Recently in End Of Decade Personality Compendium Infocaps Category

infocaps.jpgThe imminent end of this decade has already been fodder for about 10,000 blog posts, magazine articles and TV shows. Well, far be it from Walkoff Wallk to let an easy angle like that pass us by. Starting yesterday and running through tomorry, we're presenting The Walkoff Walk End Of Decade Personality Compendium Infocaps.

Divided alphabetically between Kris, Rob and Drew, the Infocaps are our choices for the member of each organization who most defined them during this decade. Often it's the best player, but not always. We hope to inspire reflection, debate and stick a finger in your sister's eye for selecting The 25th Hour as her favorite movie of the decade. Ooohhhh, it captured the zeitgeist of post-9/11 New York. Richie Tenenbaum is unimpressed.

On with the listicle:

Philadelphia Phillies: Jimmy Rollins.

He certainly wasn't the best Phillie over the last decade, but he's certainly been the most visible. Winning questionably deserved MVP awards, talking glorious amounts of trash, and appealing to our basest instincts by teasing and taunting the Mets into a full-blooded feud, Jimmy Rollins serves as the face of the Phillies. His offensive emergence coincided with the teams ascent to their current World Series shoe-in status. (So did the arrival of Utley and Howard but hush.)

Runners-up: Pat Burrell, The Phanatic, Jared from Subway.

Pittsburgh Pirates: The Green Hitters Backdrop at PNC Park.

Pity the poor backdrop at PNC. Unable to soak in the gorgeous views of Pittsburgh's rivers and bridges, instead overseeing 10 years of abject baseball and row upon row of empty seats. Forced to watch Jason Bay kick the ball around just to his right and Craig Wilson's mullet flutter in the wind. But there's hope for our friend the green backdrop! Now the great and wondrous Andrew McCutchen marshals the area at his feet. Perhaps the next decade will treat his green skin with a little more kindness.

Runners-up: Jason Bay, Jack Wilson, the Primanti Brothers

San Diego Padres: Trevor Hoffman

What can I say about the all-time accumulator of one of sports most meaningless stats playing in one of the most indifferent markets in the league? The Padres started off the decade poorly, peaked in the middle, then finished off with a flourish of mediocrity. Hoffman was there nearly each step of the way, picking up saves and blasting his quads. Until his team needed him to nail down a save in extra innings of rare a one-game playoff, of course.

Runners-up: Brian Giles greasy skin, Tony Gwynn's stretched skin, skinless fish tacos.

San Francisco Giants: Barry Bonds.

Whether you think he's an asshole or merely a prick, Barry Bonds mastery of hitting baseballs is not up for debate. The word "porn" gets attached to everything on these here interwebs and rarely does it apply. Looking over Bonds' decade numbers makes me feel dirty and titillated in a way I didn't think anything tentacle-free could. From Big League Stew's own decade listicle, Bonds posted a .517 on base percentage for the decade. A 221 OPS+ for the decade. He slugged .714 for the decade. Bonds was intentionally walked 120 times &mdash in 2004, the same season he posted a 1.422 OPS.

Runners-up: Tim Lincecum, Jeff Kent, Orlando Cabrera, the guy in the kayak, Brian Sabean's shrink.

Seattle Mariners: Ichiro!

Safe to say this was a slam dunk. Not a normal, powerful slam dunk. The kind of dunk where you're running away from the rim and kind of knock it in sideways. It may look and feel like cheating. Ichiro hails from the land hyperbole forgot. His accomplishments are many, his detractors are few. (but vocal!) He's a baseball singularity and we're all better people for it.

Runners-up: Felix Hernandez, Jack Zduriencik & Bill Bavasi as different sides of the same coin.

St Louis Cardinals: Albert Pujols.

Speaking of slam dunks. Probably the best player in all of baseball over this time. I would list his eye-popping stats or his admirable work within the community here but I don't want this post to delve into NSFW territory so I'll keep the spitting in the ocean to a minimum.

Runners-up: Rick Ankiel, Scott Rolen, Orlando Cabrera.

Tampa Bay Rays: Carl Crawford.

