Voodoo Sabermetrics reminds us that our love for the team includes our love of individual players. We usually have a favorite superstar hitter or pitcher or both. But what about those guys that you just… like? Maybe someone who pinch hits or steals a base now and then. Maybe an aging vet who is like an extra coach in the dugout. Rather than judge everyone by their stats, we’re going to use unique categories and scoring methods to check out baseball’s characters.
Our High Voodoo Council are:
Jack Cobra from 3manlift.com Neighbor Quotient and Scrappiness
Brian from One More Dying Quail Clutchness and Intimidation
Sooze from Babes Love Baseball Jollyness, Hottness, and Behavior
TC from Mr. Thursday’s Curious Mechanism Appearance and Quotability
Extra P. from The Extrapolater Name Quality (including nicknames)
We’re going with a bit of an abbreviated lineup on today’s feature. Our target elicited a great deal of apathy in some of our panel, but others love him to death. That’s exactly the kind of player Voodoo Sabermetrics is all about. Though he signed a contract with the Oakland A’s and is in the minors right now, this player is a Red Sock at heart, having played college ball at Providence and spending most of his career either in Pawtucket or Boston.
Name – This may surprise you, but I think Lou Merloni is a great name. It really rolls off the tongue. It lent itself really well to the drawn out “Loouuuuu” chant that Lou-lovers delight in. In addition, the makers of Red Sox wines really missed out on a golden opportunity for a cult classic in Lou Merlot-ni.
His nickname seems to be the pretty generic “Sweet Lou”. When the name is also applied to Lou Pinella, it might be time to get a new nickname.
Give him a 5 out of 10.
Appearance: Lou Merloni is a white professional baseball player with short dark hair and a goatee. I’m going to repeat that because, in the words of Lewis Black, it bears repeating: a white baseball player, with a goatee. Among white baseball players, the glory and power of the Eighties big league moustache has been bastardized as the shit-ugly goatee of the Nineties and Oughts. You can’t find porn on the internet as fast as you can find white players with goatees.
Lou Merloni’s appearance is drinking the 0.5% alcohol of Kaliber near beer.
Quotability: There have been more things said about Lou than said of him. Most notably, perhaps, is the terming of the phrase “Merloni Shuttle”, which describes the act of going from the Red Sox Triple-A team in Pawtucket, to Boston, and back. Merloni did this so many times, it was said he “could drive to Pawtucket blindfolded.”
The only notable quotations by Merloni come from a feud with Ben Affleck, who has a skull of a size that can only be described as Bondsian. Ben Of-the-Dome apparently took to teasing Merloni on Boston radio one day, calling him a mockery. Merloni responds, of Affleck: “‘Mockery? A mockery is his last four movies, that’s a mockery, I’ve seen them… he’s got enough issues to worry about.” Now, this gets points for a decent-to-good ribbing of a celebrity, but serious loss of points for openly implying having seen Affleck’s last four movies.
Merloni’s chattering mouth can be dulled even further by drinking the impossible-to-find Aldaris Porteris, at 6.8%
Hottness – Lou Merloni, ranked on a hotness scale from George Washington to George Clooney, finds himself near the top at Jake Gyllenhall. That’s pretty hot. I’d give
it to him a 7 out of 10 for hotness, taking into consideration he is one of the original Dirt Dogs. In 2007, he joined one of the sexiest rosters in baseball, (outside of Bobby Kielty) the Oakland Athletics.
Behavior – He was a replacement player during the ’94 strike, so that’s not cool. Considering he was a scab during the strike, I’d give Merloni a “guarded” ranking on the Homeland Security Terror Alert scale. He’s otherwise pretty harmless.
Neighbor Quotient – I can actually imagine looking out my backdoor and
seeing Lou grilling up some hot dogs and burgers before having a
neighborhood cookout. You need your house painted? Call Lou – 9 out of 10
Scrappiness – While his game may scream ‘crappiness’, his name screams
‘scrappiness’. In the end they cancel each other out. – 5 out of 10.
Clutchness – As previously stated by The GNUru, “clutch” play can be viewed on many different levels. The level we most often consider is the one generally occupied by David Ortiz, where Big Papi need only THINK of hitting a game-winning homerun (or a broken bat single, if he deems the pitcher worthy of his mercy) and it shall be so. Needless to say, this is an area reserved solely for Gods.
Where is Lou Merloni? About seven levels below.
To steal from The GNUru once again, the definition of clutch is “one’s level of reliability when it counts.” Aside from Pedro Martinez, what Red Sox player was more reliable than Lou Merloni? He was always willing to “take one for the team”, get on the “Merloni Shuttle” and head back down to Pawtucket. Up, down, up, down – that was Lou Merloni’s life from 1998-2003, and it was utterly reliable. He was like a waitress that greets your newly empty drink glass with a refill, creating a glorious revolving door effect. You don’t appreciate that waitress until you get one that constantly peppers you with fresh drinks or one that brings you a glass of water before disappearing for three hours, just like we didn’t really appreciate how valuable Lou Merloni was until he was gone. To me, that’s clutch (I think you’ll agree, if you can make any sense of those ramblings whatsoever.)
On a scale of 1-10, we’ll put Lou Merloni’s clutchness at a 3. Do not underestimate the power of the Merloni Shuttle.
Intimidation Factor – Personally, Lou Merloni was not an intimidating presence. 5’10″, 194 pounds – the biggest thing he has going for him is that he’s from Framingham, MA, and I’m not even sure how much that counts for.
No, Lou Merloni’s intimidation factor was built on one thing, and one thing only: the chants of his minions. Other Red Sox players were hailed when they came to bat – Dwight Evans and Kevin Youkilis among them – but they were either everyday players (Evans) or had promising careers ahead of them (Youkilis). Lou Merloni was a substitute, a nobody, a kid from down the street who basically boasted a 35,000 person posse every time he played at Fenway Park. You say Lou Merloni lacked an intimidating presence? I say put yourself in the shoes of a pitcher forced to stand on the mound through a long, loud “LOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU” chant – I think you’ll change your tune soon enough.
Again, scale of 1-10: 5.3. Intimidating enough to strike fear in the heart of many a major league pitcher.
What else can we say about Lou Merloni? He’s a hometown cult hero, loved to an irrational extreme by a vocal minority. And Sooze wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating crackers, so he’s a pretty lucky dude, all things considered. The worst thing we can say about him was that he was a scab, which is pretty bad, but he’s otherwise a decent guy, so we’re taking the bad with the good. If you’re still mad at him – look – he played santa while signing autographs for kids.
Sweet Lou, you’re alright in our book.