The second half of the 2012 season is about to get underway tomorrow. The one thing we learn every season is the cyclical nature of the Major League Baseball regular season. Every season there are certain players who just don’t make the cut. These are players who didn’t survive the season and were cut for poor performances, injuries, and or to create roster space. Those players, most of them anyways, are and have been a Bum.
What is the word Bum? And why does it pertain to us Dodger fans? The word Bum was originally created by sports cartoonist Willard Mullin. During the early 1930’s, while on a cab ride, the driver asked Mullin “how did those Bums do today”? He was referring to how the Dodgers had done that day. Mullin decided to draw a version of famed circus clown Emmett Kelly to represent the Dodgers for his cartoons in the New York World-Telegram. The nickname caught on. A Dodger yearbook that was created from 1951-1957 featured a Mullin illustration of the Brooklyn Dodger Bum. Webster’s dictionary has many meanings for the word Bum. You would be surprised at how many different ways you can use the word Bum in a sentence. We use the word Bum to describe a bad player, or a player of incompetence. Mullin created this image of the “Bum” almost 70 years ago.
The word Bum is uniquely tied to our past as Dodger fans. It’s a part of our history as Dodger fans, and harkens us back to the days when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn. It’s a homage to our past. If you remember, I did a series of articles last winter, counting down the top ten LA Dodger Bums of all time. This time I will count down the top three Dodger Bums of the 2012 first half.
I wish there was no need for these types of posts. The fact remains though, that not all players are good. Some are bad, really, really bad. Not every player is a hall of famer. We just have to face the reality, that Bums exist, and we do not live in some kind of Bum free fantasy world. Their exploits of incompetence must be documented. So without further adieu, here are the top three Dodger Bums of the 2012 first half.
3. Jerry Sands-OF
What in the world happened to Jerry Sands? He completely fell of the map. The 24 year old right handed bat, was called up last season, and was considered a top prospect at the time. The Dodgers were hoping that Jerry would rise up and take over the left field job. Of course that did not happen. Sand’s power never developed in the big leagues, but then again, you have to actually make contact for that to happen. After his first call-up early last season, Sands only hit .200 with two home runs, and was immediately sent back down to Albuquerque. Sands didn’t come back to the Dodgers until he was called back up in September when rosters expanded. Sands had a good September and his numbers actually ended up being decent. Overall in 2011, Sands put up a slash line of .253/.338/.389 (50 for 198). Sands had only 25 walks, and 51 whiffs to go with 4 home runs. This season Sands was terrible in spring training. His swing was all jacked up, and he looked so bad, that the Dodgers were forced to start him in Albuquerque. Sands was called up eventually later in the year, because of injuries. Sands only played in eight games this year, but was so useless, he was sent back down to Albuquerque, as soon as possible. Sands was only 4 for 20 this season, with one walk, and eight whiffs. That comes out to a gross line of .200/.238/.300. Sands mostly played in left field, but played six games at first base last season, and one game at first base this season. Sands was so bad he created his own hitting disease, called the Jerry Sands hitting disease. A terrible affliction that forces batters to swing at balls three feet off the plate, but stand and look at strikes right down the middle of the plate.
I have no idea what happened to Sands. He has fallen so far off the Dodger’s depth chart, when they had a chance to call up another outfielder because of injuries a few weeks ago, they passed up Sands, and called up Scott Van Slyke instead. I don’t know what the future holds for Jerry, but I hope he can figure it out, and get it together, and maybe we can see him back up with the Blue very soon. Until then though, his performance this season was not very good, and earns him a spot on this list.
2. Mike MacDougal (Dougie) Relief Pitcher
I think we all knew that Mike MacDougal, also known to us as Dougie, would not make it through the entire season. To no one’s shock he did not. MacDougal a career journeyman, is 35, and has pitched with five different teams including the Dodgers. Last season he was a non-roster invitee, and made the team out of pure happenstance. Of course more injuries opened the door for poor Dougie. He was decent last year in between spurts of him being otherworldly bad, and with a Mitch Williams command of the strike zone. Still he posted a 3-1 record, a 2,14 ERA in 69 games, and 57 innings pitched. He allowed 16 runs, and whiffed 41. He throws real hard. Not bad, not bad. This year however, yeesh, he was all kinds of bad. Dougie in 2012 posted a 7.94 ERA in seven games, and 5.2 innings of work. Ok ok, maybe he wasn’t that bad, but six walks, and a 9.5 walk per nine rate was not something nice to look at. In early may, the Dodgers Designated Dougie for assignment. He was eventually released. Of course when the Chicago Cubs release you, you know your career isn’t going anywhere. Still if this is the end of the road for Dougie, he amassed a nice career, finishing with 71 saves, and 325 whiffs. I’m going to miss singing the Cali-swag district song every time he came to the mound.
- Juan Uribe Third baseman
The number one Dodger Bum of the 2012 first half is Juan Uribe to nobody’s surprise. Uribe was really bad last year, and he is even worse this year. Could he actually get any worse? In one word, yes, yes he can. Not only is he more useless at the plate, but he seems to have gotten fatter. Anyways, last season the 32 year old portly infielder put up a putrid line of .204/.264/.293 with only four home runs, and 28 RBI. He only played in 77 games before bowing out early because of a sports hernia. This year he has been even worse, while spending time on the DL for an arthritic wrist. This season he is batting .194/.250/.271 with one measly home run, and 13 RBI. At least back in his days with the White Sox, and the Giants he hit home runs even while being terrible, with the Dodgers he doesn’t even do that. He is an automatic out. It is so clear to everyone that the Dodgers are looking to upgrade at third base, and Uribe’s days as a Dodger are numbered. If the Dodgers are going to get rid of him, the perfect opportunity to do so is coming up soon. With Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier being activated on Friday, the Dodgers need to clear room on the active roster. One guy that appears an obvious candidate to be sent down is Scott Van Slyke, but the second cut could go to Uribe. If the Dodgers do DFA Uribe, they would have to eat the remainder of his ridiculously bad 21 million dollar contract.
I think we can all agree that Juan Uribe is the worst, I did not include James Loney, or Adam Kennedy on this mini-list. Why did I not include them? Because while they were deeply considered, both could get an honorable mention, this list is for the guys that were completely and utterly useless, contributing little to no value to the team at all.
Loney and Kennedy are bad, but they do still contribute something every once in a while. Loney contributes with his wizardly glove, and Kennedy has 28 hits, which is three more than Uribe has all season. There are a few other punch and Judy type hitters that I have forgot to mention, but these are the top three. I wish all players were great, but the reality is they are not. Bums exist, and we must properly document their incompetence. If I had my way, I would build a hall of shame down the street from the actual Hall of Fame in Cooperstown New York. How else can the Todd Van Poppels, and Juan Castros of the world have a voice? How else will we remember the way that Billy Ashley flung his bat into the stands when whiffing on breaking balls, or Darren Bumfort’s 40th trip to the disabled list. How else will we giggle at one of water cooler destroyer Carlos Perez’s unsuspecting attacks on an innocent water cooler.
I still dream of the great white whale. The Moby Dick of Bums. The greatest Bum of all time. One day all Major League Bums will be properly documented, and a master top 50 Bum list of all Bums will tell us who the worst players of all time are. Most importantly it will tell us who the biggest Bum of all time is. The top Bum. The anti-Ruth. Who is it? Is it Garret Anderson? Milton Bradley? No no no. One day we will find out, but until then, enjoy the rest of the all-star break guys, and we’ll see you in the second half.