Voodoo Sabermetrics: Chase Utley

Who do the Voodoo
Welcome to our eighth edition of Voodoo Sabermetrics. This week we tackle one of the hottest bats in baseball, Philadelphia Phillies second baseman, Chase Utley. We generally polish off our Voodoo posts with Jon Pyle (see Hotness and SMI) but we have a special treat for you today, instead.

Sooze, Babes Love Baseball
- Chase Utley's jollity sparked the moment his first big league hit went yard for a grand salami. He's enjoyed a steady .300 career batting average ever since, not to mention a hot start to the 2008 season, nailing 23 homers and 66 RBIs to date. He's jovial in a young Joe Morgan way. Plus, he rocks those rosy cheeks sometimes, which tips the scale of jolliness just toward Santa Claus. But naturally, Chase Utley gets a Soft Little Puppy on the Jollity Scale.

When I think of people who name their kid Chase, I think of yuppies. And when I think of yuppies, I think of California. When I think of California, for some reason I get that Joni Mitchell song stuck in my head. But just the unbearably high parts. Which brings me to this theme song... even though I should have probably chosen this one.

Theme Song - Joni Mitchell, California. Track #6 on the 1971 album Blue, in which she is joined by easy-listening sensation James Taylor on the guitar.

Dirty BatExtra P., Bus Leagues Baseball
Name Quality (nicknames included)
- Pasadena, California is known for three things: The Rose Bowl, the attendant parade, and lots and lots of dudes named Chase. Chase Cameron Utley sounds like the worst of the lot, but he's earned a grudging respect that pushes aside our natural dislike of such a pantywaist moniker.

Fortunately, Chase has a nickname, and it's a pretty good one. Somehow the prep-school douchebaggery of the name Chase mixed with the stamp-collecting nerdiness of the last name Utley creates the smooth and confident Chutley. Chutley is efficient, forceful, and provides a wonderful complement of taste and texture when served with traditional Indian cooking.

Ah, shit. Those Wikipedia dumbasses screwed me up again.

Aaaaanyway. Name: 1 out of 10 navy blazers. Nickname: 9 out of 10 Bollywood condiments.

Celebrity Equivalent
- Orlando Bloom.
Fresh-faced handsomeness and dashing good looks, floppy brown locks, a just-skinny-enough torso that compels people to want to feed him cookies and milk, and a debonair charm that causes teen girls (and grown-ass women) to melt at his feet like pools of butter? Sounds like Chutley and Orlando Bloom have a lot in common. And so far, Chut can relate to being stuck in the shadow of the twin titans Johnny Depp (Jimmy Rollins) and Brad Pitt (Ryan Howard). And both guys are tree-hugging environmentalists and dog-loving animal rescuers - which only makes the ladies squee louder. Plus, Chutley totally would be the elf if the Phils got together for a little LOTR roleplay.

Camp Tiger Claw, Walkoff Walk
Intensity of Self vs. Intensity of Devotees; Corrolaries and Reflexiveness
Hot BatFormer teammate Geoff Geary once said of Utley: "The best thing about Chase is you'll never see him too high or too low. I see it as a relaxed intensity." Relaxed intensity? That only happens when stoners play video games. I'm calling bullcrap. Chase is no quietly intense hippie. Is he?

Holy crap, he's intense about stopping Global Warming. Geoff Geary was right. He's quietly intense like that kid your bought pills from in your freshman poli-sci class! MVP! MVP!

Let's see what his fans have crapped out all over Youtube. User Jazareth says in the intro to the following video: "Chase Utley is a beast who beats opponents into submission with his phenomenal skills, rugged good looks, and boyish charms." The tuneage goes from Zeppelin > Tenacious D > Um.. James Blunt.

I think that may be ironic, in which case I hate it. The next submission refers to Utley as "The God Of Baseball" and uses a song that employs approximately 75 uses of the N word.

That one stinks too. STEP IT UP PEOPLE.

I give Utley the intensity of a Goo Ball in the lot at a Phish show and his fans the intensity of listening to your roommate try and convince you to listen to the Disco Biscuits.

Hardness Scale (Like the Mohs Hardness Scale but with more Tuffy)
- Chase Utley does not appear to score highly on Tuffy's Hardness Scale on first blush. He has no super powers outside his ability to both own a second baseman's glove and hit like a DH. (No small feat, but still.) He looks like every non-descript SoCal dude lucky enough to make $85m over six years. He possesses no particular charisma. His hand fracture last season shows he can be broken. He likes puppies, but that's more admirable than hard.

