m Frank Booth about to butterfly into his “Daddy” persona."

do you understand that sentence

Ben Lindbergh

no

Dan

does anyone

what is this shit

lol

Ben Lindbergh

I don't know

every now and then jason does something very strange

but I've learned that if we publish it anyway, it will draw very well and almost all the comments will be positive

Ben Lindbergh: I hope the Cubs follow the same policy with Jason's scouting reports.

Sam: First thing, literally the first thing, that Ben had me read as an editor at the site was Dinner With Darvish. I thought it was some sort of a test. All I could come up with in response was:

Sooooo. I mean, there's obviously one and only one thing to mention about the piece, which is that Arizona doesn't have daylight savings time so there would be no sun shining on Darvish at precisely 7 p.m. in March.

Otherwise ... I have no idea

Chris Rodriguez: I admit I was nervous as hell meeting Parks for the first time; I read almost everything he ever wrote for BP before coming onto the prospect team. I mentally prepared myself for a guy who was half John McClaine, half William S. Burroughs, and as completely in love with baseball as I was. I wasn't necessarily wrong with my pre-assessment, but I found that Jason was one of the nicest guys I've ever met. He offered to pay for every meal and gas money and even gave me a bed to crash on for spring training. He's also probably the smartest person I've ever talked to, with crazy knowledge of history, Mexico City art, and of course, Soccer #Gerndt. He's a Renaissance man if I've ever met one, and I'll never forget conversations at the BP House during spring training about who would come out on top: Usain Bolt would totally light up Primetime for 140 and two TD's. Stories of the #Moon, #Prellersboy, #[redaced] will stay between us.

Jason Wojciechowski: Not to turn this into a roast of Chris, but Chris, have you ever seen a roast.

Ben Carsley: Here is a picture of Parks' butt and Theo's sidebutt that I took in Arizona. Parks was the only person in Arizona with his collar ironically popped.

Jeff Quinton: He often told people he was a Texan. He did so with the fervor of a man needing to prove a fact to himself.

He diluted distilled alcohol with carbonated beverages in order to consume them.

Russell Carleton: Things I learned from Jason Parks:

1) You can write an entire article using #nothing #but #somewhat #homoerotic #hashtags

2) #rig

3) #want

4) A whole bunch about prospects and development

5) Let's just say that my wife enjoys the fact that I can do #5 now.

Chris King: When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol' Jack Burton always says at a time like that: "Have ya paid your dues, Jack?" "Yessir, the check is in the mail."

Chris Mellen: Since I started working at BP, a lot of people ask me what Jason Parks is really like. See, Jason Parks has kind of become something of a cult figure. His Twitter followers tweet him pictures of 70s and 80s male sex symbols, while a typical chat features at least a couple of questions about what he is drinking and whether he still makes the mistake of wearing mesh shorts when watching Javier Baez in public. So, after answering the usual standards like whether Jason Parks actually does carry a picture of Tom Verducci in his wallet (he doesn't), does he really like Road House more than Point Break (unfortunately yes), and what ever happened to the restraining order with Jorge Alfaro (it expired last spring), the question finally turns to "What is Jason Parks really like?"

1. Jason Parks isn't afraid to go out on a limb. Whether it was when, very early in this year's Top 101 process, he announced to the Prospect Team that "I'm going with a sleeper named Byron Buxton as the no. 1 overall prospect" or when he wrote in Joey Gallo's Top 10 report "huge swing-and-miss in his game,” Jason Parks is always ahead of the curve and a trailblazer.

2. Jason Parks is all about the “process." A typical Top 10 discussion starts with 12-15 prospects in the system that he absolutely "loves." After a great deal of back and forth between the team, we cut it down to 10 definite prospects for publishing. Without fail, sometime about a day or so before publishing we get an email stating that a contact just blew up a 16-year-old Dominican prospect and we have to include him in the list. Sometimes, the organization doesn't even have one, but he suggests anyway.

3. Jason Parks is really a fan of your favorite prospect.

Dan Rozenson: He’s an annoying, crusty old man. Won't miss him, especially.

Oh, shit—this isn't the Selig thread?

Matt Sussman: I don't think I've ever met or communicated with Jason Parks. He seems nice. But while some didn't like his early work, I think his craft continued to get stronger with each effort, and I especially loved him in American Wedding.

Craig Goldstein: Jason Parks taught me about #wet, #want, and #sparkle. He taught me about Adalberto Mondesi's magic, what it was to correspond with a figment of one's own imagination, and how to verbally abuse Jason Cole during FIFA. He brought over-sexualization of prospects to the fore (of which he's proud, no doubt) and now he's leaving us to deal with the unsavory aftereffects. He taught me about Black Eagles, front-fingers, and other things one can't just unlearn.

He also taught me about being wrong. His "What Did I Miss" series was a personal favorite, and in that vein I offer up one final opportunity for self-reflection:

thebeej21 (Houston): Barring injuries, who has the better career, Trout or Hosmer?

Jason Parks: Great question. Hosmer, but it's going to be close. Trout is going to bring big defense, big speed, and lots of hits. Hosmer is going to hit for average and power. Both should be perennial MVP candidates.

Sam: I particularly liked this article:

"Let’s keep some perspective here: Altuve isn’t going to be a first-division starter."

"Johnny Giavotella can hit a baseball, and it’s only a matter of time before he proves it in the bigs."

"Kyle Seager doesn’t project to clear many fences at the major-league level. He could develop into second-division starter.”

Zachary Levine: Casey "The Old Perfessor" Stengel earned his moniker by virtue of a 25-year managerial career that featured 7 World Series titles, 10 American League pennants and 1,905 regular season victories. Jason "Professor Parks" Parks had two podcasts that he recorded when it fit nicely into his schedule.

He will be missed.

Jordan Gorosh:

Jason Parks,RP
ETA: Late 2014
Build: Slight frame implies bullpen is likely. Will bond well with Dominicans; tight jeans, plaid shirt, glasses. Potential for plus, plus hair if he lets it grow out.
Makeup: Questionable. Often shows up drunk, but doesn't hinder ability to perform #[redacted] #texan.
Fastball: Big time #rig with plus #tilt.
Breaking ball: X-rated, but goes to it too often; 6 to midnight break; big-time hammer offering.
Summary: Doesn't take to coaching. Max-effort delivery will limit him to bullpen. Has been cited multiple times for not wearing pants. Blows kisses to lithe dominican shortstops.

Jeff Moore: At the intersection of Clark and Addison now resides the intersection of sex and baseball.

Russell: WAIT A MINUTE...

Jason will be working with Tom Tango.

Brain just melted.

Sam: His departure is obviously bad news for us, and maybe it'll turn out to be bad news for the Cubs, but it's great news for Kevin Goldstein. Over the past two years, any time Parks has quoted a scout, an exec, an insider, an observer, every person who read it translated that mentally to "Goldstein." Poor KG has been "credited" with more stuff he didn't say than Mark Twain.

Ken Funck: "Poor KG has been 'credited' with more stuff he didn't say than Mark Twain.” —Oscar Wilde

Jason once told me that Lance Henriksen portrayed Deke Slayton in The Right Stuff. Of course, as any child knows, Henriksen played Wally Schirra. Jason might have been distracted when he said this, as he was concurrently emptying a jug of sangria and buttonholing anyone that betrayed even a shred of interest in viewing his NSFW Martin Kove photo, but there’s absolutely no excuse for misremembering which C-list actor played which Mercury astronaut. I still shudder at the memory, and as a Cubs fan, I’m shocked and saddened that my team doesn’t hold new hires to a more rigorous intellectual standard.

