We're watching baseball history, and not the good kind. We're watching the bad kind. Which, when you think about it, makes it the very best kind.
Two things we as a sporting society love. We love historical performances, and we love misery. I consider myself a reflection of society, a microcosm of you, which is why I'm mesmerized by Andruw Jones.
|Smell that Andruw? That's your own stench on the diamond this year. (Getty Images)|
That's a lot of history. Rob Deer had a lot of lousy seasons in the big leagues. So did Dave Kingman. Mark Bellhorn. Kevin Elster. Think about it. There have been countless crappy seasons turned in by countless crappy ballplayers.
Andruw Jones could be crappiest of them all.
Here we are in the middle of August, and Jones is hitting .161. There he is with 205 at-bats, and he has three home runs. This is the same guy who hit 51 homers in 2005, and 41 in 2006. Two years later, he has three. So does Carlos Zambrano, and Zambrano has just 66 at-bats. He's also hitting .364. He's also a pitcher.
Since 2005 Jones' homer tally reads 51-41-26-3. He is Barry Bonds in reverse. If there is such a thing as performance detraction drugs, Jones must pop them like Pez. Nothing else explains it. Not the arthroscopic knee surgery he had in June, a procedure players undergo all the time. Before the surgery Jones was hitting .165. Since then he's hitting .133, and getting worse by the second. He has one hit in his past 16 at-bats.
Jones isn't old, either. He turned 31 in April, and 31 is supposed to be a ballplayer's prime. Makes you wonder how crappy he'll be when he hits 35.
Actually, if this continues, Jones will be out of baseball at 35. He could be out of baseball at 32, even if the Dodgers do owe him $16 million for 2009. Jones is in Year 1 of the $32 million deal evil agent Scott Boras finagled out of Los Angeles, a two-year contract that suggests three things:
1. Boras is the smartest agent of all time, getting that deal for a player who hit .222 in 2007.
2. The Dodgers are the dumbest franchise of all time.
3. Jones is having the worst season of all time.
For every ugly number he is putting up, there is an uglier number behind it. His season average is .161, but in so-called clutch situations -- defined as late in a close game -- he is hitting .147. When the score is tied, he's down to .095.
Runners in scoring position? He's hitting .086. He's also slugging .086, which means every one of those hits has been a single. And the more clutch the situation, the worse Jones becomes. With two outs and runners in scoring position, he's hitting .077.
Those are the trees. Together, they make a petrified forest. Jones has played in 74 games this season and has 14 RBI. Seattle's Raul Ibanez had 14 RBI in a three-game stretch last week. Hell, he had six RBI in one inning.