The urge to award this Rocco Baldelli is understandably strong but I held off because Rocco's story is a tragic one while the Rays are mostly just pathetic. Mismanaged for nearly their entire lifespan, the Rays showed signs of life at the end of the decade with a surprise World Series berth. CC is one of the most talented players in baseball, showcasing all 5 tools as well as a neck tattoo scary enough to ensure he'll never court the blue haired Snowbird the owner of every team in Florida swears will fill the taxpayer-funded building he extorts from the local electorate.

Runners-up: Rocco Baldelli, Greg Vaughn, a thousand unsold tickets.

Texas Rangers: Alex Rodriguez

Because Michael Young is the kind of decent hitter that adds zero value. Because the ownership group of Tom Hicks and friends failed to realize paying A-Rod his endless riches meant Rick Helling ends up pitching 200 innings. Because his deal turned into Alfonso Soriano plus cash which turned into Armando Galarraga, Terrmel Sledge and Brad Wilkerson. Just Because.

Runners-up: Michael Young, Rafael Palmerio, Nolan Ryan's bucket of chaw

Toronto Blue Jays: Roy Halladay.

No matter how hard he tried, it wasn't until Roy Halladay was on his way OUT of Toronto that anybody gave a damn. A throwback to another era, the ultimate workman toiling away futilely against forces far beyond his control. The ballplayer we all want on our team, the quiet statesman we all wish would actually say something.

Runners-up: Carlos Delgado, Vernon Wells, a fart in the wind.

Washington Nationals: Youppi.

After soullessly jobbing the people of Montreal out of their team and soullessly plopping them into RFK and building a sleek 21st century ballpark that nary a soul dare enter, the Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos need to reflect on something soulful and good, rather than obese and mercinary. Youppi is all that is right with the world, and the empty $600 seats-for-lobbyists behind home plate point to what's wrong. Go on Youppi, shake your moneymaker for a moneyloser.

Runner-ups: A Zimmerman or Zimmermen, Adam Dunn, Jim Bowden.

infocaps.jpg

The imminent end of this decade has already been fodder for about 10,000 blog posts, magazine articles and TV shows. Well, far be it from Walkoff Wallk to let an easy angle like that pass us by. Starting yesterday and running through tomorry, we're presenting The Walkoff Walk End Of Decade Personality Compendium Infocaps.

Divided alphabetically between Kris, Rob and Drew, the Infocaps are our choices for the member of each organization who most defined them during this decade. Often it's the best player, but not always. We hope to inspire reflection, debate and stick a finger in your sister's eye for that horrid Best Twee Bands of the Decade blogpost she did.

On with the listicle:

Florida Marlins: Jeffrey Loria
A glorified art history dimwit, Loria is is probably more responsible for the disappearance of baseball in Montreal than he is deserving of credit of the Marlins' 2003 World Series win in just his second year of owning the team. Jeff took over the Miami franchise in 2002 and immediately began greasing palms and begging city officials to build him a cheesy new ballpark, which the taxpayers are currently building for him. While the Marlins have had some very talented hitters and pitchers in the 2000s, Loria's skinflint payroll has kept the team from hanging on to the players and succeeding as a team.

Runners-up: Miguel Cabrera, Jeff Conine, Owen Wilson,

Houston Astros: Lance Berkman
The hefty Houston first baseman smacked over 300 homers, collected over 1000 RBI, and posted a 148 OPS+ in the aughts to go along with his five All Star appearances in Albert Pujols' ginormous shadow, all while proselytizing for Christ to whomever will listen. Claims that his proper nickname is "The Big Puma" but any schmuck knows that only a doofus chooses his own nickname. You'll always be "Fat Elvis" to us, chubs.

Runners-up: Jesus, Brad Lidge, Roy Oswalt

Kansas City Royals: The Royalblogosphere
No other franchise has experienced such a dichotomy between the team on the field and the folks who write about 'em. Kansas City has spent the 2000s putting together overpriced and undertalented teams and having those players fall flat on their faces in an otherwise easy division. Meanwhile, their most ardent fans in the newspapers and baseballblogosphere posit some of the smartest ideas and write some of the most interesting columns. Rob Neyer, Rany Jazayerli, and Joe Posnanski (technically an Indians fan but he covered the Royals) could have done a far better job of assembling a successful team than GMs Dayton Moore and Allan Baird but, well, the Royals were so turned off by outside criticism that they banned Jazayerli from the ballpark.