Upon further analysis, though, we found a part on Chase Utley that seems incredibly dense. The specific gravity on this section of Utley's body is so high that he will sink to the bottom of any pool in mere seconds. It is so dense that anything that gets too close to it (especially young women) cannot escape its pull.

Therefore, we rate Chase Utley's total hardness on Tuffy's Hardness Scale at 7.2 and the hardness of his ass at 8.9. Please keep your distance for your own safety.

Horoscope (Date of Birth: December 17th, 1978) - Normally, we would provide detailed analysis of Chase Utley's character and predict his future. However, we're more and more convinced that this is all you'll need. Congratulations, Philadelphia; best of luck finding two more players with last names that start with 'U'.

Jon Pyle, Pyle of List
Hotness and SMI
- Chase Utley is a difficult man to judge in terms of hotness. He's got a passionate throng of female (and male) fans that have generated an amazing amount of hype in regard to Mr. Utley's good looks. His dirty uniform whilst leaning against a bat picture has reached almost legendary status. There are even photographs of him holding puppies that pack any Google Image search for ol' Chase. And not just any puppies... adopted puppies. (Cue Ahhhhhh's). However, it is my job to penetrate the dense fog of hype surrounding our subject and my verdict won't be too popular. Chase Utley is quite simply not as hot as you think he is. The idea of Chutley is hot, but in reality he doesn't quite measure up to the standard of hotness held by this objective observer.

On the JP's patented Sexy Man Index, Chase Utley scores a Monet

Borrowing a term from Cher Horowitz, a renowned rater of hotness in the mid 90's, Utley looks great from far away but when you examine his looks closely, his appearance doesn't quite hold up.


Clare, Plunk Chutley
The Scale of Macho-tude -
When the usual Voodoo Sabermetrics suspects decided to analyze Chase Utley, they came to a consensus that I be included in their analysis. After all, I do have something of an interest in the fellow. And of course I agreed to participate, because anytime anybody gives me the opportunity to rhapsodize about everybody's favorite puppy-rescuing, power-hitting second baseman, I run with that opportunity.

I think everyone expects me to talk about how hot Chase Utley is. And don't get me wrong, he is. But having read the recent column on Jezebel about why girls write fan letters, I decided to go in a slightly different direction, and so welcome to The Scale of Macho-tude, a new feature on Voodoo Sabermetrics.

What IS The Scale of Macho-tude, you ask? What defines Macho-tude?

Well, frankly, I haven't figured that out yet. But what I can tell you is that The Scale of Macho-tude is tallied in David Sedarises...

...and Wolverines.

Let's begin!

Things that make Chase Utley macho:

Can hit for power AND average. Even when he was slumping his batting average stayed over .300. +1 Wolverines.

Forearms. (This photo is saved on my computer as forearmporn.jpg, OK?) +5 Wolverines.

Works out a lot, so he could probably open a stuck jar or carry big bags of groceries from your car for you. +250 Wolverines (which is how much I assume Chutley can bench).

Likes to get dirty (interpret that however you'd like). +1 Wolverine.

Prone to occasional fits of pique. +9 Wolverines (since he usually keeps it together until the ninth inning so dude doesn't get ejected).

Is nice to animals. + 5 Wolverines. (see puppies)

And little children. +2 Wolverines (one for each ovary).

baby-lover, always a plus
Things that are not Macho about Chase Utley:

The twee soul patch. That thing has got to go. Its meticulous grooming smacks of a vanity I like to believe Chase Utley is incapable of. -10 Sedarises. I really, really hate that thing.

Occasional "Look at me! I'm a glamour boy!" moments. -5 Sedarises.

sissypants picture
Drinks wussy beer. I don't care if it's in the cool aluminum Phillies-branded bottle, IT'S STILL BUD LIGHT. You live in the town that gave the world Troegenator, Victory Hop Devil, and Yuengling, for Jebus' sake. YUENGLING! NO MACROBREWS FOR YOU! -24 Sedarises, one for every beer in a case of Yuengling.

The Macho-tude Verdict:

Total Wolverines: 273
Total Sedarises: 39

Net total: 234
, giving Chase Utley a solid Chase Utley. Macho-er than David Sedaris, though not as macho as a guy who has adamantium welded to his bones. (Although the pin in Chutley's hand after The John Lannan Incident of Aught-Seven might make me revise that number...)