Tucker Blair: Here's the worst thing about Jason. My non-baseball friends are constantly wondering who the lunatic professor is that I am always retweeting on Twitter. His sexual love for prospects begins to have a sadistic effect on the human mind, and really does help to break our hearts. Thanks to the Mr. Texan, I will never be able to look at a baseball swing or delivery the same. My first time meeting him resulted in an immediate discussion on the sexual appeal of Noah Syndergaard and Lucas Giolito's arsenal. After that, I knew that it could only get worse. I'm going to miss the guy, but there are a multitude of reasons why Parks is banned from discussion at the family dinner table:

Sahadev Sharma: I first heard of Jason Parks when listening to Up and In Podcast. Instantly, a strong distaste for every word he uttered grew from deep within me. When Kevin Goldstein left Baseball Prospectus for a job with the Houston Astros, I was unsurprised that Parks would team with my arch-nemesis, Mark Ferrin, to start a new, terrible podcast. Why would I religiously listen to a podcast that enraged me so, you ask? To gather information and gain intimate knowledge of my adversaries. I slowly plotted and schemed, dreaming of the day when I would one day take down this notorious 'Professor' Parks. Weeks, months and eventually years passed before I finally found my opportunity. When Sam Miller and Joe Hamrahi contacted me about a position with BP, I had but one demand, send Jason Parks on his way and I will join your merry band of lunatics. They obviously agreed to rid themselves of such a nuisance, but little did I know that Parks had the ultimate revenge in mind. He would join the team I grew up rooting for and take them down from the inside. Touché, Professor, touché. I look forward to the day that I can sic #CubsTwitter on you, as they incessantly complain when every hyped prospect doesn't immediately perform at an MVP level when called to the big leagues. That is when I will gleefully shout from the hilltops, "Check and mate.”

Bret Sayre: Like most everyone else, I too was introduced to Parks via the fantastic Up and In podcast (RIP) and I imagined him to be more of a regular Brooklyn guy playing up a public persona. That's what we're used to seeing these days—most people are exaggerated versions of themselves on the internet. When I finally met him a few years back, I could not believe how wrong I was. He's essentially Wooderson with his Texas pride and homoeroticism cranked up to 11. In fact, when I wonder what Jason is up to once he gets rolling in this new job, I'll take comfort in knowing that he's likely standing outside a pool hall, supermarket or AA meeting muttering "That's what I love about these 16-year-old Dominicans, man. I get older, they stay the same age." Probably just to himself.

If I could steal one thing about Parks for myself, it's not his scouting chops or his storytelling ability—though those are the two things of his which will be missed most publicly and privately. It's not his ability to find the perfect pictures of the most masculine stars of the 70s and 80s. It's certainly not his knee ligaments. The thing I'd steal is the 80-grade way that he delivers the word “fuck." Parks says the word like it was created specifically for him, and sometimes I think it actually was.

Mike Ferrin: So, Jason and I were in Wilmington for a game. And Chelsor Cuthbert comes up to the plate, filled with swagger & confidence. He cut a significant presence in the batter’s box.

Jason turns to me, and goes, "See that...that guy is gonna be a big leaguer. Look at him. That guy's got #rig.”

First time I'd heard him use that. Within moments, he started complaining about the opposing starter. The guy was nibbling, tentative. I asked him what he thought it was?

He just looked at me and said "Small #Rig.”

We really should have called him Doctor Parks based on his anatomical diagnoses.

Dave Pease: I’ve always enjoyed Jason's unique voice and we will greatly miss him, but now I don't have to worry about being thrown in jail or extradited for being his publisher when he writes or does something outrageous.

Baseball Prospectus and our readers are realizing a great loss here. But I think personally I'm coming out about even.

Sahadev: I did want to share some genuine thoughts about him. The thing that struck me when I first heard Jason talk about baseball, talent evaluation, music, literature and, well, anything really, was his confidence. It genuinely impressed me how he carried himself.

As I grew more familiar with his work, I quickly realized that that confidence was well earned, that this was a man with an eye for talent. When KG left, Parks had big shoes to fill and, observing from the outside, I was impressed at how he didn't try and keep the status quo. Jason decided to surround himself with others whom he respected, not yes men, but people who were willing to challenge him and had a similar confidence. It was then that I realized not only does Jason have an eye for talent on the field, but he could identify others who could scout as well. These skills are why I'm sure Jason will thrive in his new endeavor. It's also why I'm sure BP will continue to thrive as well.

