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I’m nervous. I don’t wear a watch with any success, so I check my wrist every few heartbeats in the hopes that one materializes and solves my puzzle. Where is he? I remember that my phone can service this request. It’s 7:15 p.m. He’s late. It’s the second week in January. I’m standing outside a dimly lit boutique food establishment in Brooklyn. Normally I prefer to see the food that I eat, but eating in the dark is all the rage and we must adhere to what is the rage. It’s important to adhere to the rages of the moment. I brought a conveniently sized table candle from home just in case I struggle to adhere to the rage. My date for the evening has a very busy schedule, so I slow my judgment and make a concerted effort to feel confident and poised, regardless of the circumstances of his delay. A text or tweet would have been nice. I bet he’s on the subway and lacks the necessary technology to connect with me. Perhaps Mr. Brian Kenny stopped along the way for a quick hot topic debate with a local sports yokel? It will be worth the wait.

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. I can’t seem to satisfy my need to breathe, and I feel rejected and abused. I pretend to be smoking because it calms me down and makes me look cool to any curious onlookers that happen upon my particular spot. It’s cool to smoke cigarettes in deep freeze outdoor conditions but it’s not cool to explain to a medical professional the avoidable frostbite that occurred while waiting for a baseball analyst and power voice. It’s 7:30. I heard this place served a fantastic piece of fish, and my intuition tells me that Brian Kenny would be excited to learn that this place serves a fantastic piece of fish, and would become so excited—in fact—that he would probably mention the fish during his next television segment, detailing the mood and the memories to his fiercely loyal and oddly epicurean fan base. Yahoo! Answers said the fish was good when I asked if the fish was good.

It’s 7:45 and my table is going up for auction. The reality of the evening is a Chuck Close painting, and my distance from the work is helping with the acceptance of my fate. I elect to dine alone, even if I’m small inside and curious to the shortcomings that left me small inside, and my body temperature and appetite could use a friend. As not to arouse suspicion that I was ignored by the combustible and respected MLB Network personality, I ordered for two, starting with drinks and an appealing yet vague appetizer that was billed as a “delicious journey from the farm, to the dairy, to your palate,” which arrived looking very much like a standard dinner salad, consisting of various leafy greens, walnuts, goat cheese, and standard-fare fruits disguised as exotics, topped with a balsamic vinaigrette of little merit. Mr. Brian Kenny picked up on the fruit costume immediately, as most forward thinking gastronomes should—and requested a conference with the manager to have the fruit killed from the menu—while I pretended that peeled Granny Smith apples pierced with star anise was a world yet discovered. I asked how he found himself in the baseball business, a question he answered by staring into my soul for 60 uninterrupted seconds before returning to his salad protest, and when it was my turn to sing, I explained using broad strokes my path to Prospectus, which was met with a slice of silence served with an uncomfortable still.

By 8:45 I was already on drink number five, an idiosyncratic mood stabilizer for years now, and a journey I would be taking alone, as Mr. Brian Kenny was only taking sips to accompany his supper, which was just served and appeared to be as delicious as Yahoo! Answers had advertised. I asked if his fish was prepared to his satisfaction and as delicious as my metric suggested. Using his fingers, he carefully removed the initial bite from his lips and placed the discarded remains on his unused and unsheathed napkin to the left of his dinner service. He explained in a harsh, didactic voice that the fish was disgusting and inedible, despite the fact that he seemed to enjoy ordering and discussing the dish prior to consumption, and would later admit in a more causal environment that the fish did in fact have positive qualities and that he could—if he felt so inclined—discuss the fish in a more nuanced manner than he showed in his initial outburst. Once again, his eyes took a sword to my shortcomings, as he questioned my antiquated fish valuing system while quoting from the freshly minted Michelin Guide that now appeared on the table. I was sitting in the dark.

I asked him if he wanted to split the chilled cheesecake with the frisky raspberry topping, and he informed me that the menu didn’t specifically indicate that the raspberry topping was frisky even though the menu specifically said the raspberries were indeed frisky this evening and that he was going to stick to his deduction that the raspberry topping would not be frisky because he could not see the described friskiness and that he would make his decision accordingly. I explained the process behind the adjective, which not only stemmed from my firsthand experience with raspberries and how there is more to the cluster of drupelets than simply appears on the plate or the palate, and that in a certain conditions, the fruit can be quite frisky, an intangible distinction but an apt distinction nonetheless, not to mention the fact that the menu specifically said the raspberries being served tonight were in fact frisky.

