For those of you that are regular readers of Fire Joe Morgan, it is apparently impossible for a journalist to write an article about David Eckstein without mentioning that he is only 4’2″ tall. These journalists are also required to mention that despite being so small, Eckstein’s heart is the size of a Winnebago and he has used said heart and grittiness to overcome his dwarfism to will his teams to victory.
Well, if recent articles written by Rays’ journalists are any indication, the Rays may one day have their own “David Eckstein”. That is, a player that is able to overcome a deficiency, beat the odds and become a major league baseball player.
His name is Fernando Perez.
Perez has managed to become one of the Rays’ top prospects, despite being, well, you know…smart. If you are unaware, Perez attended Columbia University, which is enough to automatically label you as one of the smartest people on the planet.
From the St. Pete Times:
For Fernando Perez, the road to pro baseball was paved in an unlikely place.
This is not because there is an absence of smart baseball players. It is because Ivy League universities don’t offer sports scholarships. Not many high school kids and their families are going to turn down a free-ride from other schools which are nearly, if not just as good.
From the Bradenton Herald:
For a seventh-round draft pick with impressive minor league credentials, Perez certainly strayed from the path most taken by minor league prospects while on his way to the Tampa Bay Rays…Columbia is known for churning out American presidents and Supreme Court Justices and Nobel Prize winners. But switch-hitting center fielders?
Maybe not switch-hitting center fielders, but Columbia has just as many hall of fame baseball players (Lou Gehrig, Sandy Koufax) as US Presidents (Franklin Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt). Oh yeah, and did you know that Perez strayed from the path most taken by minor league prospects?
Labeling Fernando Perez as the Rays’ “erudite outfielder” sounds like stereotyping. Then again, how many players have majored in american cultural studies and creative writing at Columbia University en route to their professional baseball careers?…No, Perez is not your typical ballplayer, or typical person you meet in any walk of life.
Does Bill Chastain stray from the path most taken by other journalists that profile Fernando Perez? Only in the sense that Chastain feels the need to use the word “erudite” to show the readers that his vocabulary is just as big as this stuck-up smart baseball player from an Ivy League school.
That is three articles in the past month for a prospect that has never played a game above AA. If BJ Upton is moved to right field in 2009 or 2010 and Perez becomes the everyday center fielder for the Rays and the Rays are a playoff contender…As Rays fans we need to brace ourselves for what will certainly be 1.6 kazillion million articles telling us how Fernando Perez overcame his abnormally large brain to become a major league baseball player. Hopefully by that time, David Eckstein will have retired and the boys at FJM can refocus their attention to the authors of those journalistic piles of poo.