Check back soon for another edition of Voodoo Sabermetrics!


Voodoo Sabermetrics: Carlos Zambrano

Who do the Voodoo
Welcome to our seventh edition of Voodoo Sabermetrics. This week we break down one of the biggest badasses in baseball, Carlos Zambrano.

Sooze, Babes Love Baseball
- The jollity of Carlos Zambrano cannot be measured in chuckles or belly laughs. It can only be determined by how hard he can punch someone in the melon. But as heartbroken as this makes Cubbies fans, he won't be beating anyone's ass or throwing any sinkers in the near future. At this juncture, Zambrano gets an MRI on the ever-tipping Scale of Jolliness.

Theme Song - L.L. Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out. Track #8 on the 1990 comeback album of the same name.

Extra P., Bus Leagues Baseball
Name Quality (nicknames included)
- rawr. I like the rhythm of this cat's name. It ups the ante with each name. In addition, it seems to be quite the athlete's name in South America, as our CAZ is an elite pitcher from the baseball hotbed of Venezuela, and there is also a soccer-playing Carlos Augusto Zambrano from the coca-based stimulant hotbed of Peru. Oh, and he plays professional soccer, too, having started for his national team. I guess, in a way, that Carlos Zambrano must be roughly equivalent to the English name Dee Brown.

The nickname is boring. Big. Z. Yeah. He's corpulent and his surname begins with the last letter of the alphabet. Nice work, Einstein.

Name: 7 out of 10 anti-American speeches by Hugo Chavez. Nickname: 1 out of 10 maracas in Caracas.

Monday Morning Punter, Kissing Suzy Kolber
- Well... he's a switch-hitting pitcher. Does that also mean he's a catcher?

Camp Tiger Claw, Walkoff Walk
fist of furyIntensity of Self vs. Intensity of Devotees; Corrolaries and Reflexiveness
- Carlos Zambrano is very intense. Carlos Zambrano is a wolverine with a bomb in his stomach. Carlos Zambrano is homeless vet with a 98 MPH fastball. Carlos Zambrano gives off UV rays. Warheads thought about making a Carlos Zambrano flavor but realized the sexual implications and never followed through. At night, Carlos Zambrano . One time he jerked off so hard his dick came off in his hand but he immediately grew another one like an iguana. Carlos Zambrano is very intense.

For a player who's testicles are larger than any of Jupiter's 63 moons, he sure has some crap tribute videos. I give you this one, set to "The Reason" by that band from a couple years ago.

I give Carlos Zambrano the intensity of being trampled by stallions, and his fans the intensity of giving your niece a piggy back ride.

Hardness Scale (Like the Mohs Hardness Scale but with more Tuffy)
- Carlos Zambrano is a highly reactive element of the Cubs' pitching staff. He's an absolute charmer under perfect circumstances. However, he quickly catches fire when exposed to outdoor air at Wrigley Field or beyond, mowing down hitters at nearly eight strikeouts per nine innings for his career.

He's so dangerous that you could store him in kerosene and be safer. Don't get him wet, either, or he'll react violently. (Same if you combine him with Barrettium.) Still, he's a vital component to the life of the Cubs and is utterly irreplaceable as part of this pitching rotation.

Of course, Carlos Zambrano most closely resembles sodium. On the normal Mohs Hardness Scale, sodium is a wimpy 0.5 out of 10. However, this is the Tuffy's Hardness Scale. In that measurement system, Zambrano is an 8.7: Gremlin sodium. He's so hard to subdue that even Phoebe Cates would need four chances and possibly a sequel.

ewwHoroscope (Date of Birth: June 1, 1981) - You may not believe this, but Gemini are masculine extroverts that enjoy the stage and need the credit. They get restless when not in control and act out. (We're not sure how Curt Schilling isn't a Gemini, come to think of it.)

Our crystal ball has clouded due to our Cubs fandom, but we see a masterful future for Zambrano that can only be marred by another gremlin.

- This is a bizarrely fluid quantity. You can be a player that everyone thinks is great, has great stats, and still be over-rated. The poster boy for this is obviously Alex Rodriguez. He's a first ballot Hall of Famer, he's going to have the HR record, he'll probably have five MVPs by the time he retires, and yet he still sucks. And nothing he does will ever make me think otherwise. The guy slapped at Bronson Arroyo; in the last five post-season series, I think I've gotten more hits than he has. Loser, defined.