Mr. Brian Kenny became so enraged that he smashed all the surrounding breakables, including a cute ceramic creamer in the shape of a stray puppy that the woman seated to his immediate left brought from home in order to feel less alone and vulnerable. In a chaotic scene, Mr. Brian Kenny once again turned his ocular intensity on my spirit, and with a faint whisper that was probably closer to a growl than a whisper—but he reminded me later that it was only a whisper—said, “No; you are wrong. You are so wrong. You can’t prove the raspberries are frisky. You can’t prove the raspberries are frisky. You can’t prove the raspberries are frisky.”

I spent the last hour of the evening studying the framework of Mr. Brian Kenny’s face, as if it was playing right in front of me on repeat. It was stubborn and sturdy, with a game show host finish and just enough of a suspicious uncle vibe to keep you honest yet ready to commit. I wouldn’t say he was a handsome man; at least not in the traditional sense of the word, which I always take to mean gorgeous in the most masculine of manners. But he wore his face well and it carried his strength, which was his austere and confident voice, the kind of voice that you turn to for truth regardless of the validity of that truth, a sound speaker that propped up his existence like a steel skeleton. The model was capped off with a dense head of hair, sculpted to replicate a warrior’s battle helmet, a protective shrub of fur that framed his gaze and preserved his aesthetic like an angel atop a holiday tree.

Before parting, my conveniently sized table candle illuminated his face enough to discover a slight frolicsome smile, a tease that brought me closer to him despite my early stumbles with the anachronistic fish valuing and the intangible raspberry adjectives that led to his judgment and scorn and subsequent destruction of property and threats of additional physical harm. Under the robust exterior was a kind man, a generous man, a man with delicate combinations of subtlety and sweetness that he kept hidden during most of [read: all of] our meal. My breathing had finally returned to normal and I felt a wave of tranquility lift my posture and aplomb, and in my moment of acceptance and serenity, I offered my table companion an outstretched hand of gratitude, appreciation, and respect.

The room was empty and I was the lone patron. The bartender asked if I would like to close my tab, as he wiped the counter clean and powered down the flat-panel television that was telling baseball-related stories behind the bar. My paper bill had the word count of a Pynchon novel, a stenograph of a day that turned into a night that turned into a day, and if my eyes worked I would have been disappointed in the conclusion. As I stumbled to my feet and established my extremital tether to the ground, I choked down the final swallow of my daily medicine and offered up my empty salutations to a staff that would see me again tomorrow. Tomorrow is Tuesday. I never miss Clubhouse Confidential.

