January 16, 2013

The Practically Perfect Practical Joker

Ryne Sandberg, 1991 Score All-Star

It's difficult to be serious when you're looking at a big-head cartoon baseball card. But let's get serious here for a second. Because guys -- Ryne Sandberg will beat you.

Ryne can beat you so many ways --

Like, beat ME? But I am just sitting here writing about Ryne Sandberg! I didn't ask for any trouble. I have always humbly acknowledged that Ryne Sandberg can beat me in a myriad of ways, including:

with a home run, a clutch base hit, a steal, by scoring from first on a double

By understanding the signs given to him by the third base coach, by telling the outfielders how many outs there are, with his fists, with his MIND,

making a tremendous fielding play.

And with that we have listed all the conceivable ways a baseball player can single-handedly beat a baseball team. WE THOUGHT WE WUZ GONNA WIN BUT WHEN RYNO SCORED FROM FIRST ON DAT DOUBLE WE WUZ LIKE, LIGHTS OUT.

Ryne has such natural instincts and intangibles

Full disclosure: I was never aware a middle infielder possessed intangibles pre-Jeter. I had thought that Derek Jeter literally invented intangibles, an act in itself that IS intangible because no one knows how he did it. So this is all very surprising to me, although not really because I have natural instincts for noticing intangibles.

that he rarely, if ever, makes the wrong play, either on the field or on the bases.

That he rarely, IF EVER, makes the wrong play. IF EVER. IF EVER. IF EVER.

"There is an excellent chance that Ryne Sandberg has never made a mistake." -- this baseball card. 

Not that I am a skeptic, but I did take the initiative to check and: Ryne Sandberg has 109 career errors. That is just in the field. I tried to look up how many times he made the wrong decision while running the bases (j/k I didn't do that), but I couldn't because that is an intangible.

Okay so obviously Ryne Sandberg was a tremendous defensive player by any metric. But I was thinking that maybe we can chill out a little bit with the praise. I think we can all agree that Ryne Sandberg has intangibles, but that doesn't mean he's infallible. I mean, this isn't Don Mattingly we're talking about here.

A gamer who likes to play practical jokes, he set records for

Practical jokes?

errorless games and total chances in '90.

I would like to learn more about the practical jokes. I don't appreciate how this card mentions practical jokes in passing and then doesn't expand. What are the hot foot stats? How did he marry being a gamer AND a practical joker, as it is obviously something not many players can do. Who got the ol' clubhouse whoopie cushion? Who fell victim to a double-decker poop job? Who let the dogs out?

"Day in and day out, there's nothing he can't do," said Cub manager Don Zimmer.

I'm sure there's something he can't do. It may take a hundred years and 12,000 scientists to reveal, but I am confident there is something Ryne Sandberg cannot do. In the meantime, we must all take the word of the man who once fell down while trying to fight Pedro Martinez, which was a hilarious practical joke.

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