Can we actually classify Ryan Theriot as “scrappy”? [CARDS]

01
Dec
2010

When news broke on Tuesday that the Cardinals traded for SS Ryan Theriot, our inbox and Twitter feeds were flooded with questions of his presumed scrappiness.  What can we say, we’re subject matter experts on the Cardinals perpetual infatuation with grit.  Hey, everyone has a role in this industry.

But wait, is Ryan Theriot actually scrappy?

We suppose that the Cardinals storied history of short, hustling, Caucasian middle infielders set a precedent to simply infer that Ryan Theriot is, by default, scrappy.

But we don’t give out passes to Scrapville so easily, and thus, decided to take a deeper look at some common categories that determine access to this esteemed arena.

Whiteness:

No need to be verbose here.  Ryan Theriot is white – which is a prerequisite for being scrappy.  Enough said.

Versatility:

The ability to play multiple positions ranks very high on the grit meter.  It’s an added benefit if said player is undersized, so there’s a visual aspect of looking out of place.  St. Louis fans adore tenacity and love to see a guy that doesn’t belong because that means he’s trying hard.

Think Aaron Miles, Skip Schumaker, or José Oquendo, who played every position except catcher in ’87 and nearly broke the scrappy racial barrier in his tenure as a player with the Cardinals.

Theriot has flip-flopped between 2B and SS in his career and has also seen time at 3B, LR and RF.  So dedicated.  The guy just loves to play the game, regardless of where his manager sticks him.

Height:

Ryan Theriot is listed as 5’11″.  That puts him over 70 inches, which reveals some semblance of, gasp, athleticism.  Those are both contra-positives in the kingdom of grittiness.


Quirkiness:

Theriot throws right and bats right and there’s nothing abnormal about either.  That’s negative points when weighting scrappiness.  Scrappiness welcomes weirdness.

One thing to consider in this category is Theriot’s region of origin.  He was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and played college ball at LSU.  For this reason, he has a Southern accent that is noticeable during interviews.  People that talk funny are usually beloved for no good reason at all.

Unfound Fan Appreciation:

Although he’s married and has three children, Theriot accumulated quite a robust female following during his tenure in Chicago and Los Angeles.  We’re told the ladies love him.  Handsomeness omits an aura of God-given talent – which is a magnificent no-no in the scrappy community.

Funny Name:

This is definitely a scrappiness category where Theriot excels.  While the board typically prefers odd first names like Bo, Stubby or Skip…Theriot’s peculiar last name earns him major points.

He picked up the nickname “The Riot” in Chicago and the name stuck.  It even evolved into a t-shirt phenomenon in the Windy City that is sure to be adopted (read: plagiarized) by St. Louis merchants and peddled to sheepish Cardinals fans that will buy anything.

Conclusion:

Theriot is a tough case.  His height and rugged masculinity all but make him ineligible for this type of discussion.  God-given abilities are not revered by our panel of experts.

Yet, we have a feeling people are going to fall in love with him.  He’s a hustler, plays multiple positions and doesn’t strike out a lot.  That means he’s feisty.  According to Fox Sports Midwest (apparently, it’s necessary to cite statistics even though they were personally-verified since it’s, you know, public information), Theriot only strikes out once every 9.32 plate appearance.  That ranks 5th best in the National League since ’07.

Frankly, we believe this is going to come down to his jersey number selection.

He wore #2 is Chicago, which is extremely scrappy.  Single digit numbers sit very well with our esteemed panel.  But, as most Cardinals fans know, #2 is unavailable.

Theriot wore #13 in Los Angeles, but that’s currently occupied by, well, Brendan Ryan.  Yeah, we’re guessing that’s going to be available in the near future.

If Theriot takes #13, we’re leaning towards “not scrappy“.

If he takes #00, he becomes the tallest man even to don our “scrappy” label.  This could be revolutionary.

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email: matt@joesportsfan.com
tweet: @MattSebek

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