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karp62
1/10
BEST. DISPLAY. OF. #WANT. EVER! Well played Mr. Parks..........well played.
mblthd
1/10
I don't get it. That doesn't mean it isn't funny, because I'm sure it is, but I don't get it. Can someone explain it to me like I'm a 3-year old?
Gotribe31
1/10
You can’t prove the raspberries are frisky.
philly604
1/10
Actually that line undermines the analogy and is a real weakness in the piece. Fictional Parks is accepting the raspberries are frisky not because of his own observational scouting, but because someone in a position of power told him so. Instead of stats vs scouts, it's stats vs sheep.
jparks77
1/10
No. I actually think raspberries are frisky. Quite the delicious and pesky little fruit.
philly604
1/10
Ah, but then why the need to include this line: "even though the menu specifically said the raspberries were indeed frisky this evening" Are we to trust your evaluation of fruit and players or instead should we defer to authority in the form of menus and, I dunno, Baseball America consensus based prospect lists?
jparks77
1/10
That particular section is based on Kenny's Twitter commentary on Hall of Fame day when he was claiming (or suggesting) that Piazza didn't specifically deny using steroids in his book even though Piazza specifically said (in the book) that he didn't use them. Or something like that. I used the scouts/stats debate to help frame it.
philly604
1/10
Truth be told, I'm just bitter that you said over the weekend on Twitter (I think) that we were going to get 3 team lists this week. Was expecting the 3rd today. Just a little busting of chops.
walrus0909
1/10
"Raspberry Adjectives" successfully added to list of band names. God, I missed this stuff.
PhilumciousPhil
1/10
Parks was waiting for Brian Kenny to arrive for a date. As the hour passes, it becomes more apparent that Brian Kenny isn't coming. A now delusional (perhaps always delusional) Parks sits down for dinner alone, but in his mind, he plays out the evening with Brian Kenny. When the surreal, unreal, not real date with Brian Kenny ends, Parks is snapped back to reality, which is that he has been eating and drinking alone for quite some time. The ending is somewhat vague, but I think it means that Brian Kenny was never really SUPPOSED to come, but rather this was a fantasy that Parks plays out on a nightly, or near nightly basis, his infatuation overpowering any sense of jilt. I love this s***.
PhilumciousPhil
1/10
I could have just said he gets hammered and fantasizes while watching Clubhouse Confidential on a bar tv, but I'm a pretentious ass.
mblthd
1/10
I'm with you on the plot, I just don't get the joke. I'm sure there is one, a good one, I just don't know what it is. I know who Brian Kenny is but I haven't watched his MLB Network show yet (not intentionally avoiding it, just haven't caught it yet) so I'm guessing maybe you need to be familiar with his personality and tendencies on that show to get the joke of this column? I've seen ads for his show in which he and Harold Reynolds argue - Brian likes BP and statistical analysis, Harold does not - is that part of the joke?
dwachtell
1/10
...so, we'll be getting the rest of the Top 10 prospect lists around May, then?
huztlers
1/11
If I could 'save' this comment, then I would. Don't know if this helps... I come here for objective information - this is pretty much representative of the opposite of that. I dislike the narratives which are interwoven with analysis in general.
PhilumciousPhil
1/11
Then don't click on them. You pay for access of the content. This was free. Your hard earned money isn't being wasted. And really, this is a valid baseball piece that makes a commentary on the nature baseball discussion. If you read the title and came in here looking for objective information or a scouting report, then all I can say is good luck getting a date with Brian Kenny.
tonynelson19
1/10
This has a very American Psycho-esque feel to it.
redguy12588
1/10
So what does Brian Kenny rate on the Verducci scale? A 6?
ian6poole
1/10
I have been missing these kinds of pieces for a while. Started the day off right.
IHudson
1/10
How similar would #frisky be to #want? Which ball player has the most #frisky?
fawcettb
1/10
I like Parks as a baseball analyst. But really, this isn't a creative writing site. Is it?
jparks77
1/10
You are witnesses at the new birth of Spinal Tap, Mark 2.
mblthd
1/10
Does this mean we don't get any Padres Top-10 Prospects?
jparks77
1/10
Working on that as we speak. I ended up getting some last minute scouting reports (fantastic ones), so I wanted to go back and incorporate all the new information with the existing work, which caused the order to change a bit. It will be worth the wait.
mblthd
1/10
Yay! Thanksmang
Asinwreck
1/10
He wrote this!
gyoung858
1/10
Practical question: Are you gonna do "Stonehenge"?
tonynelson19
1/10
I have a feeling a lot of the Professor's creative writing assignments in elementary school had the words "See me after class" written at the top.
huztlers
1/11
Your opinion is not welcome here
delatopia
1/11
Says you. See how idiocy like that works? Just neg the guy and be done with it.
hotstatrat
1/11
All thoughtful opinions are welcome as far as I'm concerned, so speak for yourself. I sense you were trying to be funny, perhaps, but that is hard to detect. Anyway, dinging is even worse. Why not engage in reasoned argument? I happen to like Parks' odd departures into story telling. They don't have to be funny or directly analytical to be entertaining to us baseball stat junkies - just interesting and hopefully thought provoking.
