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Archive for July, 2010

Alex Kowalsky

Alex Kowalsky, in many ways, is the epitome of what it means to be mediocre.  Over his the span of his life, Alex has displayed an unbelievable and unparalleled pattern of excellence in mediocrity.  He has seen his fair share of peaks and valleys, but he never has strayed too far from that line right in the middle.

Born to poor, Polish immigrants in Bisbee, Arizona in 1984, Alex was a man of humble beginnings.  He struggled with the language barrier in rural Arizona and spent most of his formative years watching cartoons and eating a steady diet of fish sticks.  As he grew (both in size and mediocrity), Alex became a BIG fish in the small bowl that was Bisbee.

When Alex was eight, his family packed up their Aerostar van and moved cross-country to Connecticut.  It was in Connecticut that Alex began to mature as a young boy and as a writer.  It was in 1993 that Alex wrote his first short story.  It was a story entitled, “Bruno Goes to Market” and it was a sad little story about a boy named Bruno who got lost in the supermarket.  Now, you may guess that while at the market a bunch of interesting stuff would happen.  But, no.  It was literally a story about this boy Bruno going to the market, buying some groceries, paying, and then going home.  That’s it.  It remains, to this day, one of the most boring stories ever written.

Alex was late bloomer physically.  By the time he was 15 years old, Kowalsky stop at only 4’5” but was a pudgy 187 pounds.  This obviously made him the target of his classmates insults.  It was at this time that Alex began to further withdraw from reality.  He spent most of his free time alone in his family’s basement.  There he spent hours talking with his imaginary friends, reading, writing, and playing Mario Kart.

Alex would often challenge his siblings and parents to Mario Kart races.  Later in his life, he would challenge students that he worked with to matches.  Over his 12 year career of Mario Kart, Kowalsky has a career record of 877-878.  Nearly perfectly mediocre.  He usually beats who he should beat and seldom pulls of an upset.  He is to Mario Kart as Miguel Batista is to Major League Baseball.

In 2004, Alex finally hit a growth spurt and shot up to six-feet in height.  That 190-some pounds was able to spread out and Alex hit the gym.  Hard.  He replaced his video games and television with a Chuck Norris Total Gym and turned his disgusting body into that of a middle linebacker.

Late in 2009, Kowalsky became the co-founder of this website.  He has been all over the map with his productions.  He once carried the site for a month straight and turned out some absolutely dazzling posts.  He covered the career of Vinny Testaverde, Dan Cortese, and Anthony Mason.  He revolutionized the site by bring some sex-appeal to the site with provocative posts about Anna Kournikova and Danica Patrick.  However, he also hit some lulls with lazy posts consisting of polls and nothing else.

The sad ending to the mediocre tale is that Al appears to be finished.  He completed that Testaverde post back on June 16th and has since produced nothing.  Nothing.  His career arc resembles that of Pete Incaviglia or Terrell Davis.  Say it ain’t so, Alex.  Say it ain’t so.

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Nate Robertson

Gum time? More like FAILURE time. Am I right?

Nate Robertson is many things.  He is left-handed.  He, along with millions of other Americans, wears glasses.  He is white.  He often sports irregular facial hair.  He has been described as a “nice guy” by some.  He was once (still is?) a home-owner in the fine city of Detroit.  He is a pitcher for the Florida Marlins.  Above all else, Nate Robertson is a failure as a baseball player.  Nate is most fondly remembered in Detroit for chewing TONS of big league chew to inspire Tiger rallies.  That’s his legacy in Detroit.

Robertson came up in the Marlins organization.  The Marlins were proud to make the bespectacled lefty a 5th round back in 1999.  The Marlins thought he was worth the pick after Robertson needed Tommy John surgery as a sophomore.  You have admire the Marlins for using a relatively high pick on a guy with a serious injury history.

Nate blew through the low minors with some really strong seasons.  In January of 2003, Robertson was shipped to the Detroit Tigers after making handful of relief appearances in the bigs with the Marlins.  Robertson made 8 starts on the historically bad 2003 Tigers, going 1-2 with an ERA of 5.44, two trends that would continue throughout his sorry career.

In 2004, Robertson was arguable the staff ace in Detroit (which isn’t saying a lot).  He managed to go 12-10 on a team that finished 18 games under .500.  Nate posted an ERA just a tick below 5.00 and finished 8th in the Rookie of the Year voting, tied with legends John Buck and Dave Bush.  Big.

