I am, as usual, behind the times with my game playing, since I tend to wait until games go on sale before I buy them. Recently I’ve been playing a lot of MLB 2k10, kicking some ass playing first base for the Red Sox.
The game tries to capture the feel of being at the park, so in addition to random crowd cheers and jeers, you can often hear individual fans yelling at players.
Batting as I do right in front of Kevin Youkilis, I am often on base during his at bats, and get to listen to the crowd cheer/razz him. The various things they shout are limited, so it took only a game or two before I heard them all. The cheers are pretty generic, but some of the razzing is pretty good–my favorite is “You’re killing it softly, Kevin!”
Youkilis was famously dubbed “The Greek God of Walks” in the book Moneyball (despite not actually being Greek,) and a lot of the things the crowd shouts at him in MLB 2k10 references this. When playing on the road, the crowd will razz him with “They sure don’t call you the Greek God of Hits, do they Kevin?” which isn’t all that creative, but at least makes sense.
What does not make much sense, however, is this particular jeer I’ve heard over and over again: “Greek God of Walks, you must have been last in line when they were passing them out!”
It took me awhile to even put together what the dude was saying, since even when I figured out all the words, I still couldn’t quite parse it. Handing what out? Divine portfolios? Is the guy trying to say that of all the things to be Greek God of, walks was the worst possible one? Just limiting the options to baseball, I can think of a bunch that would be way worse. For instance, the Greek God of Striking Out. The Greek God of Grounding Into a Double Play. The Greek God of Errors–the list goes on.
Is he trying to say that of all the good offensive things to be Greek God of, walks is the worst? In this case he might be almost right. Of all the “good” outcomes of an at-bat, drawing a walk is behind hitting a home run, triple, double, or single (turns out, a walk is not quite as good as a hit, generally speaking. Roughly, that’s because three singles will almost always score a run, while three walks only loads the bases.) But I’d argue it’s still ahead of getting hit by a pitch, and executing a sacrifice bunt.
But even so, there are so many much worse things that can happen during an at bat, it’s silly to denigrate taking a walk as “least good of all the good things.” You wouldn’t make fun of a pitcher dubbed “The Greek God of Ground Ball Outs” just because he doesn’t strike everybody out, would you?
Maybe he means “of all the Greek Gods we know of, being the Greek God of Walks would be the worst”? Ok, sure. If we’re imagining Youk taking his place among the 12 Olympians, maybe he ranks last. But I’ll tell you what. As soon as Ares or Zeus starts playing baseball, maybe I’ll agree with making fun of Youk for having such a crappy divine portfolio compared to those guys. Until then, I think it’s a little stupid.
Anyhow, as far as jeers go, it was much more fun back when I batted right in front of Marco Scutaro. “Scoot on back to the dugout!” and “Marco! Strike-out-ero!” were my favorites then.