fletchgriz
1/10
Mr. Parks, what you've just written is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent writing were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on this site is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
jparks77
1/10
Rationality was not the goal. I appreciate the comment and thanks for reading.
tonynelson19
1/10
For those that might not get the reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hfYJsQAhl0
fletchgriz
1/10
Thanks for the link, tonynelson19. All in good fun :)
jparks77
1/10
Well played. Hat tip.
delatopia
1/11
Here's something I don't understand. I guess I don't find the movie that quote is derived from particularly funny, so I'm sure that colors my opinion of the comment, but all those likes for such a blatantly unoriginal (and, yes, unfunny) comment? Do people just automatically "like" something they recognize?
patsmack
1/11
In the context of the movie it's funny because you don't expect to hear a response like that in a movie that's utterly ridiculous in nature. In this context it's funny because we can all reflect on a movie we hold so dear to our hearts.
bobbygrace
1/10
Your first misstep was the candle. Mr. Brian Kenny's smile is naturally phosphorescent and would have supplied adequate lighting for your meal.
thelifeofbennyfg
1/10
I enjoyed this far more than the baseball content on this site.
SlappyMcBluelips
1/10
This is 80 grade moisture. Inspirational.
dcapofari
1/10
The sequel article should have a jealous Harold Reynolds waiting outside for you in a showdown of testosterone that quickly turns into an epic #Bathnight.
MarkJLutz
1/10
This is almost exactly how I imagined it would turn out when I read the title, although your images were better.
jwise224
1/10
Epic work, Mr. Parks. Epic. For those that reside in the twittersphere, this should make all the sense in the world. Nice to know the Professor can drop some #sparkle with the pen when he wants to.
nickgieschen
1/10
A poetry professor once told me that over half of the poems submitted by her first year students began with "I". If you don't get the moral of that story, you won't get the moral of that story.
BurrRutledge
1/10
I get it. Or do I?
Travis22
1/10
#wet
Timcarvin
1/10
I bet Jason has a great "Daddy Persona"
Lagniappe
1/10
Professor, it is good baseball fare for January. I don't know about frisky, but the raspberries were sweet AND tart.
mgorosh
1/10
I am constsantly reminded that the Professor has a lyrical command of prose..that being said, it's becoming more evident with each passing month..that a romantic evening with a patient instructive Kelly Preston or Susan Sarandon would benefit his creativity tremendously.
Asinwreck
1/10
Glad this was published even though there is indeed a lot of "Nay!" in it.
chrisamani
1/10
I wrote down three quotes from this. Nicely done. #rig
kcboomer
1/10
Not my cup of teas, but no harm done.
Schere
1/10
I love this piece. #HASHTAG In the second to last paragraph, "lead" should be "led."
nickgieschen
1/10
#overwrought
jparks77
1/10
Heard you the first time. Thanks.
nickgieschen
1/10
It was a different point.
nickgieschen
1/10
I give you wholehearted props for having the balls to put this up on the site though.
jparks77
1/10
I appreciate that. Thanks.
casejud
1/12
Overwrought huh? An interesting of adjective for a piece delving into Brian Kenny. I found it serpentine or labyrinthine, sedated, melancholic, yet striped of wrought. It reminded me of being at the end of a rope, any rope, even if the rope is just... the day. Also likened to the lonely feeling of debating something with someone for too long of a time, yet not reaching or seeing even a bit of their actual soul, or human warmth, or whatnot. The numbers involved being bantered being outwardly, presumably precise but, there being no actual truth contained within the debate. I liked the piece and, frankly, it hurts me to see subjected to this amount of cruelty. Keep ya head up.Spring is almost here! We love ya, Jason Parks
OsandNattyBohs
1/10
“No; you are wrong. You are so wrong. You can’t prove the raspberries are frisky. You can’t prove the raspberries are frisky. You can’t prove the raspberries are frisky.” I love the symbolic comment on Kenny's religious adherence to stats over observation. I actually just loved this article in general. You're a talented writer, Mr. Parks.
JasonPennini
1/10
I read three sentences of the piece and skipped to the comments.
kgoldstein
1/10
More creative writing from Jason please and always.
Kattanas
1/10
Jason, You continue to make me think and keep me entertained with everything you do through the long arm of Baseball Prospectus. Please keep up the good work and get started/complete a novel already.
Kattanas
1/10
I also appreciate that reading your work allows me to improve my vocabulary in all sorts of productive ways #drupelets
Shankly
1/11
Jason, have you ever read any of the books by David Peace? Damned United? Red or Dead? He used repetition to good effect as well.
jparks77
1/11
Absolutely. Good call. I've been a fan of repetition all my adult life; it shows up in my music, art, and writing. I'm drawn to it. I definitely enjoy Peace's work. Excellent.
apilgrim
1/12
Bolero.
jpbaker64
1/11
Thank you, Jason. More, please.
rkowna
1/11
