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July 22, 2012

BP Unfiltered

The Waste Land of the National League

by Colin Wyers

[The other evening on Twitter, FanGraphs and Baseball Nation author Wendy Thurm called NL first basemen "a wasteland this year." This is the result. --CW]

The Waste Land (Of The National League)

Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculus meis vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent: Ποια είναι η γνώμη της Κίνγκμαν Ριφ της απόδοσης; respondebat illa: Τι το Ζέφυρος πιστεύετε ότι είναι η δική μου γνώμη;"[i]


For Ben Lindbergh, il miglior fabbro.


First is the cruelest base, hitting

Coming out of the dugout, swinging

Strikeouts and groundouts, making

Over and over again.

LaHair surprised us, coming out of the Pacific Coast League

With a spray of base hits, all over the outfield

Platooning with Jeff Baker, until he was an All-Star.

What are the hits that are clutch, what runs batted in

Out of this pile of rubbish? Sabermetrician,

You cannot say, or guess, for you know only

A heap of broken bats, made of maple,

And the dead pull gives no shelter, the reliever no relief

And the bat no sound of homer.

When Allen Craig got promoted, I said

I didn’t mince words, I said to him myself


Now Albert’s not coming back, shorten up your swing

Mozeliak’ll want to know what you did with the bonus he gave you

To score the team some runs. And think of rich Albert,

He’s been in the AL four months, team wants some home runs.

 And if you won’t give it to them, there’s Lance Berkman who will, I said.


If you don’t like it you can get on with it, I said.

Others can pick and throw if you can’t.

But Albert has made off, for lack of money.

I can’t help it, he said, pulling a long face

It’s those pills McGwire gave me, to help me hit, he said.

Coach said it would be alright, but I’ve never been the same.



Brandon Belt, a fortnight dead,

Forgot the cry of Bochy, and the fanbase’s groundswell,

And the balls and strikes.

                        A manager seethed

Put Sanchez in the lineup.

O you who rank the players and add the WARs,

Consider Brandon, who once was handsome and tall as you.

Then spoke the thunder


Votto: what have we given?

The MVP award, probably, by season’s end.

By this, and this only, have we existed

Above the American League

In our positional ranking.


Howard: I have heard the heel

Turn in the ground once and turn once only

Resulting in a trip to the DL.

Thinking of the injury, it confirms a perception

That the contract’s an albatross.


Goldschmidt: Thirty-one walks to seventy-four Ks.

While he slugs, I fear he does not control the strike zone.

Pitchers can make him go outside.

                        I sat upon the bench

Thinking, with my binder in front of me

Shall I at least set my lineup in order?

The last temptation is the greatest treason:

To sacrifice bunt from an offensive position.

These players I have will be my ruin

Why then the GM will fire me.

            Losing losing losing.


[i] For with my own eyes I saw the Sibyl hanging in a jar at Cumae, and when the boys said to her, 'What's your opinion of Kingman's performance?' she replied, ‘What the #### do you think is my opinion of it?”


Colin Wyers is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Colin's other articles. You can contact Colin by clicking here

Related Content:  First Base,  The Waste Land

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