Runners-up: David DeJesus, Yuniesky Betancat, Joe Randa

Los Angeles Angels of Angelheim: Troy Glaus
History has not been kind to the oft-injured third baseman but let's not forget how well he played for the Angels in the first half of the decade. Fella popped 150+ HR, 400+ RBI and a sexy 130 OPS+ in his last five years in Anaheim while playing a somewhat adventurous third base. His performance in the 2002 playoffs was notable: seven homers including three in the World Series; he was named the series MVP. A shoulder injury ended his Angels career after the 2004 season and he ended up playing shortstop for the Blue Jays and being named in the Mitchell Report. Guess which event was more disappointing.

Runners-up: Orlando Cabrera, Rally Monkey, Tim Salmon, John Lackey

Los Angeles Dodgers: Juan Pierre
Okay, so he only played one full season as the Dodgers starting center fielder, but with a $44 million contract, don't you think it should have been a bit more? Unfortunately, he got bumped out of center by Andruw Jones and then bumped out of left by Manny Ramirez, making the $44 million seem like a ridiculous amount of dough to waste on a fourth outfielder. But the 2000s will always be remembered as a failed decade for the Dodgers; they barely sniffed the World Series and fans can point a crooked finger at G.M. Ned Colletti for poor free agent deals with players like Pierre, Jones ($36 million) and Creampuff extraordinaire Jason Schmidt ($47 million). So consider Juan Pierre to be an easy target for my anti-Colletti sentiments, not unlike how Tommy Lasorda's Tweets are an easy target for, well, for my anti-Tommy Lasorda sentiments.

Runners-up: Eric Karros, Manny Ramirez, Jeff Kent

Milwaukee Brewers: Prince Fielder
Big Fella collected 158 tater tots and 443 RBI in just four full years as the Brewers starting first basegentleman, good for a 141 OPS+. Like Lance Berkman, he's been in Albert Pujols' shadow as a power-hitting 1B in the NL Central, but unlike Berkman, he's put up one of his franchise's best individual seasons in history. Look, Milwaukee might trade Prince tomorrow and all this will be for naught, but Fielder is on his way to being one of the Brewers' all time players, up there with Gorman Thomas and Robin Yount. The question is: will his career follow the Eddie Murray mold and continue to be productive or will his career follow the Cecil Fielder mold and find him passed out drunk on a casino floor at age 36?

Runners-up: CC Sabathia, Ben Sheets, Orlando Cabrera

Minnesota Twins: Johan Santana
It's not Johan's fault the Twins traded him to the Mets and it's not Johan's fault they didn't get much back in return. It is Santana's fault that a lot of Minnesota folk are sad now knowing that their franchise's best pitcher fled town before he could even record his 100th win. Still, with two Cy Young awards and 1300+ strikeouts (including 983 in his final four years) for the team, Johan Santana wins this one in a walk. Maybe if he'd been a starter and not a reliever in the 2002 playoffs, the Twins might have taken out the Angels in the ALCS and changed the course of history.

Runners-up: Corey Koskie, Joe Mauer, their seamstress, Orlando Cabrera

New York Mets: David Wright
Hits for power, hits for average, draws walks, snags grounders with aplomb, and personifies a franchise that is chockful of schadenfreude. In 2006, Wright signed a $55 million contract extension but flopped in the NLCS against the Cardinals. In 2007, Wright finished fourth in the MVP voting and hit .352 with 6 homers in September as the team folded and blew their huge lead. In 2008, Wright hit .340 with 6 homers in September as the team folded again, missing out on the Wild Card by one measly game. In 2009, Wright exemplified the Mets' inability to smack dongs in their brand new ballpark, collecting just 5 homers at CitiField as opposed to 21 in his final year at Shea. Most importantly, he is a style trendsetter. Yowza!

Runners-up: Mike Piazza, Bobby Valentine, this sad Mets fan

New York Yankees: Alex Rodriguez
Because you seemingly cannot personify a New York team without an angst-filled third baseman, I suppose. At least this one closed the decade properly.

Runners-up: Roger Clemens, Derek Jeter, Joe Torre, Mike Mussina

Oakland Athletics: Billy Beane
Billy Beane wrote a book about statistics and then built a baseball team that would succeed in the regular season and fall flat on its face in the postseason and then married a computer and had bionic babies and then came out of the closet and signed Coco Crisp. All in all, it's been a very full decade for Beane, full of as much praise for his smart ideas as there was misinformation about his methods. Make no mistake: Beane was the first dude to find inefficiencies in a money-driven player market and exploit the heck out of 'em while the big boys wasted money on the Juan Gonzalezes and Albert Belles of the world. It was never specifically about high-OBP guys or left handed pitchers who threw a screwball or Scott Hatteberg; it was a system that espoused all of these things and worked...at least until the postseason..

Runners-up: Eric Chavez, Orlando Cabrera, Jason Giambi, HudMulZit

Tomorrow: the conclusion of the Infocaps by the one and only Drew Fairservice.

infocaps.jpg

The imminent end of this decade has already been fodder for about 10,000 blog posts, magazine articles and TV shows. Well, far be it from Walkoff Wallk to let an easy angle like that pass us by. Starting today and running through Wednesday, we're presenting The Walkoff Walk End Of Decade Personality Compendium Infocaps. Divided alphabetically between Kris, Rob and Drew, the Infocaps are our choices for the member of each organization who most defined them during this decade. Often it's the best player, but not always. We hope to inspire reflection, debate and monster pageviews, lady.

Atlanta Braves: Chipper Jones
The Braves' Bobby Cox Era spans the entirety of two decades and will be defined historically by starting pitching and playoff disappointment. Funny then, that their defining personality for The Aughts is OF/3B, Larry "Chipper"Jones. One of the finest hitters of any team in this decade and one of the finest switch hitters in the history of the game, Jones hit 25+ HRs in all but two seasons and OPS'd over 1.000 4 times. Like a lot of good things from the South, Chipper's greatness seems underappreciated nationwide. The decade he dominated like few others saw him make only 3 All Star teams.

Runners Up: Bobby Cox, Smolmadglav

Arizona Diamondbacks: Randy Johnson
The World Series Champion 2001 Diamondbacks are remembered for helping the terrorists beat the Yankees and for their 1-2 aces at the top of their rotation. But whereas Curt Schilling treated Arizona like a desert holiday before moving on to a market where he could get more airtime, Johnson made the team his home and, in my mind, will be a Diamondback even more than a Mariner. Excepting his injury plagued 2003, his numbers from 2000-2004 are astounding. He flirted with 400 Ks, won 3 CONSECUTIVE CY YOUNGS, then finished 2nd in the voting in 2004. His two years in New York were forgettable, painting him (unfairly) as a sort of Anti-Schilling, but he returned to Arizona for two more seasons of spotty health that STILL saw him strike out more than 10K/9IP.

Runners Up: Luis Gonzalez, The Guy Who Cleans The Stadium Pool... Look That Stadium Has A Pool!

Baltimore Orioles: Albert Belle
I know I know, Albert only played one season for the O's and it was in 2000. But did you realize that the Orioles paid $50M to Belle for 144 games and 23 HR? Orioles fans have been a whiny lot, what with their walkouts and incessant griping about Peter Angelos, but this move set the tone for an entire decade of mismanagement and lousy spending.