Fuck brian kenny. You have eaten breakfast with the great Willie Mays. Not just breakfast, in fact, but pancakes.
rawagman
1/11
While my reading of this piece was colored by having never watched Brian Kenny (living in Canada, we do not get such easy access to American MSM), I was reminded of a Japanese samurai series of short stories that I am currently editing. Sudden and unannounced shifts of perception (Kenny is here! You bastards have killed Kenny!). In each case, the author somewhat explains the changes through his alcoholic haze - Mr. Parks through his unnamed "drink number five", my Japanese samurai through copious amounts of sake. I am left with one questions - is the narrator here anti or pro Kenny?
casejud
1/12
I though of many human relationships, where one is both pro and anti. One sees these traits, or features that one admires in a person but, not enough. One can both be reverent, appreciative, and terribly frustrated or disappointed in a person. "Conflicted" is such a more interesting state than either pro, or, anti. Oh yeah, your question,... I don't know, I'm not Jason Parks .
jessemumm
1/11
str8 up don't get it. one sec...okay i'm back. i googled kenny. so this is a kenny fanboy piece for JP #fanboys? suggested affected line for future piece: "more [thing x] than a caprice by #paganini." keep up the great work with the prospects, dude.
apilgrim
1/12
I thought this was pretty good after figuring out what it was about. Its nice to have a little variety once in a while.
mblthd
1/12
What is it about? I know who Brian Kenny is but I haven't seen his show on MLB Network. I've seen ads for it, in which he argues with Harold Reynolds (Brian likes BP, statistical analysis, etc., Harold does not), but that's about the extent of my knowledge of Brian Kenny. Oh, I also remember a few years ago he got into it with Floyd Mayweather Jr in an on-air interview, but I don't remember what the touchy subject was - maybe suggesting that Floyd was ducking a Pacquiao fight? Anyways, I'm not being fatuous or obstinate (or whatever the right word is) here - I honestly do not get the joke of this piece and I would be grateful if someone would explain it to me as if I were a 3-year old. My guess is that, since Brian Kenny supports/advocates the work of BP and statistical analysis generally, that means the author likes him? If that's the case then I'd still need some help with what the joke is. Or maybe Brian Kenny has a certain manner of speaking when hosting his show, and that manner of speaking is mimicked in the prose of the article?
BurrRutledge
1/12
Have you ever operated in a mental stupor? Initiated by sleep deprivation, alcohol, drugs, or some combination of such? I have. And my state of perception was so off-kilter that I couldn't tell exactly what had happened, but I had vivid recollection of events that almost certainly didn't happen at all. It's a metaphysical state, and reminds me of some of the writings of Carlos Arana Castaneda (and I'm sure there are others, but I'm not all that well-read so I'm sticking with Castaneda). It's my opinion that Mr. Parks has just transcribed his own such experience. He's done plenty of others. I'd love to see them collected and re-published as a compilation. I also want to know what exactly he was fake smoking in the second paragraph... and was he really pretending to smoke it.
mblthd
1/12
I'm with you - I haven't read Castenada but I've read some Hunter S. Thompson so I've got some familiarity with mental stupor literature - it just seems to me that THIS particular piece is centered on a joke that relates to Brian Kenny. Maybe I'm wrong about that, i.e., maybe the meeting could just as well have been with Bob Balaban, i.e., the fact that it was with Brian Kenny is beside the point, I don't know. If the humor of the piece somehow derives from some aspect of Brian Kenny's persona or whatever, then I'd love to get some explanation of that. If not, then okay, fine, the humor of the piece is just the fact that it's a mental stupor experience and leave it at that.
BurrRutledge
1/12
Well, I'm with you, too, then. I don't know Kenny at all, so I can't fill in those gaps for you or for me. Complete side note that I find interesting - a quote from Castenada's wiki page, from an interview he gave in Time in 1973: "To ask me to verify my life by giving you my statistics...is like using science to validate sorcery. It robs the world of its magic and makes milestones out of us all."
MichaelTheBonz
1/12
Good stuff, Jason. I can't wait until all of your lists are out and you can explore your creative side more often. It never disappoints.
jparks77
1/12
Thanks. I appreciate that. Honestly, as much as I love writing about prospects, I need to step away from it from time-to-time to find some sanity. Since the season ended, I've been completely engulfed in the prospect rankings, which means talking to scouts and front office personnel on a daily basis and compiling all of my (our) notes from throughout the season. I take the work very seriously, and I end up spending 20+ hours on each team that I breakdown, so its very intense. That's why taking a day off to write an article like this--one that is free from analysis and structure--really helps me reset and clear my mind.
casejud
1/12
That and a few drinks, or maybe at least five, doesn't hurt either.
davidpom50
1/14
While I quite enjoyed this piece, it makes me chuckle to think that writing a story about a delusion constituted "finding some sanity." Seriously though, this was fun.