Nationals Baseball: I'm the best!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I'm the best!

I'll be off watching basketball today but I did want to chime in on Jayson Werth's seemingly idiotic statement. PULL QUOTE!
“Because it doesn’t work both ways,” Werth said. “Just because you can do something else doesn’t mean you can hit. If you can hit, you can do anything. Because it’s the hardest thing to do. There’s nothing harder. I can bake a cake. I could figure out a way to do algorithms. But a guy that knows how to do algorithms could never hit. It’s literally the hardest thing to do. If you can do the hardest thing, you can do anything else.” 
It's like the ultimate "you can't just say things" example. To be overly fair, I'm not quite sure Werth is wrong because I'm not quite sure what he's saying. I mean I'm pretty sure what he's saying makes him out to be a moron (Grade B) but I like to give the benefit of the doubt.

So he could be saying "Hitting a baseball at the major league level is extremely hard. It involves a combination of innate talent and hard work that isn't really replicated in other facets of life, even within the realm of sports. Therefore if I can master this difficult combination, I should be able to take on any task with a modicum of success" Of course that isn't true. Doing elite level work in any facet of life takes that combination of innate talent and hard work, but at least in this interpretation his overall theme is more "if I can do this I can do anything". That's something people say after doing anything hard, like finishing a marathon. It's a nice sentiment that we don't jump on other people for, so why jump on Jayson?

Of course that's reading into his words to cut him some slack. If you just take what he said at face value then what he is saying is "Hitting a baseball at the major league level is the hardest thing to do. I can do anything you can do because whatever that crap is, it's a piece of cake compared to this. I'm so great!".  Ugh. Great guy. Anyway this falls apart because his comparison is flawed. His comparison is "hitting a baseball at the major league level" against "baking a cake" or "doing algorithms"; or in other words "elite" vs "mundane" vs "solid HS level". A better comparison would be "hitting a baseball at the major league level" vs "winning a James Beard award for being a pastry chef" or "teaching theoretical mathematics at an Ivy League university".  I'm going to go out on a limb and say Jayson Werth can't do either of those things, even spotted the 20+ years he's spent learning to hit.

And if you go the other way, reducing "hitting a baseball" to say Little League level, you come to the title of this piece. Let's do a little comparison shall we?

Me          Action               Werth
Yes        Hit Baseball            Yes
Yes        Bake Cake             Maybe
Yes    "Do Algorithms" Presumably Not

I'm already better than Jayson Werth. Forget you, beardo! I'm the new standard. Deal with it.


erika said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eric said...

Er, oops, posted under my wife's account.... Here it is again:

Sounds like the algorithm comment burned a little, eh Harper? ;)

I think Werth (and famous ballplayers in general) probably catches more crap than most of us can dream of. Since we're judging character here, I'll just say, he was very friendly to my son and I during a brief encounter at NatsFest *and* he confirmed he's into the Grateful Dead, so I'll give him a pass on this one.

cass said...

I noticed that quote too and shook my head.

Ian Desmond, in an earlier article, said that batting average with runners in scoring position was an indication of character. That scared me more cause I imagined Desmond (often cited as a leader on the team) treating a teammate as lazy because they had a fluky bad year with RISP.

Not a huge hoops fan myself. I'll be watching some of the World T20 cricket matches this weekend cause I've been sucked into that other bat and ball game from across the pond.

Harper said...

Harper - I'm sure he's nice... well I'm not sure, I've never met him, but I have no real reason to believe he's a jerk or stupid or anything. People seem to like him. Then again, I have heard recently that he's into the Dead so that's a big warning sign. JAM BANDS!

Just having some fun with a dumb comment, which we all make time to time.

Harper said...

cass - basically Desmond was calling out Werth then. But Werth is the best because he hits baseballs. But he's the worst because he doesn't do it with men on base. But he's the best because he hits them anyway. But he's the worst... uh oh I'm in a bad logic spiral.

Chinatown Express said...

If hitting a ball good guaranteed an ability to do other things good too (h/t Zoolander), we wouldn't have fat sluggers getting shifted to 1B or DH. Instead, the best hitting would play SS or P because . . . hitting.

tl;dr: Werth just says things.

