Good Ol’ Days!!!

I’m a big fan of Jeff Sackmann’s Milwaukee Brewers Blog Party. From Jeff’s own posts and his Minor League Splits work, to the meanderings of sidekick Battlekow, right down to Marty McSuperfly’s screenname (which admittedly could be made better by adding Snuka to the end), I love it. I even read all the diaries from the regular posters and, before I started blogging at MVN, even started a few diary threads of my own.
One such diary recently made me ponder a phenomena that probably happens a lot amongst the depressed fans of long-mediocre sports franchises — I know it has happened amongst Brewer fans in many different ways.
First, let’s consider what this post was asking: would Scott Podsednik be a good fit with the 2007 Brewers? Regardless of what we would have to give Kenny Williams for Scotty-Po (probably not much, actually), or if this is possible, it a dumb idea. Podsy posted a -9.9 VORP in 2006 and played below average defense (look here and here) . . . in LF!!! That’s a two-way abomination. To boot, he stole bases at a 68% clip, and isn’t getting any younger. I could go on and on about OBP and all that, but I’m afraid I’ll digress further from my original idea. It should be clear, to any discerning clan that can at least momentarily refrain from dillusional nostalgia that Podsednik is a bad player, and that now team building to contend for the next decade should even consider, even for the price of a rancid olive pit.
And therein lies the center of my observation: nostalgia is blinding.
Whenever there is a question about the future, when something is unsure, when we don’t know if the team will contend, we at seek some comfort in the successes of yore. Back when Ken Griffey, Jr was about to be traded, and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel sports writer D. Orlando Ledbetter [completely misunderstood the realm of possibility and] lobbied for the Brewers to make a run at acquiring the superstar, he was unable to let go of even Jeromy Burnitz, dubbing him “untouchable” along with Geoff Jenkins. JEROMY BURNITZ people. Yeah, the guy was in the midst of a couple of the finest offensive seasons in franchise history, but he was also was one of the only bright spots for the Brewers in those years, which were dismal to say the least, during which we heralded Jeff D’Amico. That fact that he was one of the only bright spots probably means that Ledbetter’s perception of him was a bit skewed at the time. In 2003 Scott Podsednik turned in pretty good year and finished runner up in the NL Rookie of the Year voting (to the beloved Dontrelle Willis). 2003 was an awful year (68-94) for the team, following the worst year in franchise history (a 56-106 record in 2002). It was a dark time in Milwaukee. Scotty-Po alone fought against the forces of evil. He did so by stealing bases, and being real fast-like in the outer-field. He was a rabbit. Rabbits are good.
I’m not saying that this guy represents the majority of Brewer fans on this issue (I hope he doesn’t). What am saying is that too often we get caught up in subjective analysis of players — what we see with our own eyes at the 20 or so games we’ve been at in the last couple of years — what we remember from seasons long ago. If we can’t even look at the stats to see that Scott Podsednik was one of the worst regular position players in the Major Leagues in 2006, and that we have at least five OF who are better than him on our 40-man roster currently (six if you count Bill Hall as an OF already, which we probably should), then what can we expect of our GMs, managers, and sport writers? What would happen if Doug Melvin just said, “We need a centerfielder. Let’s see, who’s good? Remember that Podsednik guy? He was pretty good. He must still be the same old guy from the good old days. Good ol’ days!!!” Except the good old days sucked. Hard. If anything, we should run as far from them as possible. It can’t possibly hurt us.

Quantcast