Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Even if Joey Gathright, the former starting center fielder for the KC Royals, never makes it back to the majors, if he gets stuck in Triple-A Omaha for the next fifteen years, he is already a superstar in my book for accomplishing this feat: jumping over a parked car.
UPDATE: Judging by the angry emails I've been receiving for this post, some of our readers disapprove my decision to "laud" Joey's "reckless act." To those people, I say simply this: watch the video. It doesn't have the feel of a bunch of kids doing stupid stuff so that they can get their own MTV show. In fact, I find the video oddly soothing. He's in a polo shirt. He's wearing reading glasses. There is no pre-jump gritting of teeth or pounding of chest. He just jogs up and jumps. Like jumping over a puddle. And after jumping over the parked car with ease, Joey seems mostly embarrassed to have agreed to show off his trick for the camera. Joey, you ARE the man.
SECOND UPDATE: An angry commenter named "Angry!" just posted the following: "Joey Gathright is a Sinkhole Superstar for jumping over a Mitsubishi Galant while dressed like Carlton Banks? The true Sinkhole Superstar is Renjis Empati!"
So, my retort to "Angry!" is...good point.
Perhaps what would be most productive at this point would be to take a step back and define what a "sinkhole superstars" is. For me, it is someone who reaches the Pinnacle Of Greatness' waiting room (and is generally considered a superstar) in a narrow field and then, through no real fault of his own, is absorbed back into the normally-skilled world (which is where the "sinkhole" part comes in). Joey was a very highly-rated prospect for the Devil Rays. Now he's a Triple-A outfielder for the Royals who isn't considered an especially good base runner or fielder despite his amazing speed (and, as the video suggests, leaping ability). Same player, same skills. The only difference is that he is two years older and now People Who Matter In Baseball are suddenly down on his ability to, well, not swing at a too-high fastball.
I have a fondness for these sorts of of players. And while I do not make dolls of these players and pet them (that would be creepy), I do recognize my own dreams of superstardom as well as my own moments of sinkholedom in them. Eileen Shea was the Main Woman at MSU, and now she is, say, a normal mom living in East Lansing. Steve Logan was an incredible college player, but now he is struggling to find a job in Europe. And Joey is a formerly-hyped OF who might never get another chance to play in the majors.
Buy hey, at least he can jump over a car. I'd put that skill just above being competitive at ping pong and just below being able to play a Bach piano concierto passably well.
As for Renjis Empati, that's an entirely different story. I am ready, in all seriousness, to dedicate this blog to him and his efforts. He, after all, saw his kitchen going into a sinkhole while going to the bathroom in an outhouse at 2am and had the wherewithal to go Paul Revere on his neighbors and save their lives.
Renjis Empati, I emphatically salute you!
THIRD UPDATE: The Cubs signed Gathright to a one-year contract on December 16th, 2008. He'll be fighting for playing time with Kosuke Fukudome, Reed Johnson and maybe So Taguchi. Also: here is the video of Joey jumping over that Dodgers pitcher in spring training last year.