Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Dejan, Phone Home

Dejan Kovacevic is on some sort of sabbatical or temporary assignment shuffle from the Post-Gazette, so today we get Paul Meyer. I guess Paul Meyer is to Dejan Kovacevic as Roberto Hernandez is to Mike Gonzalez: the more experienced guy whose role is now to back up the less experienced guy. The wily old vet churned out this piece of fluff in the morning paper, in which the tone is set neatly right in the opening paragraph:
Joe Randa is proof that perhaps Thomas Wolfe was incorrect. A person can, too, go home again.
Has anyone in the world actually ever read this book? How many bad newspaper writers have begun stories using the template "[$subject] is proof that perhaps Thomas Wolfe was incorrect. A person can, too, go home again."? Can't anyone just return somewhere without someone invoking poor old Thomas Wolfe?

The following quotes from Randa, elicited by Meyers' incisive, hard-hitting interview questions, are then sprinkled liberally in the remainder of the story:
  • "Every guy I've seen in this clubhouse [is] not like starry-eyed, you know what I mean? They feel like they belong here, which is half the battle."
  • "I think this team the last couple years has done a good job of really stacking their minor-league system," he said, "and you can see it in spring training. These kids are competing at a high level."
  • "We have expectations in this clubhouse of winning, and everyone's accountable...we feel like we can compete in this division. I think we have the talent to compete with anybody."
  • "We have to stay healthy."
And can we please stop all the dewey-eyed nostalgia for 1997? Yes, there were some magical moments that year, but there are moments every year--that's why we keep watching. (There's always a chance, on any given night, that something spectacular will happen. Zeke and I saw Snell outpitch Clemens last year. We saw Wells pitch like Cy Young against the Phillies. You never know.)

Let's not forget: In 1997, we contended not because we had a good team, but because no one else in the division that year had a good team. It was the context that made us look a lot better than we actually were. It was just another in a string of losing seasons.


Anonymous Oliver Onion said...

The reason they're not starry eyed is because it's the Pirates. Not like you're stepping into the Yankees, Red Sox, or even White Sox.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Pat said...

I believe I read something (I think it was at Honest Wagner but I'm not positive) about Dejan being away so that Meyer could be in Florida and get familiar with the minor leaguers or whoever it is that he's supposed to be covering now.

9:54 PM  
Anonymous bill stiteler said...

Aww come on! It's smiling Joe! 1997 is all some of us have!

The article read like an Jimmy Roberts documentary on an Olympian who had to hurtle critical health issues to ski one last time. Everyone still watches those segments though, and everyone still loves Joe Randa...

10:06 PM  
Blogger Billy said...

Yeah, Bill, I was thinking about how tragic it is that 1997 is all that some of you young guys have.

That 1997 can be someone's Golden Age is a testament to the power of baseball.

10:09 PM  
Blogger Charlie said...

I guess Paul Meyer is to Dejan Kovacevic as Roberto Hernandez is to Mike Gonzalez.

Oh come on! Hernandez is not that bad.

11:57 PM  
Blogger Billy said...

You're right, Charlie--the similarity is that the more experienced guy is in a subservient role to the less experienced guy.

Charlie Feeney was the best beat writer the PPG ever had. One year, the Pirates traded Dock Ellis and two other guys to the Yankees for Doc Medich. Watching Medich labor through the first of many poor outings before succumbing to substance-abuse problems, Feeney threw his pencil across the press box and exclaimed, "Ellis is a better doctor than this guy."

5:16 AM  

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