Jason, like any good leader, helped build a strong organization around him, one that would not only survive after his departure, but excel. While selfishly, I'm sad that Jason will no longer officially be with us, I'm happy for him and excited to see how he attacks his new challenge. But I'm also excited to see what the rest of us have in store at BP. I'm confident it will continue to be something special.

Jeff Euston: Jason’s 2011 review of the taqueria El Califa has to be one of the most fun things I've read at BP or anywhere else. The joy that infused his analysis of jugo de carne also comes across as he evaluates players, and it's contagious.

Craig: "The quesadilla is really just an open-faced cheese taco minus the second-layer of protein in between the corn tortilla and the beautiful temptress that is the semi-melted Oaxacan cheese."

Yes but is it a sandwich.

38 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

stephenbawesome

I look forward to reading Parks' pieces on BP next year after Addison Russell has him fired from the Cubs for sexual harrassment. Assuming you'll hire him back.

Aug 29, 2014 04:49 AM
rating: 17
 
Dave from Pittsburgh

I didn't realize how much I needed this.

Aug 29, 2014 04:53 AM
rating: 13
 
Shawnykid23

Absolutely loved this- fantastic idea.

Aug 29, 2014 05:21 AM
rating: 9
 
eskimoQball

I could really go for a different 'Adios Parks' article every day for about a week to appropriately transition into whatever the rest of my life looks like with his departure.

Aug 29, 2014 05:35 AM
rating: 11
 
Bryan Cole

I'd settle for a collection of his strange articles. "Willie Mays' House of Pancakes" is probably my favorite.

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=17625

Aug 29, 2014 05:50 AM
rating: 2
 
karp62

This article is like finding a bottle of your hot ex's perfume a few weeks after she moves out. You guys just sprayed it on the pillow next to me. But, tomorrow morning, it's time to move on and find the girl that smells better than she did. Thanks for the memories.

Aug 29, 2014 06:00 AM
rating: 5
 
BP staff member Mike Ferrin
Guest Commenter

i nominate Tucker. He's single

Aug 29, 2014 06:50 AM
 
BP staff member Tucker Blair
BP staff

Be careful what you wish for.

Aug 29, 2014 08:57 AM
 
stephenbawesome

Parks' method to assigning numerical grades to skills is that he just counts the number of #adjectivehashtags it inspires and rounds up/down to the nearest number divible by ten.

Aug 29, 2014 06:00 AM
rating: 1
 
stephenbawesome

Crystal Skulls is Jason Parks' favorite Harrison Ford movie.

Aug 29, 2014 06:03 AM
rating: 0
 
Kyle Matte

"The thing I'd steal is the 80-grade way that he delivers the word “fuck." Parks says the word like it was created specifically for him, and sometimes I think it actually was."

This is so god damn true. I've been trying to copy him for years but my east coast Canadian accent just doesn't let it happen. :(

Aug 29, 2014 06:12 AM
rating: 2
 
NightmareRec0n

There are a few things coming from a triple .9er

1) I really hope you at least tried to get KG involved in this.

2) I surprised Jason lasted this long. Once I saw KG was director of pro scouting, I expected Jason to be back in Texas with the Astros the next day.

3) As a fellow Japanese denim wearing baseball loving nihilist hispter I can identify with him, despite not being from Texas. I've never met Jason, but it is wonderful to see his life get better and him grow. Thank you for sharing your life and love of the game. I've seen you battle depression and divorce while just starting out in the industry. It gives me a certain sense of hope that you are now living a dream working for a baseball team with a happy marriage and a new start that will include many 16 year old Dominican shortstops.

Aug 29, 2014 06:53 AM
rating: 4
 
NightmareRec0n

Also, We need to know what Jason knows about Micheal Keaton.