I hesitate to call Carlos Zambrano the "ARod of Pitchers," because he doesn't have the track record of post-season failures that ARod does (because the Cubs suck), but he's clearly one of the most over-rated pitchers in baseball. On paper, the stats look great: 90 career wins, a career 3.39 ERA and until this last week, a guy who you could count on to make 34 starts every year and give you 220 innings.

But innings at what price? Before we knew about statistics, before stats like K/BB and WHIP became as common place as ERA, Zambrano would have been considered awesome. If this was 1989, we'd be talking about him like Jack Morris. But it's not 1989. And he's not Jack Morris. Let me give you a free piece of advice when evaluating pitchers: when a pitcher gives up 100 walks in back to back seasons, they suck.

Here's another one: when a pitcher's WHIP is creeping into the 1.30's, they suck.

Let me quantify that "suck" statement. Here are the 2007 pitching lines for 2 starters.

Starter A: 202 innings, 4.19 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 2.47 K/BB
Starter B: 216 innings, 3.95 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 1.75 K/BB

Starter A is another Carlos. Carlos Silva. And unless you're Bill Bavasi, you'd never confuse Silva with a good major league pitcher.

Starter B is Zambrano. Seriously. Look at that stat line. Are you kidding me? Zambrano didn't even have a better year than Silva last year, and yet he has this reputation of a stud. This is a guy who gets mentioned in the same breath as Brandon Webb, Jake Peavy, Johan Santana and C.C. Sabathia? Really? He should be getting mentioned in the same breath as Tim Wakefield. Sure, he stays healthy and gives you innings, but do you really want innings like that? I remember Steve Trachsel used to pitch 200 innings a year. So did Kevin Appier. Did we think they were All-Star caliber starters, let alone "aces?"

And now, he's not even going to give you innings. He's hurt. I've been waiting for his shoulder injury for a couple of years. That was as easy to predict as the tides. The guy throws 3500 pitches per year, gets abused by Dusty Baker AND Lou Pinella and won't blow his arm out?

So you can take Carlos Zambrano and give him back to the indians (not the franchise, the displaced people who run casinos.) I'll take [insert any pitcher here] over him any day.

Check back soon for another edition of Voodoo Sabermetrics!


Welcome to our sixth edition of Voodoo Sabermetrics. This week we break down one of the most awesome players ever, #10. Chipper Jones.

Sooze, Babes Love Baseball
- Well, he isn't called Chipper for his jollity, this much I know. We'll let Extra P. cover that base, though. But if happiness were a batting average, Jones would be all smiles. Heading into tonight's game against the Cincinnati Reds, the life-long Atlanta Braves switching-hitting badass is batting .418 with 14 longballs and 39 RBIs on the season, after smoking career homer #400 Thursday night.

Chipper gets a George Clooney on the jollity scale. The man is like a fine wine: the older he gets, the better he is and the more jolly he makes this girl.

Theme Song - This week's theme song is more of an extremely heart-felt dedication by me: I Wanna Sex You Up, featured on the 1991 Color Me Badd single by the same name. The song also appears on the New Jack City soundtrack.

Extra P., Bus Leagues Baseball
Name Quality (nicknames included)
- Posterity does not record Mr. and Mrs. Jones' intentions when they named their son. We are able, however to narrow it down. A man named Larry Wayne Jones has only two options in life: serial killer or presidential assassin. Good thing this guy has a nickname.

The nickname is equally confusing, however. Because "Chipper" Jones is not a golfer. Nor does he seem excessively happy at all times. Nor can he turn a stack of tree limbs into a nice, even layer of mulch for my flower beds. It's kind of like his nickname by executive fiat – he claimed to be "Chipper", so he's "Chipper". But at least it's keeping him from becoming a professional murderer, and that's worth celebrating.

Name: 4 out of 10 heads in the freezer Nickname: 5 inches of fragrant, weed-defeating wood fragments

Celebrity Equivalent
- Colin Farrell.
Smarmy, slightly skeevy but very talented -- yet often overlooked by critics and/or award givers-- Chipper and Colin have a lot in common. Chipper's 2007 season was his very own Tigerland -- where was the love for that virtuoso performance? Oh right, that's because no one seems to like either of them very much at all. Also, they have a problem with womanizing - though a Chipper sex tape hasn't surfaced. Yet. And while Colin bangs models, playmates and Angelina Jolie, Chipper's daliance of choice is a Hooters waitress. Pure class, the both of 'em.