Eric said...

Harper - I hear ya, and I don't actually think it's fair to use my example to suggest that Werth is a nice guy through and through. Just having fun with your fun.

I honestly can't stand most jam bands...except the GD if you insist on calling them that ;).

Sirc said...

I was an awesome hitter in high school. I mean, I didn't have scouts come to watch me and not a single scholarship offer ever came up, but I hit .410 senior year. So 25 years ago I was good at doing the hardest thing there is to do.

Why the hell did I go to college and medical school? Apparently anyone can repair a tendon tear.

"Literally the hardest thing to do."


For my money it's getting dogs top stop eating poo. Hardest thing to do ever.

JWLumley said...

Fact: Bears eat beets. Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica.

Additional fact: Getting a small child to do anything you want them to do, when they don't want to do it is literally the hardest thing in the world to do, slightly ahead of figure out what a woman is thinking. Hitting a baseball is #436.

Zimmerman11 said...

“I took some jujitsu classes for a while in my life,” Werth said. “My Brazilian instructor would say, ‘For every counter, there’s a counter. And a counter. And a counter. And a counter.’ I was like, ‘Oh, it’s like hitting. This is great!’ I really got it.”

Jayson Werth BJJ black belt, poker pro, betty crocker, kinesiologist nobel prize winnner for doing algorithms. Glad he's on our team.. That contract's not looking so bad now!!!

Of course, if he could literally do anything, isn't it a little selfish of him to decide to waste his talent playing baseball? It's trite and meaningless compared to curing cancer or ending world hunger.

Donald said...

Dear Mr. Werth, I totally disagree. Hitting a ball isn't the hardest thing. Catching it is.
Aroldis Chapman

JQuest said...

Is this Werth's explanation for Espinosa vs Rendon? Rendon can hit and we can probably teach him to do everything else that he needs to do to be successful if he's willing to put in the time to learn. Espinosa can't hit so no matter how much other crap he can do he's less valuable. I'm not sure I disagree when applied in this limited context.

Bjd1207 said...

Beachy down for the season now too. Hate to see injuries to such young, promising guys, but does make the East a bit easier for the Nats.

Dunno if it'd be off topic but I'd like to see a post on how far back these injuries set the Braves rotation. Now it's Teheran, Santana,...Wood?...

Zimmerman11 said...

Bjd1207 just cursed our season. You know, if you believe in that kinda thing.

Anonymous said...

Here's what Werth is really saying: "I make $18MM a year." Most CEOs don't even come close. And name a baker or algorithm writer who does. This is this winner-take-all world. Werth is a winner AND he's coming off a good year. It's gone to his shallow, two-dimensional head.

Whack him hard, Harper. This is toxic stuff. It's the first sign that Davy's departure might actually hurt the club.

Anonymous said...

^Anon, because you know, Werth clearly spends his free time on t3h Nats Blogz.

Froggy said...

Do you 'do' algorithms or use them? Little help here...

Eric said...

"Do you 'do' algorithms or use them? Little help here..."

Speaking for myself, I write them to do stuff for me (or the user on the Web site I'm developing).

I really think to some extent Werth was taking a swipe at analysts who spend their time critiquing ballplayers for a living (perhaps using stats derived from algorithms?). Might even have been a subtle defense of, say, Espinosa, who's caught a *ton* of flack lately (understandably, I'd say, but still).

On that note, JQuest, I think it's telling that Walters was just sent down, despite strong offense this spring, *specifically* because of poor defense. I think there's a message in there regarding Espinosa's ability to survive this long.

Kenny B. said...

Poorly phrased comment, but I think Harper's charitable interpretation is where he meant to go. And supposedly American athletes, when asked the hardest thing to do in all of sports, most often say "hit a baseball." So there's that.

So I believe that if you limit his comment as applying only to sports or to baseball, he may be largely right. Hitting at the major league level is remarkably difficult. As Ken Burns would say, even the greatest in history fail around 70% of the time.

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