5.09.2008

Voodoo Sabermetrics: Barry Zito



The Voodoo Sabermetrics of Barry Zito
Welcome to our third edition of Voodoo Sabermetrics. This week's subject is struggling San Francisco Giants pitcher, Barry Zito. Let's see how many times we mention the words "Alyssa Milano" and "hippie."

How do you feel when you hear his name? Do you laugh? Do you cry? Do you care at all? Oakland Athletics Fans remember a time when Zito wasn't just another hippie with an 80-mph fastball. He was a scary, left-handed strikeout machine who would mow down batters faster than a fat kid at the Old Country Buffet.

So what happened? Has he not been combing his zen garden properly? It's a medical mystery, and we're here to solve it.


Sooze, Babes Love Baseball

Jolliness
- Barry Zito was once a very happy man. He had talent, a snappy tie and slacks, a spankin' new $126 million contract with a spankin' new team, a Cy Young, and even Samantha Micelli once... he had it all.

Then one day, an unidentified flying object swooped down from outerspace and kidnapped the lefty ace and performed all kinds of weird tests on him.

He hasn't been the same since. Barry Zito gets a sad, sad Emo Kid wearing a stupid t-shirt on the jollity scale. Not very jolly at all.

Theme Song - Space Oddity, David Bowie. Track #1 on Side One of the 1969 album Space Oddity.


Extra P., Bus Leagues Baseball

Name Quality (nicknames included)
- Name: Barry William Zito. I’m not a big fan of the name “Barry”. Try plugging it into the theory put forth by Billy Crystal in the movie “When Harry Met Sally”. You don’t have great sex with a guy named Barry, he’d say, because it sounds goofy when you say “give it to me harder, Barry”, or “Ride me, big Barry”. Then again, the guy dated Alyssa Milano, so what do I know? Still. Kind of a dud as names go.


Regardless, the name seemed destined for trouble when Zito moved across the bay to San Francisco. I mean, there’s only one Barry in Balco Candlestick Pac Bell AT&T Park, right? But that rivalry fizzled, as the roided one gave his tacit approval, even wearing one of two specially-made “Don’t Ask Me, Ask Barry” shirts, as if the two were Tri-delts angling for a date with a couple of fine Omega Mus.

The nicknames try to be creative, but don’t have much panache. “Planet Zito” and “Captain Quirk” are not bad, but don’t really capture the essence of the man. He does, however, call his curveball “Bert”, and that’s a great nickname for a pitch.

Name: 2 out of 10; Nicknames: 3 out of 10; Nickname for pitch: 8 out of 10.

Melissa, Center Field

Celebrity Equivalent
- Matthew McConaughey. Once the darling of the industry, his goofball weirdo schtick quickly grew old when he started, you know, sucking.

The hippie-dippy guitar strumming, shaggy long hair and predilection for bare feet aren't so endearing when you're dropping bombs (box office or earned runs).

At least Zito's not addicted to walking around shirtless... yet.


TC, Mr. Thursday's Curious Mechanism

Quotability
- Let's keep this simple, ladies and gentlemen. Barry Zito.

Obviously, Barry, you score Denny's.

Barry, over the course of his career in Oakland and San Francisco (and, I guess, elsewhere, ya know, during road trips), has only a few occasions in which he's said anything of interest. My favorite, (outside of the time he idolized a tour guide at the New York Stock Exchange), is about pitching in the playoffs: "I don't change things for the playoffs. That's like taking your sweetheart to the prom—knowing you're going to get lucky—then taking a run at the hot chick. Chances are, it won't work." I think he's got a great point there.

No trying to pork hot chicks when your sweetheart's around. Unless you're swingers. But, then I guess you wouldn't have to change anything, anyway. Though, I imagine you'd have to get your sweetheart's approval on the hot chick before you start trying to get her to join you guys for a good time in the mudroom (Finnish dwarves!). I don't know how that translates to baseball. Should you ask the opposing playoff team what to throw?

No, wait. You should ask your season-long junk about whether you should go after a particular kind of post-season pitching. 'Cause that makes fucking sense. Right.

Anyway, for the man who never wants to change, you get KFC, whose big new promotions only ever consist of slightly larger buckets of chicken.