Camp Tiger Claw, Walkoff Walk
Intensity of Self vs. Intensity of Devotees; Corrolaries and Reflexiveness
- Chipper Jones seems like a fun loving guy. Coaches, teammates and waitresses all love him. He's built himself a Hall Of Fame career by hitting the bejesus out of the ball from both sides of the plate. Arguably (and I don't want to argue, I'm hungover) he's the best switch hitter since Mickey Mantle. You don't get that way without a little intensity, yeah?

But isn't it kind of hard to think of anyone associated with the Braves as ultramega intense? There's just something about that squad that makes me doubt they're maniacal drive to win. But I can't quite put my finger on it... any ideas Chipper?

"I think the legacy is what it is. We've won 14 straight [division titles]. We know how special that is. We're going to keep doing our thing whether we win or lose in the postseason. It's not going to change the fact that we've won 14 straight division titles."

Oh yeah. Quiet complacency with a sock drawer full of division titles. He should have gotten more upset about this over the years. I'll award him above average intensity because I've seen him swear a lot, but I'm not going crazy with it.

How about his fans. To what level have they taken their love to the Yootoobz?

Montage of stills set to Five For Fighting.

I wanted to call this some seriously weak sauce... but it kind of got to me. I found myself reflecting.

I give Chipper Jones the intensity of a serious Bumper Cars session, and his fans the intensity of The Tunnel Of Love.

Hardness Scale (Like the Mohs Hardness Scale but with more Tuffy)
- He appears rugged from the outside, with his weathered good looks, his solid form, and his gritty gutty smile. He's an icon that stands for much more than just his sturdy exterior. He's everything that unites us and divides us as baseball viewers. His achievements reach legendary status, though complete success has mostly avoided him. Also, he's got some wicked stories behind him.

However, a dozen trips to the disabled list since 2004 belie a fragile nature that could cause him to finally collapse at any time. No one wants to believe that, though, because so we concentrate on the visual virility. We want him on that wall; we need him on that wall. Therefore, we project him on that wall when perhaps he could find another position he's better suited for now. Still, the writing's on that wall - his time left is short and his effectiveness waning.

Larry "Chipper" Jones is a 6.7 on the Tuffy's Hardness Scale. Extrapolated through historical algorithms, he's the Berlin Wall around 1986. He's not as daunting as he used to be, when his peak hardness caused a whole league to quiver. Crumbled bits of him can be found along the line, but he's still up there protecting an idea. Unfortunately, an aged leader will soon have to step in front of him and declare with just a bit of sadness that it's time to tear down this wall and he'll peter out of existence.

Then we'll buy pieces of him for decades to come as a bit of nostalgia that our kids will never fully understand. It will be their loss.

(And if that reference seems dated and a bit out of step, we'll smile, nod, and mutter something about a "meta-Hardness Scale this week" while demanding another White Russian from the bartender.)

Horoscope (Date of Birth: April 24th, 1972) - Taurus signers are stubborn, reserved, loyal, and dependable. Slow to act and slower to change their minds, getting a Taurus to do what you want if it goes against their beliefs will probably involve some type of cattle prod.

For 2008, we predict Jones will stay the course until the mission is accomplished. He will insist that the threat of NL East opponents requires stern responses like hitting over .400 and staying upright at third base for 140 games. The Braves will push to improve their road record under his emotional guidance to uphold one of his axioms: we must fight them over there so we can fight them over here in October.

We also predict this will all blow up in his face and tarnish his legacy, but he'll still be our good ol' boy in the end.

Jon Pyle, Pyle of List
Hotness and SMI
- Chipper Jones continues to show us that age doesn’t dictate performance by hitting over .400 so far this season. He does the same thing for hotness. In fact, he may be hotter now than in his debut in 1993. Then, he was a skinny Southern kid that looked like he’d say “No thank you, ma’am” if you seductively offered him lemonade while he tended to your barn. Now he looks like a confident, worldly man that would march into your plantation mansion, kick down your bedroom door and make sweet, passionate love to you. Despite being the consummate southern gentleman, he knows what he wants and isn’t keen on playing games. That sureness of purpose and self-confidence make Chipper Jones quite sexy no matter where you reside.

Chipper scores a Patrick Dempsey on the SMI (Sexy Man Index).

While not from the South, Dempsey has aged better than any bottle of wine in existence. Once a somewhat awkward but still attractive lad, he’s become an extremely hot family man which has launched his career to increasingly successful heights.