Aug 29, 2014 06:54 AM
rating: 7
 
johnwood427

Fantastic! Great idea. I'll miss how The Notorious Mr. Parks said "JEE-SUSSSS"- you could just feel it. His departure from BP fills me with mind blowing levels of euphoria, as I am a stupid fan of The Mighty Cubs.
#REAL GENIUS

Aug 29, 2014 07:30 AM
rating: 0
 
dianagram

I read "Roast A Parks" while seated in the front of a bus.

Aug 29, 2014 07:40 AM
rating: 22
 
Kyle Matte

A few years down the road, in the kitchen of a quaint palatial estate in Arizona...

-----

Wife: "Babe, I really think we should start think about starting a family. Maybe adoption?"

Jason: "You know what, I couldn't agree more. I know this sixteen year old Dominican named Adalberto..."

RIP Professor Texas

Aug 29, 2014 08:47 AM
rating: 10
 
Kyle Matte

Since we have some very talented people in this corner of the interweb, I wonder how difficult it would be for a .9er to take some of Jason's most memorable quotes (along with "Fuuuuck" and "Jeesussss") and create a Jason Parks soundboard.

Aug 29, 2014 10:22 AM
rating: 2
 
therealn0d

Trivial. What "most memorable quotes" would you like?

Aug 29, 2014 12:14 PM
rating: -1
 
Gmurphsiu02

#rig, #slack, #want, #wet, Texan, and any prospect name that he says with a swoon. Also, we need about 27 iterations of Fuuuuck.

Sep 01, 2014 19:12 PM
rating: 0
 
Brian Kopec

I only regret that I will not be in the room the first time Theo Epstein asks Jason for some fantasy baseball trade advice.

Aug 29, 2014 10:28 AM
rating: 10
 
danrnelson

This.

Aug 29, 2014 12:25 PM
rating: 0
 
Shauncore

He's gotta quote Theo's wiki page no?

Aug 29, 2014 13:32 PM
rating: 3
 
Mike V.
(596)

"This is a job you have to give your whole heart and soul to," he said. "In the end, after a long period of reflection about myself and the program, I decided I could no longer put my whole heart and soul into it." Because it was Halloween the night he resigned from the Red Sox, Epstein left Fenway Park wearing a gorilla suit in an attempt to avoid reporters. A witness reported spotting a person wearing a gorilla suit driving a Volvo similar to Epstein's that night.

Aug 29, 2014 13:42 PM
rating: 2
 
NightmareRec0n

Considering Jason's personality,social anxiety, and his love of adopting personas(Mimosa Joeseph anyone), I could see him doing very unusual things when slipping in and out of Wrigley.

Aug 30, 2014 14:18 PM
rating: 0
 
Gmurphsiu02

This seems like the right place for this story:

I first met Jason at the BP event in Kansas City in 2013. He was incredibly personalbe and literally spent the entire game talking prospects on the concourse with event attendees. Jason loves talking prospects and was happy to talk to anyone.

Then came the after-party. He invited us out with the BP crew and it didn't disappoint. At some point my buddy I was there with decides that a random guy at the bar looks like David Schwimmer and he's not leaving without a picture with the guy. As he chases the guy out to the patio Jason joins me in watching through the window "to make sure we didn't need to fight anyone", which tells you about all you need to know about Jason.

Aug 29, 2014 11:11 AM
rating: 18
 
danrnelson

The dude did look just like David Schwimmer.

Aug 29, 2014 12:26 PM
rating: 3
 
BP staff member Jason Parks
BP staff

This is awesome. I'm going to miss it.

Aug 29, 2014 12:25 PM
 
BP staff member Jay Jaffe
BP staff

Just wanted to contribute my own entry here...

Despite both residing in Brooklyn and being known to knock back the occasional cold one, Jason and I have always had a hard time convening for a beer. Considering the hangovers I've dealt with the next day on those rare occasions — e.g., one blogger described me as "war-torn" at the 2013 Nationals ballpark event — that's probably for the best, though the reason I've stayed for those extra rounds is because I was laughing so hard that my face hurt.

