The Thing People Don’t Understand

Delmon Young made his Phillies debut today. Or maybe yesterday. I can’t be sure.

And he homered in his first at-bat. Bully for him, even though the Phillies were ground into a fine powder and dissolved in the collective tea of the Cleveland Indians. But that’s really neither here nor there.

Because in advance of Tuesday’s game, Phillies assistant GM Scott Proefrock had this, among other things, to say about Young.

The thing people don’t understand about Delmon, in my opinion, he’s a baseball player.

I realize that Proefrock was in the middle of making a point that, in the larger context, makes sense. Click that link and read through Matt Gelb’s piece and you’ll find a paragraph that, while not particularly eloquently cast, does seem reasonable. And let’s face it, coming up with the perfect incisive turn of phrase isn’t Proefrock’s job, and he’d probably be a lot better at my job than I would be at his, so I’ll cut him some slack.

Or at least, I would if there wasn’t so much potential in that sentence. What did Proefrock really mean?

Delmon Young Will Find A Way To Win
This is probably what Proefrock meant. That, by some combination of Disney Sports Movie Normative Evaluation and if-wishing-made-it-so, Delmon Young will become a capable baseball player for the first time in nearly a decade if we tell ourselves he is and nobody bothers to do anything rash, like, you know, check for empirical evidence.

Delmon Young is Not Zach Parise
Reporter: “The Minnesota Wild signed Zach Parise as a free agent last offseason, but the Phillies only got Delmon Young. Why is that?”
Proefrock: “….”
Reporter: “Was it contract length? Cost? Are the Phillies set on the power play?”
Proefrock: “Isn’t Zach Parise a hockey player?”
Reporter: “Sure. But people don’t understand why Zach Parise isn’t a better option than Delmon Young.”
Proefrock: “The thing people don’t understand about Delmon, in my opinion, he’s a baseball player.”

A Man is what He Does
Proefrock: “I know Delmon Young is a baseball player.”
Socrates: “How do you know this?”
Proefrock: “I’ve seen him play baseball. My employer has just hired him to play baseball.”
Socrates: “But is he playing baseball now?”
Proefrock: “Not to my knowledge.”
Socrates: “What, then, makes you say that Delmon Young is still a baseball player? I’ve seen that poor bastard try to play the outfield–what’s to say he won’t take up painting or somesuch? Maybe he’ll give up sports altogether and put us out of his misery. Will he be a baseball player then?”
Proefrock: “I think that once on is a baseball player, one is always a baseball player.”
Socrates: “Does a man’s work make the man? Even when he’s left the profession?”
Proefrock: “I believe so.”
Socrates: “Will people understand this?”
Proefrock: “The thing people don’t understand about Delmon, in my opinion, he’s a baseball player.”

Delmon Young Is Not a Starship
Ruben Amaro: “Why’d you ask me to sign the ship from Starship Troopers?
Scott Proefrock: “That’s not Delmon Young. That’s the Rodger Young.”
Amaro: “I could have sworn that was Delmon.”
Proefrock: “It’s not.”
Amaro: “But I thought Delmon Young was a starship.”
Proefrock: “The thing people don’t understand about Delmon, in my opinion, he’s a baseball player.”

Scott Proefrock is Living in the Big Island Scenes from Cloud Atlas and Thinks Ruben Amaro is Old Georgie
Proefrock: “Who tripped the Fall, if not Old Georgie?”
Meronym: “True-true? The Old Uns.”
Proefrock: “That’s just a rope o’smoke. Old Uns got the Smart. They mastered sick and seeds, they make miracles and fly across the sky.”
Meronym: “True. All true. But they got somethin’ else. A hunger in their hearts, a hunger that’s stronger than all their Smart.”
Proefrock: “Hunger? For what?”
Meronym: “A hunger for more.”
Proefrock: “The thing people don’t understand about Delmon, in my opinion, he’s a baseball player.”


Leave a Reply



  1. Phil Ease

    April 30, 2013 09:54 PM

    Plato would be proud. I’m not sure, however, whether he was a baseball player.

  2. LTG

    April 30, 2013 10:13 PM

    I don’t know, Phil Ease, have you read The Republic? Something in there about kicking out the artists because they distort reality and encourage vice. The Phrygian mode is okay though.

  3. LTG

    April 30, 2013 10:42 PM

    So, I was poking around MLB’s youtube highlights and saw Eric Anthony crush a home run way back in 1990. I was disturbed to notice that his swing mechanics looked quite similar to Brown’s. A quick look at their early stats and we find that he and Brown are similar there as well. Good BB%, some power, low BABIP. Anthony struck out a bit more. I don’t like this comp. Not one bit.

  4. Michael Baumann

    April 30, 2013 10:56 PM

    I don’t know about the Anthony comp based on swing mechanics. Brown’s got much higher hands and much more torque through his hips. That said, I’m the wrong guy to ask about such things. Where’s Longenhagen?

  5. Is Ben Revere a Baseball Player

    April 30, 2013 11:57 PM

    Does one have to be able to hit it out of the infield to be considered a BP? I know I never could, which is why I am a critic instead. DY meets that standard of one half a BP (hitter), of course he’s as mobile as a the statues outside the Ballpark. How does someone as fast as BR, hit into so many DP’s? Boy, that win streak, good pitching went up in smoke fast and CD didn’t let his inherited runner score but he got hit a country mile afterwards. Ouch.

  6. Eric Longenhagen

    May 01, 2013 06:55 AM

    I can see how you look at Anthony’s swing and Delmon’s and see some similarities with the way they load their hands in a way that allow them to stay inside the ball. Once they get going it starts to change. Delmon’s swing has less noise throughout the body than Anthony’s does as they follow through. But that’s a good eye, regardless.

  7. LTG

    May 01, 2013 08:42 AM

    EL, thanks for responding. Knowledgable and helpful as always. Did you mean Dom or Delmon?

  8. ajay

    May 01, 2013 04:06 PM

    Michael, was the opening line of this post a reference to Camus? If so, I liked it.

  9. LarryM

    May 01, 2013 08:49 PM

    The one thing that really cracks me up about the irrational non-hate that some people have for D. Young, is that a lot of the guys defending the indefensible are people who, in other contexts, ramble on about “intangibles.” The reason, of course, that this is funny, is that Devil Young is a rare case where (aside from his many tangible deficiencies) a player really does have substantial negative intangible value. (This is true even if you want to consider as “tangible” the fact that, through laziness, indifference and just plain poor makeup, he managed to waste 98% of his natural talent.

    The antonym of Jackie Robinson is Delmon Young.

  10. Phillie697

    May 02, 2013 09:54 AM

    “Sure. But people don’t understand why Zach Parise isn’t a better option than Delmon Young.”


  11. Eric Longenhagen

    May 02, 2013 12:03 PM


    I meant Delmon. Looking at it again, he looks like Delmon early in his swing and Brown late as he follows through and his feet move.

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