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


Voodoo Sabermetrics: Ryan Braun

Welcome to our fifth edition of Voodoo Sabermetrics, where we welcome a new addition, Camp Tiger Claw from Walkoff Walk. This week's subject is Milwaukee Brewers stud left fielder, Ryan Braun. Who doesn't love this kid?

Cubs fans? Oh yeah.

Sooze, Babes Love Baseball
- Ryan Braun has 45 million reasons to be jolly for at least the next 8 seasons. Usually, landing the richest contract in your club's history one year after enjoying the National League Rookie of the Year honors will do that to a guy. Brauny also has a Sporting News NL Rookie of the Year award, a Baseball America Rookie of the Year award, a Baseball Prospectus Internet Baseball NL Rookie of the Year honor, a Topps Rookie All-Star Third Baseman selection, the Brewers' Top Newcomer in 2007 distinction, and a Players Choice NL Most Outstanding Rookie Award, all of which need daily polishing. He's already cleared a spot for a highly-anticipated Kid's Choice Award, as well.

Braun gets a Michael Jackson Grammy Shelf on The Jollity Scale, based on his trophy case alone.

Theme Song - Sure Shot. Track #1 on the 1994 Beastie Boys album, Ill Communication. He's got mad hits like he was Rod Carew.

Extra P., Bus Leagues Baseball
Name Quality (nicknames included)
- Name: Ryan Braun

Braun is a great name for a hitter. It’s also a great name for a shower shaver and an automatic coffee maker, but it’s an especially great name for a hitter. It implies brawn without being too blunt about it. This has also been a great few years for guys named Ryan, from Adams to Zimmerman. In all, not a flashy name, but very direct and effective, and that counts for something in this business.

And he’s Jewish, too. Take that, Eva.

The nickname “The Hebrew Hammer” is apt, as it references both Braun’s heritage and his Milwaukee-centric connection to Hank Aaron. But it is also essentially stolen. Just about every Jewish player who could lay some lumber has tried it on for size, from Hank Greenberg to Gabe Kapler, so I think it behooves us to try a little harder. The kid’s polite, and he hasn’t really made his mark yet, so I’ll let that one marinate. Unless that’s not kosher.

Name: 8 out of 10 potato latkes. Nickname: 5 out of 10 Hebrew National wieners.

Celebrity Equivalent
- The next big young thing? Check. Dark and dashing good looks? Check. A slightly confusing last name to pronounce? Check. Big round saucer eyes that are sort of pretty and yet sort of scary at the same time? Check. Legions of teenyboppers squealing over his every move? Check. Clearly, Ryan Braun IS . They even look alike. In fact, has anyone ever seen them in the same room together? I'm just saying...

Camp Tiger Claw, Walkoff Walk
Intensity of Self vs. Intensity of Devotees; Corrolaries and Reflexiveness
- It's hard to tell whether or not Ryan Braun is intense. Look at this quote about last weekend's series against the Red Sox for example:

"I almost felt like this series, we didn't expect to win. We were competing; I know everybody tried hard. But it's not about trying hard. You've got to expect to win."

So by including himself is he a self-incriminating slacker, or is he trying to use the quote as harbinger of change in the team's intensity level? Who the fuck knows? Well Matlock would, but he's not real. Matlock knew everything. You'd think you had it all figured out, then he'd cross examine you in a grey seersucker jacket and next thing you know you're basically confessing on the stand. He was awesome. Anyway, I'll give Braun credit for only the factory installed intensity that it requires to be a successful pro ball player. Nothing extra.

On the other hand, these people threw a birthday party for Ryan Braun even though he wasn't there and they don't know him. According to director Roxyannee, "We were all drunk, and shortly after this I ended up on the floor with the ice cream." Wild.

Ryan Braun has the intensity of a green grape, while his fans have the intensity of fresh pineapple.

Hardness Scale (Like the Mohs Hardness Scale but with more Tuffy)
- Ryan Braun is a hulk of a man whose range of motion can only be measured with microscopic tools. He lacks a certain sophistication (having attended the University of Miami for the girls) and subtlety. However, the man can flatten a baseball into two dimensions with one swing.

Therefore, for Tuffy's Hardness Scale to be effective, we must recalibrate it to measure the hardness of a golem.

This golem's clay has not fully set yet, allowing a certain softness. Therefore, at his tender age, Tuffy's Hardness Scale rates Ryan Braun at a 5.7. However, when he dries fully in a year or so, measuring him again will likely yield a higher number as long as Ned Yost keeps shoving those slips of paper in Ryan's mouth that simply state, "Hit a home run."

