Editor’s note: Dodgers starter Zack Greinke, whom many consider a deeply analytical player, told the Los Angeles Times last week that unintelligent players enjoy a distinct advantage over their more intelligent counterparts.
“Baseball is a sport where being stupid and keeping things really simple a lot of times is the right way to do things,” he said. “There are very few guys that are capable of processing a lot of information and applying it and still being good at it. I don’t want to name names, but there were guys I played with that were so stupid that they’re really good, because their mind never gets in the way.”
What follows is one player’s response, delivered to the NotGraphs penthouse office (Waikiki Division) via carrier pigeon after earlier, emailed attempts failed, due to the fact that the player “could not find a public email booth.”
So I read Greinke’s thing about playing with stupid players or whatever. Well, OK, I didn’t read it myself. I had somebody read it to me. It’s not like I can read and watch TV at the same time. That’s like walking and buying gum at the same time. Which is impossible because, if you buy gum, you have to stop at the register so that the register person can count out the money and then hand you back the five quarters and the 20 dollar bill.
Anyway, what Greinke said was that stupid players are better players than smart players because stupid players don’t let their head brains get in the way. That’s just stupid. I played with Greinke. And let me tell you, that guy is not as smart as I think he thinks you think he is. One time he had a 3-2 count on this guy and instead of throwing a strike, which is what he should have thrown, he threw a ball. That’s just stupid. Everybody knows that in a 3-2 or “full” count, a pitcher should always throw a strike. It’s basic math.
Otherwise, the batter walks. And when he walks, he walks straight to the first base bag without having to buy gum at the same time. Which for him is a lot better than striking out. I mean, seriously, it’s not head brain surgery.
But for the pitcher …. ooooh, look! A butterfly!
So yeah, so if Greinke’s so smart, why did he walk a batter on the exact same pitch he could have struck the guy out on? Huh? Answer me that.
It’s not a rocket séance.
The other thing I don’t get – I mean when I think about it – is this: If you’re Greinke, walking that guy is pretty stupid, right? – especially since you could have just struck him out with the very same pitch. Again, basic math.
So if Greinke is so stupid as to walk a guy on a full count, especially when he could have just as easily struck him out, why didn’t he strike him out?
I mean, clearly his “mind” didn’t get in the way. So why didn’t he just do the stupid thing, by which I guess I mean the smart thing, and strike him out?
But then again, if he was so smart … ooh, look! The same butterfly!
Editor’s note: This post was edited for length, clarity and very long pauses.
John Paschal is a regular contributor to The Hardball Times and The Hardball Times Baseball Annual.