Tuffy, Refrigerator Logic and Sports by Brooks

Hardness Scale (Like the Mohs Hardness Scale but with more Tuffy)
- The left-handed hippie pitcher plays guitar, carries stuffed animals on the road with his pink pillows, indulges in yoga and meditation before games, and wants you to know that "... I refuse to be molded into some stereotypical ballplayer that has no interests, really, no life, no depth, no intelligence."

On the Tuffy's Hardness Scale of 1-10, Barry Zito ranks at N/A. Unfortunately for the scale, there is no known reliable method of measuring the hardness of Flubber.

You can push it around all you want and abuse it by bouncing it in and out of the rotation without it seeming to care in the slightest.

Also, it made a metric buttload of money in the remake for reasons that puzzle all of us.

Horoscope(Date of Birth: May 13th, 1978) - Tauruses tend to be practical, sensible, and down-to-earth. Therefore, Barry Zito must be a Tardis.

A Tardis bounces around time and space wildly due to its unreliable nature. It can wield awesome power, especially when it throws a cosmic curve from 12 to 6. Its occupants (mostly Giants fans) usually become violently ill when it's put into action.

No one can properly predict the future with a Tardis. One can only try to enjoy the subversive ride.

Jack Cobra, The Cobra Brigade

Neighbor Quotient
- It's been known for awhile now that Barry Zito is....weird...no, no...eccentric. When you add that to his newfound, big contract attitude it would seem that he would be a poor fit to be my neighbor. Fortunately for him, his saving grace is that I have a weakness for hot women and I have no problem looking over the fenceline into his backyard and seeing his bevvy of beauties hanging out around his pool/barbeque area. For that reason, and that reason alone, Zito rating is an 8 out of 10.

Scrappiness - I enjoy the yoga and guitar playing probably more than the normal person but when you sign for $126 million and all of a sudden become crappy.....you are no longer scrappy. The disheveled hair and high rise leg pants might scream scrappy but the 6.95 ERA and poor attitude scream crappy. Rating: -2 out of 10.

Jon Pyle, Pyle of List

Hotness & SMI
- The issue of Barry Zito’s hotness is much more complex than his baseball-related struggles. Mostly due to the fact it calls attention to the age-old correlation between a man’s attractiveness in relation to his success. It’s pretty simple: confident, successful men are more attractive. As the Right Guard ad once said “Confidence is (deep breaths)… very sexy.” Men less attractive than your garden-variety carny or box-standard band nerd can become international sex symbols simply because of their achievements and abilities (see Connick Jr., Harry and Groban, Josh). This puts Bar-Bar (pronounced bear-bear) in an unenviable attractiveness situation due to his current slump and evidence of significantly declining skills.

But I’m gonna give it to you straight: win or lose, bullpen or starting, majors or minors, Zito is a damn good looking man. Not only is he a great athlete, he shows his sensitive side with his long haired, sensuous, guitar-toting musicality. He’s the classic archetype of the “Warrior Poet” women so often seek and go to great lengths to find. But then there’s the whole 0-7 thing, uglying up his pretty boy looks and devil-may-care appeal, making it quite obvious his best days are behind him. And for men [HONEST MALE PSYCHOLOGY SPOILER] our occupation (and resulting performance) is so entrenched within our identity that failure to meet expectation can shatter our fragile psyche, leaving us as broken down shells of our former selves. [END HONEST MALE PSYCHOLOGY SPOILER] And that’s so not hot.

Where does he rank on the Sexy Man Index?

A solid Trip McNeely.

Relying on sex appeal from the past McNeely might pass the eyeball test, but the moderately pathetic, Bruce Springsteen song-worthy life of unfulfilled potential life is a major turn-off. Sure if you’ve had a few too many drinks at your local TGI Friday’s he may appear to be hot, but so does the former Homecoming King that works at a car dealership and is in his 9th year at the local Community College.

[Side note: every Friday’s should have a sign posted at the bar that reads: “Objects at this bar are less hot than they appear”.]


So there you have it. Check back next Friday for another edition of Voodoo Sabermetrics!


5 comments:

Megs said...

Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

God. What a dirty hippie. Maybe he should quit smoking grass and start concentrating on his curveball!

Anonymous said...

There is nothing funny about a pitcher going 0-7.

Bassmaster said...

Sounds like Barry has a damn good case of the Mexicali Blues.

Eric (Extra P.) said...

Cheers for the Tardis reference. Inspired.

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