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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Defining Dustyfication

Yesterday on Hire Jim Essian, the subject of Dustyfication was broached. Now, while Dustyfication is, in principle, a known concept to all Cubs and Giants fans, a firm definition has never been compiled. While I do not, in fact, pretend to be an authority capable of creating a concrete defintion, I should like to try.

Therefore, here is my best effort:

Dustyfication (n.)- the process of eroding a team's talent through a combination of the infusion of inferior veteran talent and inept in-game management, resulting in an aging team incapable of fundamentally sound play and a hopeless situation.

Signs that your team may be being Dustyfied:

- Do you have a surplus of 2nd baseman? Are any of them good?
If the answer to the first question is yes, and the answer to the second question is no, you may very well be Dustyfied.

-Are capable, young players left rotting on the bench/in the minors while veteran players who have never started consistently in their major league career are placed in your every day lineup? Typically in the leadoff spot?
Dustyfication, my friend.

- Are talented, power armed pitchers with very little major league experience who are unused to bearing large loads of innings left out to throw 120 pitches nearly every start, resulting in arm trouble for nearly every one of them, barring those with superhuman Venezualan genetic material?

- Has your team taken a lackadaisical attitude toward defense, baserunning, and winning in general resulting in high numbers of errors and men picked off base while win totals decline?

-Is every question your manager is asked about his team's poor play/one player's struggles to show anything resembling plate discipline/a young player rotting on the bench answered with an anecdote about playing with Hank Aaron and nonsensical ramblings about "clogging bases" and overuse of the word "dude"?
You bet your ass you've been Dustyfied.

- Is your manager this guy?

At this point, Dustyfication is inevitable.

Now, what prompted this article was the following tiny little candy nougat found on the Reds website: Jerry Hairston Jr. has been called up the Reds. Now that means that Baker has managed to allow four former Cubs from his tenure on the North Side to become members of the Reds active roster: Corey Patterson, Kent Mercker, Paul Bako, and now Jerry Hairston Jr. Now, the article claims the Reds called up Hairston for, and I quote, "pop". Now, no one has ever confirmed the cut off for "pop" in the majors, but I'd have to believe a guy with a career slugging percentage of .357 (and had a .289 % last year) does not qualify. I'm sure the "pop" label is the work of Dusty himself, who also frequently talked about Neifi Perez's "pop". You know who has "pop", Dusty? Jay Bruce, your top prospect with the .561 slugging percentage in AAA. The one you sent to the minors in favor of Korey Patterson, the guy with the .270 OBP that you've put in the leadoff spot 15 times.

Now, we were the victims of Dustyfication from 2003-2006. Last year, Lou Piniella spent April, May, and June de-Dustyfying the roster, and the result has been a 77-54 record since last June, including this year's 14-6 start. Dusty's Reds currently sit at 8-12 and are losing to the Dodgers as I write this article.

There you have it Dustyfication, it hurts, but God is it funny to see it inflicted on some other poor sonsabitch's baseball team.

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