In 2005, Robertson took a step back along with the rest of the Tigers.  Big Nate lost 16 games and won only 7, further establishing his reputation as a loser.  He coughed up 28 home runs in 196 innings of work while striking out 122 hitters.  I recall reading something in a newspaper around this time where Nate described himself as a “power-pitcher”.  I recall, then, rolling on the floor in laughter.  What a joke.

2006 was a banner year for the Tigers organization.  The won over 90 games for the first time in nearly 20 years and the team was led by clutch hitting and terrific pitching.  Several player had career years and all but one of their starting pitchers posted a winning record.  That one pitcher?  You guessed it, Nate Robertson.  On a Tigers team that finished 28 games over .500 and outscored their opponents by 150 runs, Nate Robertson lost 13 games.  Ouch!  While Robertson had an ERA below 4.00 for the first time that season, his legend as a loser continued to grow.  He followed up his regular season by getting the shit kicked out of him by the New York Yankees in the ALDS.

After that 2006 season, the wheels really fell off the bus for Robertson.  Check out his collapse in the sewer of Major League Baseball:

ERA

  • 2007: 4.76
  • 2008: 6.35
  • 2009: 5.44

ERA+

  • 2007: 96
  • 2008: 71
  • 2009:  85

WHIP:

  • 2007: 1.475
  • 2008: 1.660
  • 2008: 1.752

Salary:

  • 2007: $3.2 M
  • 2008: $4.2 M
  • 2009: $7 M
  • 2010: $10 M

One could make the argument that by the time the 2009 season came to a close, that Nate Robertson was the most overpaid player in all of baseball.  He was so bad at that point that the Tigers paid almost of his salary to have to go and play for someone else!  Robertson was shipped back to the Marlins before the 2010 season for a bag of balls and a bucket of human shit.  Since then, he’s continued his sorry act with the Marlins.

I know I cam across kind of tough on Nate, but I watched the guy toil in Detroit for far too long.  He was really never that great and was mediocre in 2006.  That’s it.  While Nate is probably a perfectly nice dude and might even be cool to hang out with, he sure does suck as a baseball player.

My favorite thing about Nate Robertson?  His name inspired one of the great blog names of all time.

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Royce Clayton

Clayton goes the other way for a base-hit.

Royce Clayton is my favorite kind of mediocre athlete.  He was never great (he may have been good a couple of times) but he managed to hang around in the Major Leagues for 17 seasons.  That’s saying something.

Over his 17 year career, Clayton played for 11 different teams.  While both of those pieces of information are pretty impressive, even more impressive is where Clayton played on the diamond.  Usually when a guy sticks around for so long, he moves around the diamond a bit to prolong his career.  Not Royce Clayton.  In those 17 seasons, Clayton was on the field for over 17,000 innings.  Damn!  In all of that time, Clayton spent all but 7.1 innings at shortstop.  He was able to play solid enough defense at a premier position for 17 seasons.  Nice.

Clayton made his big league debut with the San Francisco Giants way back in 1991.  He was the Giants full-time shortstop from 1992-1995.  During that time he hit a paltry .249 with an OPS+ of only 75.  In the winter of 1995, he was the main piece in a trade that sent him to the St. Louis Cardinals.

In 1997, Clayton made his only All-Star Game.  He hit .266 that season with 9 homers and 30 steals.  The following season he was part of a trade deadline deal that sent him packing and he joined the Texas Rangers.  Clayton enjoyed some decent power numbers in Texas (who doesn’t?) as he slugged 14 homers in back-to-back seasons.

Like most guys that stick around for a long time (Vinny Testaverde), Clayton put up some decent career totals in a  few categories.  Check this:

  • 1,904 hits, 39th in baseball from 1991-2007
  • 231 steals, 38th in baseball

In fact, over that time period, only 19 players in all of baseball had at least 1,900 hits and 200 steals.  The list is filled with names like Barry Bonds, Kenny Lofton and Craig Biggio.  Obviously, I’m not saying that Royce Clayton was as good as Barry Bonds, I’m just showing that when you stick around long enough, you’re bound to put up some good-looking numbers.

Royce got exactly 6 at-bats for the Red Sox in 2007, but that was enough for him to earn his only World Series ring.  Atta boy, Royce.  Also, I thought this was funny.  It’s from the first sentence of his website:

“Royce Clayton is one of the premier baseball players of our time and a role model for athletes around the world.”

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