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David Eckstein: Man of the people

April 8th, 2010 by Ray

Sacrificial LinksFrom today’s Padres inbox:

Why did manager Bud Black sit Eckstein on Tuesday in Arizona? Is this going to become a trend?
— Matt M., San Diego

It’s a little early to be dissecting Black’s lineup choices, but I’ll play along. Very good reason for the move: Black wanted to give Jerry Hairston Jr. a start at a position that he will be playing a lot of in 2010. That said, look for Hairston to see time at third base, shortstop and even the outfield. Black wants his players to remain sharp, so that’s why you’ll see guys like Hairston get occasional starts. Honestly, though, Hairston is going to start a lot this season anyway. We know where, just not when.

That didn’t take long.

Your homework question for tonight:

Has there ever been a more divisive figure in Padres history than David Eckstein?

Post your answer in the comments section, and show your work.

For my part, I will say that 20+ years of Padre fandom has created a fair amount of cynicism in me that I find myself taking out on the players. My most recent target was Kevin Kouzmanoff, and I don’t think I was alone in that regard. The difference between Kouz and Eckstein, among myself and the masses, is that there are plusses to Kouz’s game worth acknowledging.

I don’t think Eckstein’s critics will concede that point.

Posted in sacrificial links | 22 Comments »

22 Responses to “David Eckstein: Man of the people”

  1. scionfriar says:

    Woohoo – that was my question to Corey!

  2. Jacob says:

    I’m surprised Hairston’s career OPS+ (85) is lower than Eckstein’s (88). That’s not good. :/

  3. Randy Ready says:

    The Padres Facebook page has some great comments. Definitely a fan favorite who fully believe he’s a valuable asset on offense and defense despite evidence to the contrary.

    • Melvin says:

      It wouldn’t be so bad if Mah Graw stopped inventing reasons to praise the guy. Diving for a ball hit 2 feet to your right doesn’t make you a defensive whiz.

    • scionfriar says:

      Leitner was the same way throughout ST. It was really beyond ridiculous.

    • Randy Ready says:

      Why is it that some bad players get booed off the field for being bad, while others are praised for overcoming adversity? He’s just a player of the people – they all want him to succeed because, in a way, it means that they could succeed.

      …I think.

    • Ray says:

      My favorite example comes from Spring Training, when Eckstein turned a routine ground ball into a 4-6-3 double play. It was a high-hopper, so I suppose it could’ve been more basic, but Grant was falling all over himself to praise Eckstein for it.

      I’m not finding it right now, but I swear that LaRussa, back when Eckstein was on the Cardinals, went on a rant about how most of the praise Eckstein receives is insulting and condescending and that it treats him like a charity case.

    • Randy Ready says:

      I think that was when both La Russa and Leyland were singing him praises during the 2006 World Series.

    • Ray says:

      The irony of LaRussa’s defense makes it even sweeter.

  4. scionfriar says:

    WTF – someone has Eck on their Fantasy team?

    • Randy Ready says:

      I know, right?

    • Randy Ready says:

      That being said, we have an auction league and – as a joke – I picked up Matt Bush on a $1 waiver. But, to be fair, it was between him and Sean Burroughs.

  5. Randy Ready says:

    I shouldn’t indulge myself any more on that comment thread. There’s just too much stupid to contend with.

    • scionfriar says:

      As in: you guys are pathetic! Some Padre fans you are. Eck is a proven winner, does ALL of the little things and is a CRUCIAL leader for young guys in the clubhouse. Kinda like Eric Young a couple years ago.


    • Randy Ready says:

      Yeah, or saying that “hes not gwynn or cabrera speed but he still has wheels.” Speed enough to rank behind Hundley in SB. I swear, some people are just blind to bad performance.

  6. Steve says:

    Maybe Eric Owens (for similar reasons) or Quilvio Veras, who had the temerity to replace Jody Reed at second.

  7. Melvin says:

    Jack Clark, Phil Nevin, Ruben Rivera?

    • Ray says:

      Jack Clark came to my mind thanks to his blaspheme, but he was before my time and I don’t feel right commenting on it.

      Nevin did have a lot of merit, though, and I’m not sure anyone liked Rivera.

  8. Jacob says:

    Phil Nevin rocks!

  9. […] David Eckstein: Man of the people (Sacrifice Bunt). Ray asks: “Has there ever been a more divisive figure in Padres history than David Eckstein?” Probably, though I can’t come up with any names at the moment. I’m still trying to figure out why there’s so much hate for a guy that tries so hard and has overcome a lack of overwhelming talent to get to where he is. Speaking as someone who has been a stathead since the mid-’80s and who is very much aware of Eckstein’s limitations as a ballplayer, I like having a guy who hustles play alongside a bunch of young kids that are trying to establish themselves in the big leagues. On a somewhat amusing note, the last time I defended Eckstein in such a manner, I got called an idiot for acknowledging that he isn’t very good. Really, though, let’s be honest. […]

    • Randy Ready says:

      It’s not so much hate for Eckstein as it is for the people who fall all over their own contradictions and falsehoods in their declarations as to why he is so amazing. I mean, really, he seems like a genuinely nice guy and from all accounts a fantastic clubhouse figure for veterans and youngsters alike. I would like to have him remain with the team in some manner; just not in a role that has him take up payroll space or a spot on the 25 (or 40) man roster.

      But all that is largely irrelevant in the discussion as to how he fits in the lineup as both a defender and hitter.

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