Toward the end, Stephen Dubner talks to Johnnie LeMaster, the former San Francisco Giants infielder who might be the worst regular balllplayer in Major League history. He was a first-round draft pick in 1973 and didn't come close to the billing. Also, according to the podcast, the Kentucky native got on the fans' bad side by saying something about homosexuality (he didn't specify) that clashed with the more commonly held viewpoints in San Francisco.
So the fans went at him for weeks. LeMaster tried shrugging it off, until his wife gave him the idea to combat the boos in a pretty creative way:
"The next day I went in and talked to our equipment manager. I said, 'Make me a jersey up with my number on it, and instead of my name, LeMaster, put 'Boo' on the back of it. And it hung in my locker for a couple of weeks, and then I finally got enough nerve to put it on and wear it in a game. But I only got to wear it for the top half of the first inning.
"After the game, there was a letter laying on my chair in front of my locker. My general manager had fined me $500 for being out of uniform. But here's the whole thing about it -- the fans loved it, the media loved it, it got the fans off my back, and it got the media off my back.
Would this work for Adam Dunn? Everybody liked it when he saluted the crowd after a single. But just like that hat-tipped, it would probably only change the conversation for a day.
Christian Marrero Reading Room
Good news for Robin Ventura and the White Sox -- they have somebody to share the "oddball managerial choice" spotlight with. The St. Louis Cardinals replaced Tony La Russa (5,097 games managed) with Mike Matheny (zero games managed -- anywhere). Like Ventura, Matheny is one of those guys that was always pegged as a clubhouse leader and possible eventual manager, and like Ventura, nobody thought it would happen so suddenly.
With the Matheny hiring, Joe McEwing will remain the new White Sox third-base coach. Grindy.
Weird headline, because the article asks how Ventura plans to go about gaining credibility in a hurry. He and
The Puppetmaster!!! Buddy Bell answer it to the best of their abilities.
So what went on at the organizational meetings last week? James has the transcript.
Ken Rosenthal says the prodigal, big-jawed son could be high on Texas' list if they're not able to re-sign C.J. Wilson.
Mark Gonzales see three paths Kenny Williams can follow this offseason, and the first one includes getting back "a bona fide leadoff man" in a trade. Although he didn't suggest that Juan Pierre was one, so I'm willing to accept this more than the other assessments.
More from Rosenthal, who says the new collective bargaining agreement is on track to be finalized this week.
The GM meetings begin Tuesday, so here's Kenny Williams being as Kenny Williams as possible: