Why Not Kotsay?

In today’s Effectively Wild podcast at Baseball Prospectus, Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller picked the “perceived clubhouse leaders” for every team in the American and National leagues. They based their decisions on perceptions perpetuated by the media noting that who they perceive to be the leader may not in fact be so.

I’ve transcribed the Padres portion of the podcast and you’ll notice two items that I’ve placed within brackets throughout the dialogue. First you’ll see that I’ve attempted to convey the speaker’s emotion/mental state while they are speaking. I feel like I’ve been accurate but of course this is all subjective so when you listen to the podcast you’ll have to make your own judgements. Secondly, within another set of brackets you will see that I have denoted when there is laughter during the dialogue. These brackets read as: [audible laughter].

You’re probably thinking, Is there any other kind of laughter than the audible kind?, and the answer to that question is actually yes. People frequently say things to me that are pointed and terribly clever but I do not laugh. Instead I say to them, “That was funny.” I can’t explain it really. There are things that I find “haha” funny and things that are “Ah, that was very clever, but I’m not going to vocalize my laughter. However, know that I appreciate your humor and I’m genuinely laughing on the inside,” funny.

For the sake of the dialogue between Ben and Sam know that they found the subject of Mark Kotsay to be “haha” funny.

Ben Lindbergh:  OK, another Hall of Famer*? Padres. [phrased as a question but offered with certainty]

*Hall of Famer in terms of chemistry offered to the ball club.

Sam Miller:  Really? [shock and awe]

BL: I think so [uncertainty]. Who did you have?

SM: I couldn’t think of really anyone – I went with Quentin [sadness and despair]. Who should I have picked [supreme interest]?

BL:  Isn’t Kotsay still on the Padres? [uncertainty but not the truly embarrassing kind] [audible laughter]

SM: [audible laughter] I never remember that! [audible laughter]

BL: [audible laughter] That’s the only reason he’s on the Padres.

SM: Every 7 weeks or so I get shocked that Kotsay didn’t retire [audible laughter from Ben] in 2008. [audible laughter]

BL: [audible laughter] It really is amazing [audible laughter]. He’s hitting .195, [audible laughter] [Sam tries to interrupt to support sheer awe at slash-line. His interruption is unsuccessful.] .248 and .236. [audible laughter], in 133 [audible laughter] plate appearances. But . . . [Sam interrupts because situation is too funny not to offer a supporting argument]

SM:  He’s got like – He’s got like 9 years of sub-replacement [audible laughter from Ben] level play at this point. I don’t think of Kotsay as a Hall of Famer in this regard. I assume that you’re – I mean, i think that you’re right that he’s the name for this team. But I never think of him as a – I think of him as good – as like a plus chemistry [sincerity] guy but I never – you’re probably right but I’ve never thought of him as a Hall of Famer.

BL: Yeah [sadness and disillusionment]. He’s gotta be. Why else [audible laughter] how else would he [audible laughter] still have a roster spot [genuinely perplexed]?

I don’t want to speak for Padres fans, but for me, this conversation between Ben and Sam is Mark Kotsay in a nutshell. So to major league teams looking to add a veteran presence down the stretch I have but three things to say to you:

  1. Time is running out – September 1st is right around the corner.
  2. Mark Kotsay is a “plus-chemistry” guy.
  3. #WhyNotKotsay!

In summation: #WhyNotKotay? Go listen to the podcast to determine whether or not I accurately assessed emotion (The Padres are discussed from 20:55 to 22:00).


I contribute to Padres Public on Thursday mornings and when I’m feeling particularly inspired. I can also be found on twitter at @AvengingJM, where a lack of concentration is readily apparent. The dusty archives of AJM are located at avengingjm.blogspot.com

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