Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Stankeye's 10 Most Hated Active Players in Baseball Today.
10. Ramon Hernandez. I actually like Ramon quite a bit, but his one-man demolition job of the Giants this season more than merits his inclusion on this list. For some reason, the sight of a Giant uniform this year set off some sort of Pavlovian reaction in Hernandez’s brain, making him turn into Johnny Bench whenever he came into a game against the Men in Orange. Hernandez's line against the Giants in 2005: .390/.419/.644, with three homers and 14 RBIs. Hernandez missed almost all of August but came back just in time to screw the Giants in September, with the icing on the cake coming when he knocked in seven runs in the 9-6 victory that essentially finished the Giants’ season. Hernandez is easy to root for and isn’t a nearly as loathsome as some of the other characters on this list, but this whole Giants-bashing thing has got to stop.
9. Jeff Weaver. Tall, thin, with wild hair and looking like an ugly Mark Fydrich strung out on blow, not to mention he’s an all-around dick. His wild arm-pumping and shouting on the mound would be less irritating if he were actually some sort of good pitcher, but seeing as how he’s basically a mediocre inning-eater in a pitcher-friendly park, it gets old very fast. And as for his little tiff with Michael Tucker down the first base line last season, dude, if you get directly into a runner’s path as he’s gunning full speed to first base, of course he’s going to crash into you, you jackass! Apparently his brother Jared is just as much of a nincompoop, so at least we have that to look forward too. Yuck.
8. Salomon Torres. Yeah, no explanation needed here. Next…
7. Eric Gagne. If there’s any pitcher in the league who comes across as Satan incarnate while on the mound, it’s Gagne. Big and fat, with unkempt curly hair sticking out beneath his cap, and bizarre glasses hiding crazed red eyes. I’m also sure that hat covers a pretty wicked set of horns, too. If you look real fast, he kind of resembles a depraved clown, one you definitely don’t want to come across in a dark alley. Of course, none of it would draw my ire if he weren’t so awfully good, but mix his 100 mph heat with a nasty curveball and add in the fact that he’s wearing that damn Dodger blue, and you’ve got the work of Lucifer going on here. The Giants seem to fare better than most teams do against Gagne, but that just means that they might put two baserunners on or scratch out a run with a three-run deficit. I can’t recall Gagne ever blowing a save against the Giants, only him giving up a game-winning single to Benito Santiago and then flying into a berzerker rage in the dugout, a sight too hilarious for words.
6. Jason Christiansen. Any Joe Blow with a functional left arm could have done just as poorly as Christiansen did for the Giants from 2002 to 2004, so it seemed that he was as good as gone after his third straight year of impersonating a burning log. But nooooooo, Brian Sabean had to go and toss a million bucks his way, and we were stuck with his garbage for another year. Not only did he pitch just as horribly as expected, he also apparently got into a mid-season wrestling match with Barry Bonds that may or may not have re-aggravated Bonds’ aching knee. I’m just speechless at how inexcusable this is. Christiansen was mercifully traded to the Angels for a jar of antifreeze in August and, to my knowledge, hasn’t yet broken one of the Rally Monkey’s ribs in a whirling bout of fisticuffs.
5. Wayne Franklin. Shittius Pitcherus, in its natural habitat, the Yankee bullpen. Bronx fans got a chance to witness first-hand what Giants fans endured for a whole season from Franklin in 2004. Now, I’m not saying Franklin was bad, but William VanLandingham and Tim Scott were seen giving him pitching advice last season. Honestly, of all the louts in the ’04 Giants bullpen, Franklin was the worst, which is basically entering the Manos: Hands of Fate realm of gawd-awfulness. The guy threw batting practice all year, but still somehow found himself facing Steve Finley with the bases loaded and the season on the line. Yeah, that was destined to end well.
4. Steve Finley. What's this guy's problem? He's basically made a career out of killing the Giants, and when they finally get fed up and try to acquire him in the winter of 2005, he balks and joins the Angels. Finley's career line against the Giants is .311/.374/.477, with 26 home runs. The list of instances in which he's hurt the G-men is as long as the Great Wall of China, and it all culminated in his division-winning grand slam last season that eliminated the Giants from playoff contention. Appropriately, it might have been his last hurrah, as he completely fell off a cliff with LA this year. I've never in my life seen one guy own a team like Finley has, so when he retires Giants fans will be the first to see him out the door.
3. Ricky Ledee Good God, I hate this bastard. Acquired in a deadline deal in 2004 for Felix Rodriguez, Ledee proceeded to total up 6 measly hits in 53 at-bats with the Giants, putting up an unspeakably bad line of .113/.200/.151. Seeing as how the Giants bullpen single-handedly cost them the division last year, trading away Rodriguez for two months of Ledee's helpless flailing seems horrible in retrospect. Naturally, Ledee goes to the Dodgers this season and hits .278 as a fourth outfielder, with several key hits in games against the Giants. In fact, his eight hits in 26 at-bats against the Giants this year were two more than he had in those 53 with the team last season. Just kill me now.
2. Livan Hernandez. Livo's career has followed a strange path indeed, with most of it seemingly destined to screw the Giants over. He has a great half-season in 1997, plays a key role in beating the Giants in the Division Series that year, then is inexplicably labeled a big game pitcher based solely on the strength of Eric Gregg's amorphous strike zone. After winning a world title, he has a bad year and a half with Florida, is traded to the Giants, and has one good season, winning 17 games in 2000. Then comes the meltdown. Livan discovers the all-you-can-eat buffets in SF, grows fat as a toad, and goes 13-15 with a 5.24 ERA in 2001 and loses another 16 games in 2002. The Giants somehow made the World Series in 2002 despite him, and the greatest insult of all was when Livan incredibly found himself on the mound in Game 7, despite having been torn to shreds in Game 3 and having a crappy year all-around. To the surprise of no one, he gets slapped around and is gone by the third inning, as the Giants end up losing the game and the series. In the offseason, Livan decides to vent his frustration by taking a golf club to some poor old man's dome. Hey, maybe he was in the right. We don't know.
Brian Sabean decides enough is enough and unloads Hernandez for table scraps. The rest is pound-your-head-into-the-desk history. Livan's career with the Giants: 35-45, 4.44 ERA. With the Expos/Nationals: 41-35, 3.60 ERA. He's now one of the best starters in the league, and he no longer resembles Philip Seymour Hoffman's stunt double to boot. It just leaves a terrible, terrible taste in the mouth.
1. Neifi Perez. I know it's cliche now amongst the Giants blogosphere to put Neifi at the top of a most hated list, but His Evilness deserves it. Neifi is one of the most bloody awful hitters to ever put on a major league uniform. He polluted the Giant batting order for a year and a half and I'll never forgive him for it. For some reason, there are still those who actually defend Neifi, as if his .571 OPS with the Giants in 2004 wasn't enough evidence that he's hideous. Giant fans know better, and also realize that after having to endure Neifi for so long (at least it seemed like forever), it just can't get any worse. Of course, once he leaves he hits .390 with the Cubs and smacks the living crap out of the ball for the first month of 2005.
Oh, and let's not forget that home run he hit off of Robb Nen in 1998 to send the Giants into their ill-fated playoff game with the Cubs. Yes, he's a Giant-killer, inside and out.
Ahh!! Look Away! Look Away!!!!