Runners Up: Melvin Mora, Miguel Tejada, Boog Powell

Boston Red Sox: Theo Epstein/Manny Ramirez (tie)
The team that authored baseball's defining story of the decade benefited from tons of media coverage and thus had plenty of memorable characters. But, with two World Series titles they also had plenty of talent. Success came to Boston by uprooting an entire culture of stubborn and vehemently traditionalist baseball thinking and woe-is-us Eeyorism. The hiring of 28 year old Theo Epstein and the injection of fresh logic that it brought remains one of the boldest front office moves the sport has seen. The bridge that linked the Sad Old Sox and the New Sox also happened to be their best hitter. Despite his all world numbers Manny Ramirez and his 10 year deal were the glaring exception to Epstein's vision of the franchise and as such, for 4 straight years the Red Sox would have given up one of baseball's all time great hitters for just about nothing. That push/pull came to a head with the 2008 soap opera that led to Manny's move to LA. With the exception of the two titles, there wasn't a bigger story out of Fenway this decade.

Runners Up: David Ortiz, Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra, Brian Daubach, Orlando Cabrera

Chicago Cubs: Mark Prior
While I was tempted to praise Derrek Lee for 5 years of fantastic hitting and solid glovework, the Cubs' decade is defined by heartbreak, and no one player epitomizes that better than Mark Prior. The can't miss kid from USC exceeded his lofty expectations in his first two seasons of 02-03 and looked like a perennial Cy candidate in the making. He struck out everybody and didn't walk many (245 to 50 in 211 IP in 2003) and was physically imposing. Until he became a physical wreck. He devolved into Creampuffery with tragic speed and despite being only 29 as I write this, hasn't thrown a pitch in the majors since 2006. If you feel like Cubs fans complain more about what happens off the field than on it, well this is one you can't argue with.

Runners Up: Derrek Lee, Kerry Wood, Steve Ba...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Chicago White Sox: Mark Buehrle
Mark Buerhle made his MLB debut with the White Sox in 2000 and threw a no hitter with the same team in 2009. Along the way he's pitched at least 200 innings in every single season and threw a CG shutout in his only start during Chicago's World Series sweep of the Astros That's about as complete a resume as you can have for this exercise. Who were you gonna pick, that loudmouth Ozzie Guillen?

Runners Up: Ozzie Guillen, Frank Thomas, Steve Perry, Orlando Cabrera

Cleveland Indians: CC Sabathia/Cliff Lee (tie)
Earlier in the decade, Cleveland was flush with these two All Star caliber lefthanded starters and the conversation was mainly about who would be better. Sabathia debuted at 20 but had a couple middling years showing glimmers of promise before finally finding his control in 2006 and winning the Cy Young in 2007. Lee fell as far as a demotion to the minors in 2007 before his switch got flipped and he won the Cy in 2008. Despite being only the 3rd team in 30 years to have different guys win back to back, the Indians couldn't do anything else right and had to trade them both away. That sums up the decade at Jacogressive Field pretty neatly.

Runners Up: Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore, Orlando Cabrera

Cincinnati Reds:
All you need to know about the Reds' decade was that I considered Aaron Harang for this spot. Adam Dunn was pretty good, but I'm just gonna post this old video and move on. REDS FANS HOW DO YOU LIVE LIKE THIS?


Colorado Rockies: Todd Helton
The Toddfather wins this one going away. On a team littered with a history of immense offensive seasons from mediocre players, Helton left no doubt that he would have been the best hitter on nearly any team in baseball. 5 times this decade he had 30+ HRs, netting 40+ twice. He's also the active leader in career OBP and 12th all time. Park factors be damned on that stat.

Runners Up: Matt Holiday, Denny Neagle

Detroit Tigers: Dave Dombrowski
No franchise had a bigger wholesale turnaround in the deacde than the Detroit Tigers. A span of just 4 years separated the historically inept, 106 loss 2002 team from the 2006 AL Championship team, a transformation led by Dombrowski as both President and GM. He brought my old pal Jim Leyland out of retirement, acquired numerous big bats (regardless of their final totals) and has made the Tigers a fixture in the topsy turvy 3 way daisy chain that comprises the top of the AL Central. Even with some recent disappointments they're a far cry from where they were 7 years ago and a beacon of hope for miserable franchises across the land from Pittsburgh all the way to Kansas City.

Runners Up: Tilde, Binge, Tigers Fans That Make Up Silly Nicknames, Orlando Cabrera