I remember being very excited we were both going to the 2011 Winter Meetings in Dallas, though Jason proved particularly elusive - as the world later learned, he was scouting the hair of a famous national writer. We finally found time to hang out during the last night of the meetings, the two of us, an assistant GM from a team - who was buying rounds of Bud and Bud Light — and couple other scouting hopefuls. As the stat geek focused on major league talent instead of 18-year-old hopefuls, I was out of my element in the conversation, but amid a whole bunch of crazy stories and gossip, I gained a new appreciation for the kind of drive and devotion it took for Jason and those other scouts to follow their particular path and gained a new appreciation for their passion for the game: the #want.

Jason has spent as much time trying to perfect his craft, both the scouting and the writing, as those kids in the batting cages on whom he's throwing 5's, 6's and 7's, and I have no doubt that he's going to fucking crush it with the Cubs.

Aug 29, 2014 12:54 PM
 
Asinwreck

I would subscribe to a site devoted to Sam Miller's editorial comments on Jason Parks's work. That is all.

Aug 29, 2014 13:07 PM
rating: 10
 
Shauncore

Met Jason at a BP after party is KC for the briefest of moments. He and Moore were sitting there together, knocking one, but likely two, back. Was just walking out of the door due to a prior commitment and had just enough time to say hello and get a photo. Not only was Jason kind enough to pose for many photos as the cameraman fumbled taking photos, he was encouragingly enthusiastic about wanting us to stay, drink, and talk as if this were a reunion of sorts rather than a first meeting.

80 grade dude.

Aug 29, 2014 13:36 PM
rating: 0
 
JPinPhilly

I always liked the way he said "horseshit". It wasn't until I read Dollar Sign on the Muscle that I realized the significance of that talent. Jason, you say "horseshit" the way it's meant to be said. Happy trails.

Aug 29, 2014 14:02 PM
rating: 0
 
patsmack

I ascribe Jason to having his own gravity; whether it's his writing, podcasting, or face-to-face interaction (never had the pleasure), he draws you in- a celestial being of great lure and gravitas put on this earth create that passion in others. We can only be so lucky to have those rare types of people in our lives that do the same.

Aug 29, 2014 16:04 PM
rating: 1
 
Karl Hungus

Regardless of who is in charge now there is a Conservative Christian sort of yes sir, no sir scene the Cubs exude that makes this move potentially great for the Cubs. They really need someone who can use Jason's microfocused energy to promote subversively for lack of a better term. I can't wait to see Jason at Fifth third Bank Park. If you have any influence at all see if you can keep Kane County safe from Myron Noodleman next season it would be appreciated.

Aug 30, 2014 08:42 AM
rating: 0
 
drmorris75

I'm guessing that this career move makes it less likely that we will see a Jason Parks novel, at least for the foreseeable future. This is a tough realization, and so my parting thought for Mr. Parks is that if you wake up in the dead of night in some Holiday Inn gripped with the sort of epileptic creative-seizure that produced numerous Philip K. Dick manuscripts in single-weekend(!) bursts, please consider calling in sick to McLeod and punch that bad boy out.

Aug 30, 2014 10:52 AM
rating: 3
 
dmairs

You guys at BP are awesome. Really sad to see Jason go. It was my weekly highlight reading his work. Just absolutely, genuinely hard ass funny. Best of luck Jason. Go Cubbies!

Aug 31, 2014 08:08 AM
rating: 0
 
shakyhands

Now that both of them are gone, can BP publish that "KG and the Professor" fanfiction that was mentioned way back when?

Sep 02, 2014 11:42 AM
rating: 0
 
Cory Schwartz

Sorry I didn't respond to the invite to participate in this thread when it was e-mailed around, but no matter... none of my favorite Jason Parks experiences are fit for public consumption anyway. This is a PG-13 site and we're straight NC-17 all the way. All fun, all the time... #rig #want #bernie #durable

Sep 02, 2014 12:01 PM
rating: 2
 
huztlers

#weird

Sep 02, 2014 20:46 PM
rating: 0
 
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