A Celebration of the Awesome Awfulness of Our Man Neifi

If you're a connoisseur of the work of Neifi Perez as I am–and as I know many longtime readers of The Cub Reporter are–you'll delight in this piece written by King Kaufman and posted at Salon.com.

The story, an excerpt from "Top of the Order: 25 Writers Pick Their Favorite Baseball Player of All Time," is simply too delicious for me to recap here. I will just share this passage, in which Kaufman, a Giants fan, explains how he became a Neifiphile.

It was in early June 2003, [Neifi's] first and only full season with the club, when I noticed he was a sort of secret weapon. The Giants were a good but not great 26-22 on the days when Perez made it onto the field. But when he stayed in the dugout, they were 13-1...

So I invented the Neifi Index, a measure of the contribution a player makes to his team by not playing. The Giants had a .542 winning percentage when Perez played, .929 when he did not. So his Neifi Index was .387 (.929 minus .542). I concocted the Neifi Award, given to the bench player in each league with the highest Neifi Index, and unique among baseball awards in that you or I, if we could only find our way onto a major-league team, would be a shoo-in to win it.

Postscript: in linking to Neifi's page at Baseball-Reference.com, I just saw that King Kaufman is a paid sponsor of the page, which also carries this tribute from the writer: "In his own way, he was the greatest I ever saw."



pieces like that are why the Internet was invented...

obviously you've not seen enough asian, brazillian, and german internet porn.


Speaking of, I have a friend who just last week upgraded from dial-up. He's got a lot of catching up to do.

Kudos to him. He'll be desensitizing himself at an exponentially higher rate now.

Yeah, but it feels like watching aboriginals who are perfectly at peace with life suddenly be exposed to war, advertising, crack, Jerry Bruckheimer and The Black Eyed Peas.

There's good stuff on the internet too, like ScrabbleBlast, so maybe he's not completely doomed.

Did you know that Neifi in Tongolese, a southern Island not far from Indonesia, means "ball magnet" a little known fact, although most do not realize it it not THAT kind of ball.

Had his parents known, they would have chosen a derivative, "Neifay" which is the metrosexual form of Sack magnet which changes the meaning altogether - it is the ability to fill a grocery bag with fruits and veggies from the isles, and woman standing in the line has a tradition of exhortation to the bag boy with the words "Neifay Ole." At which time the bagger leaned the paper bag forward and scooped the food with the hand in a shape of a spade shovel, filling to the brim, uprighting the sack and handing it to the patron with a slight brush of the back of the hand toward the female upper body part, like shoulder, in an expression of respect and piqued interest. If done correctly, the couple would be married the next day and drummers would line the wedding recessional, shouting to the beat, "Neifay Ole, toto buffet!" over and over until exhausted.

After the chanting, clerks would check if the bag boy was already married at which time he was sent to AA ball in the Southern league to learn the skills of sliding since he already knew the skill of running FAST... True story. Check out www.askascout.com for more or to sign up for an application for an opening in the check out line there.

It's true. I read it on the Internets.

I couldn't help myself:

Went back to Baseball-Reference.com—how mind-blowingly amazing is that site, by the way?—and calculated the Neifi Index for his time with the Cubs.

The Sucktastic One played in 264 games for the Cubs between 9/16/04 and 8/19/06. The Cubs went 125-139 (.473) in those games. In the 49 Neifi-less games the team played through that same period, the record was 23-26 (.469). This suggests a NEGATIVE Neifi Index of .004, i.e., THE CUBS WERE ACTUALLY BETTER WITH NEIFI THAN WITHOUT HIM!

I submit that, like albino squirrels and watchable movies based on "Saturday Night Live characters," this is an exceedingly rare phenomenon worthy of appreciation and intense academic study.

Those teams really sucked.

It was because Neifi saved us dude in 2005.


i think i injured myself for 4-6 weeks just thinking about that team.

dlee/neifi/burnitz were the only guys who stayed healthy all year.



I highly recommend clicking over to Salon and reading the whole thing, it's hysterical.

Great article, Cubnut.

Thanks for finding and posting. You should alert the author to your Negative Neifi Index. Perhaps Kaufman can investigate and offer another article?

Glad you enjoyed it. I was planning to drop Kaufman a note and invite him into the close-knit Neifi Brotherhood that has flourished here at TCR for so long.

doug flynn, jesus alou, and joe demastri gets no respect...

gary bennett agrees loudly from the backfield...

Recent comments

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  • deno ended the season well even though ajax heavily cut into a lot of his chances to play. it's either him or ajax. i'm a bit partial to deno, but whatever...at least ajax isn't hitting 2nd.

  • Agreed. And, with Hendricks on the mound, Cubs will probably need to score some runs to win -- why not start Soler for his bat and bring in Ajax for defense later?

    NEVER MIND....just re-read the lineup.

  • If the Cubs have the lead in the 8th, who pitches? Rodney? Travis? Yikes.

  • The Cubs had some good runs and nice winning streaks that propelled them to the playoffs. Austin Jackson wasn't part of that. I don't quite understand what it is about Jackson that they are so enamored with.

  • I think the strike zone was very inconsistent, but it's hard to blame the loss on the ump. They had chances and mistake pitches and just couldn't cash in. Lackey ran the ball inside and outside very effectively.

  • Correct. Castro 5th, AJax 6th; I'll edit my lineup post to fix this.

  • Lineup: Fowler, Soler, KB, Rizzo, Castro, AJax, Montero, Hendricks, Russell

  • if he put ajax 1st/2nd in the f'n playoffs he deserves to lose his nearly sure-thing MOY award to terry collins.

  • I believe Castro batting fifth, Ajax (LF) sixth

  • Maddon did not listen to me yesterday re Strop, or EricS on Schwarbs today.

    Wtf is up w/that?!

  • Crunch got his wish - Ajax not hitting 1-2 in the lineup ...

  • I know he's struggles against lefties but Schwarber seems zoned in - hope he starts tonight.

  • Awesome stuff, Phil.

  • listening on ESPN 1000, caller says Bill Welke will be the home plate ump today. Supposedly his reputation is for having an even bigger strike zone than last night's Phil Cuzzi. Some of the issues with bad umpiring come from an inconsistent strike zone. Hoping at least for consistency. Last night's called strike on David Ross was outright embarrassing for Cuzzi.

    That might work out in favor of Kyle Hendricks, who benefits much from a large strike zone.

  • it's kind of mesmerizing to watch
    should Theo add some Ted Abernathy videos for minor league pitching coordinator's use?

    sadly, Ted passed away in 2004 from complications of Alzheimers. I always loved the Cub bullpen trio of Phil Regan, Ted Abernathy and Hank Aguirre. As a kid, I even worked on both Phil Regan (very quirky delivery) and Ted Abernathy (extreme submarine) imitations when throwing a rubber ball against a wall. It wasn't a good imitation unless I could scrape my knuckles off the ground. I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for submariners.

  • HAGSAG: Chris Pieters was sent to instructs to develop his hitting, bunting, and outfield play (he is already a decent first-baseman).  

    Pieters is tall and rangy , a "long-strider" in the same mold as Trey Martin and Rashad Crawford. He is a very patient hitter (unusual for a hitter with his lack of experience) and has an outstanding (almost uncanny) eye at the plate, and he is a fast runner with unusually good baserunning instincts, and he is a good basestealer, too.