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."

Indeed.


Comments

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

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

Fukkakedome?

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.

ugg...05.

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.

NOOOOOOOMMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!

~sobs~

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

The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • There goes Ross' ASG prospects...

  • unique curiosity is a good description...

    he has a lot of 4-5 out innings. this is at least the 2nd time he's turned a double play ball into 0 outs just this year that i've noticed and he's got a slew of "4-out" innings under his belt, too.

    and 1.83 ERA

    Cubs should trade him, get a worse pitcher that loses games instead but can make a throw to 1b.

  • Agreed, but like with Garza, I am surprised that more managers don't try an exploit a clear weakness.

  • not sure either, but in most cases I imagine someone else can field it. And if you bunt it directly at him, he would have enough time to underhand toss it or just run it over?

    Today's bunt, he really, really didn't want to field it. Not sure if he lost it in his glove after that or just wasn't going to make the throw. It's not ideal obviously, yet still hasn't had any real impact on the team.

  • well, how long do keep pretending that a bunt hit well back to the pitcher that would be a double play for many pitchers isn't a "thing"? it's a story. it's not like it's a physical defect people are picking on.

    no one gave chuck knoblauch a pass when he lost the ability to throw a ball to 1st.

    it's a unique curiosity for a guy who throws a ball on a professional level for a living.

  • CB Bucknor behind the plate...he is and will continue to always be awful.

  • Not sure why teams don't bunt more often against him.

  • To be fair he also had a strike 3 called a ball.

  • Tomorrow's Sun-Times Headline after Lester's 1 ER, 10 K effort. "150M Lester Fails to Field Sac Bunt."

  • Yeah, I saw that. Gotta love being a pitcher and getting that "several inches off the inside corner" called as a strike.

  • LESTER ESCAPES! no runs after bases loaded, 0 out!

    30 pitch inning.

  • he just got a gift on that 2nd K...sides have shifted in a patented lester 4-5 out inning.

    ...and holy crap, that 2nd strike call on markasis. wow. that was gift wrapped.

  • Whew. Lester v Braves + Umpires. Umpires are threatening this inning...

  • ruh roh, 24-hour Lester YIPS narratives coming at you after that failed attempt to field a bunt. Time to log off.

  • holy shit lester...just that. wow.

    double play ball turns into a single out play which turns into 0 outs...and lester is left holding the ball while the bases go loaded with 0 outs.

  • plenty of time to get back, didn't pick up the ball or maybe he thought it might drop, but it was a pretty lazy pop fly.