(By the way, someone should tell Ryan that .)

Horoscope (Date of Birth: November 17th, 1983) - Ryan Bruan is a Scorpio.

Unlike his half-sister, Robin, he has turned his back on Port Charles to pursue his fame and fortune in Milwaukee. However, much like all the other Scorpios, he will be called back home to take over the role of police chief when Robin goes missing after a Doctors Without Borders mission to Ghana in 2011.

He will find love with a beautiful tribeswoman come to Port Charles to tell him of Robin's abduction, ferret out that Robin has not been kidnapped but instead run off to join an outer space brothel, and discover the perfect bat while lost in a desolate area of Ghana in a very special episode of his life. He will use this bat in a comeback in 2013 to win the World Series for the Las Vegas Wynns.


Jack Cobra, The Cobra Brigade
Neighbor Quotient
- I've recently moved into a beautiful new house with my girlfriend and one of my main responsibilities is to keep the lawn looking nice. That’s not really a problem for me since I enjoy mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, being out in the sun, etc. The problem is that at 8 am and 8 pm every day my neighbor has automatic sprinklers that turn on to water his grass. Rain or shine. Since I'm not willing to put in the effort, or the money, to install a sprinkler system in my new lawn, I'm left looking at my neighbors pristine, beautiful, plush, green grass every day when I pull my car out of the garage. It pisses me off to no end. I spend hours on our lawn and it looks ok. He has automatic sprinklers and his lawn looks impeccable. It's nearly to the point where I'm thinking of buying a dog so said dog can deposit some samples on his lawn.

Nevertheless, that's how I feel about Ryan Braun. As a Cubs fan I'm supposed to have a dislike for the Brewers but I especially hate Braun. HATE. He has too much talent too early in his career, he plays hard and he always seems to kill the Cubs. Is it wrong to wish that the Cubs would just bean him every time he came up to the plate? I think that if I lived a street over (in the AL) I would really appreciate Braun but since he's right next door to me I'm just imagining the day that I will snap and set his lawn on fire. Rating: -666 out of 10... for no good reason.

Scrappiness - He hits, he runs, he dives, he steals, damn it... I'm tired of talking about the guy already. He's scrappy even though I hate to admit it. Rating: 9 out of 10.

Jon Pyle, Pyle of List
Hotness and SMI
- Let’s not beat around the bush. Ryan Braun is hot. It doesn’t take someone with a PhD in the study of temperature to figure that out. I would write more, but I’m oddly transfixed by the ratio between his boy next door good looks and the lack of sexy pictures circulating the internet. Frankly, I don’t want to live in a world where it’s easier to find pictures of a washed-up celebrity’s vagina or girls eating excrement than a good picture of a damn-good looking man like Braun. That’s not the America I know. So please, for the love of all things holy, take some glamour shots at a local mall Ry-Ry.

Cap’n Braun scores a Jon Stewart on the Sexy Man Index (SMI).

While not jaw-droppingly attractive at first glance, both Stewart and Braun get better looking the longer you stare at their pictures and the more acquainted you are with their work. Like the overachieving Jewish kid that lives down the street, he has a wholesome quality which only adds accelerant to your forbidden inter-faith obsession.

So there you have it. Check back two Fridays from now for another edition of Voodoo Sabermetrics!


Voodoo Sabermetrics: Ken Griffey, Jr.

The Voodoo Sabermetrics of Ken Griffey, Jr.
Welcome to our fourth edition of Voodoo Sabermetrics. This week's subject is one we are all familiar with. A baseball staple of not only [some of] our childhoods, but a constant into our adulthoods, as well... except that one time he was injured for his entire career.

Ladies and gentlemen, the video game, the candy bar, the family man, The Natural.

Sooze, Babes Love Baseball
- Junior's jollity officially began when he was selected with the first overall pick of the 1987 amateur draft by the Seattle Mariners based on eventuality, and it hasn't stopped yet. He's remained up-beat throughout his 21-year career, despite landing on the DL more times than anyone could possibly keep track of. (See Tuffy's Hardness Scale.) Just a few homers away from 600 career bombs, he's smiling all the way to the retirement home.

Griffey gets a on the jolliness scale. So good, they don't even make them anymore.

Theme Song - You know what makes Ken Griffey Jr. happy? Wheaties. Naturally, his theme song is Milk and Cereal, an unreleased song by G. Love and the Special Sauce.

