Frankie Walker, a horrible backup shortstop for the Class A Visalia Oaks, was praised today by his manager and teammates for being good at all the little, inconsequential things that, taken together, are a poor barometer of whether or not someone is actually a good baseball player.
“Oh, Frankie’s a real gamer, “ said Oaks manager Dan Felton of his putrid protégée.“He hustles to first base on every ground ball, which he hits a lot of.He studies tape.He keeps notes on every pitcher.He’ll slide in at an angle to break up the double play.His does all the little things perfectly.It’s just the big things – like hitting, running, and throwing – where he blows.And I mean really blows, like a Dutch whore.”
“You talk about a guy who works hard,” said Oaks right fielder JaJuan Hodge.“Frankie’s always the first one here, talking with the coaches about working pitch counts, honing his swing.His level of detail incredible.If only he weren’t so small, and weak, and useless.”
Walker, whose inability to hit the ball borders on the comedic, has become a fan favorite among the Visalia faithful for his take-no-prisoners approach to the game.
“You can just see how much the game means to him, “ said season ticket holder Henry Caron.“One time, I saw him barrel right into the catcher at home.He was out by mile, because he’s slower than death.But still, what scrappiness!”
“He does a lot of things that don’t show up on the stat sheet,” said Felton of Walker, who is currently batting .098 and hasn’t driven in a run since June 19th.“If there was a stat for courage to take inside pitches, you can bet Frankie would lead the league in it.It’s just a shame that what does show up on the stat sheet – home runs, RBI’s, runs – are really all that matters.I almost wish we could get rid of crucial game elements like hitting and catching, so that a guy like Frankie could truly flourish in our league.”
Many also went out of their way to praise Walker, who is terrible at his job and should be fired, for being a good person.
“We’re lucky to have him," wrote Oaks beat writer Tom Maxon.“You spend five minutes with him, and you learn so much about the game.But you also learn about yourself as a person.He’s someone who believes in family, and personal accountability.He’s a great husband and Christian.I think Frankie will be a great manager one day, so long as he is not a player-manager.”
“Frankie plays the game the right way,” said Felton, “he just doesn’t play it very well.If I weren’t so blinded by his terrific work ethic, I’d cut his ass on the spot.”