Extra P., Bus Leagues Baseball
Name Quality (nicknames included)
- Name: Ken Griffey. Junior. I’ve never been a big fan of giving your kid the exact same name and then slapping a “Junior” on it. It smacks of egotism (aw, crap. Now my numbers with white, working-class Americans just went to Obama levels). You know what makes it worse? His true, actual name is George Kenneth Griffey, Jr. It’s a thoroughly confusing name – George Kenneth Griffey is an accountant. Ken Griffey, Jr. is a stock-car driver. Neither of them is a baseball player. I’m-a confoose.

The nicknames are every bit as bland. “The Natural” (I don’t recall him taking out any light stanchions recently), “The Kid” (not for a good decade, pal), and “Junior”. I feel that “Junior” cannot simultaneously be a nickname and a suffix.

I don’t mean to go all on you here, but is Mr. Griffey aware that he is black? He has all five (or is it six?) tools, and nobody could come up with a more fearsome nickname? For shame.

Name: 2 out of 10, Nicknames: 1 out of 10

Lizzy, BLB and amNew York's Game Face
- "I had no idea he was even still playing... isn't he like 48 years old?"

Hardness Scale (Like the Mohs Hardness Scale but with more Tuffy)
- Griffey has played under 100 games per season (on average) since 2001. He's had surgeries to set bones and reattach hamstrings, strained his groin numerous times, and been 'scoped more than a WWII submarine movie. Throughout it all, Griffey has shown a strong commitment to avoiding any kind of offseason program that cannot be captured with his TiVo.

On the Tuffy's Hardness Scale of 1-10, Ken Griffey, Jr. ranks at 1.4. This is the same rating as Laffy Taffy. Laffy Taffy can hold up forever on the shelf at room temperature, but it will shatter into a thousand pieces if dropped in the cold or bent without careful stretching first.

Horoscope (Date of Birth: November 21st, 1969) - Griffey's star sign happens to be a Scorpio (The Scorpion) just barely; he makes the cutoff by the skin of his teeth. (By the way, a wager for Griffey's next injury to be "teeth skin pull" can be had at 10,000-1 at certain disreputable sports books.)

However, Scorpios are known for their strength, resiliency, and fortitude while those with the sign after Scorpio, Sagittarius (The Archer), are carefree, hedonistic, and more concerned with the good life than conquering challenges or exceeding goals. Therefore, Ken Griffey, Jr, must be this:

A scorpion shot by an arrow. Tough luck, Kid Griffey.

Jack Cobra, The Cobra Brigade
Neighbor Quotient
- It's important to be a good Father and Ken Griffey, Jr. seems to be just that as he's always tried to include his three children whether it be by bringing them to the ballpark or by changing his jersey number to honor them. I imagine I wouldn't be too far off in thinking that you could find Griffey in his backyard playing catch with his sons a few times a week while he's teaching them how to mow the grass and barbeque in his spare time. Good Dad's make good neighbors and Griffey is just that. Rating: 400 out of 10.

Scrappiness - When a guy gets continually called out for playing too hard at the beginning of the career I have to believe the Scrappy just might be his middle name. While Griffey has/had all the talent in the world you would still see him diving for balls, climbing walls to steal homers and sliding into home for the winning run in an important playoff game. While some think that Griffey's attitude in Cincy has been less than desireable, he has given his all on the field. Rating: 8 out of 10.

Jon Pyle, Pyle of List
Hotness and SMI
- The problem with the hotness of Ken Griffey Jr. lies with overexposure. Two major assets to hotness are mystery and novelty. Studies show that if people have never seen you before and know nothing of your background, you’re 37% hotter. This is why Helen of Troy must be played by an unknown. But, Ol’ Grif has been around far too long to retain any of those qualities. He’s familiar and predictable.

In the first stage of his career with the Mariners, he improved when he was supposed to and peaked at the right age, winning an MVP award that seemed preordained when he signed with the Mariners in ’87. In the second stage with the Reds, he was oft-injured but a solid contributor to his team and his skills declined with advancing age, unlike many steroid era wonders. Basically, Ken Griffey Jr. is boring, which is practically an antonym to hot.

Junior scores a Dr. Frasier Crane on the Sexy Man Index.

The exact same after 20 years and a major employment change, he’s still attractive. But his hotness and appeal are trumped by the warm and comforting, yet distinctly not sexy glow of familiarity.

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


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
- 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.

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.

- 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