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

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  • Meh. He only got one hit today. Maybe give him a rest?

    Old and Blue 25 min 30 sec ago view
  • 34-14...awww yeah.

    crunch 1 hour 22 min ago view
  • Good thing the Cubs have five left-handed batters in the lineup. Velasquez is just tearing thru the righties [edit - doesn't seem to faze Bryant!]

    Eric S 2 hours 42 min ago view
  • ben zobrist gets to ride up front tonight cause he's a good guy at sports.

    cubs with a 5 run lead and a lackey shutout through 3ip \m/

    crunch 3 hours 16 min ago view
  • HAGSAG: I have not seen Joe Nathan out on the field, but he is supposedly at the UAPC. 

    Arizona Phil 6 hours 13 min ago view
  • ERIC S: Best outing I've ever seen from Manny Rondon, and I've seen most of his outings since the Cubs got him from the Angels. 

    M. Rondon is competing with six others (Dylan Cease, Bryan Hudson, Jose Paulino, Pedro Silverio, Jesus Castillo, and Erling Moreno) for a starting slot at Eugene, and (as you can probably tell from the EXST box scores)  the competition has gotten fierce over the last couple of weeks, With the exception of Moreno, the Eugene SP candidates have upped their game lately, and M. Rondon's outing yesterday was especially impressive/dominating. 

    Arizona Phil 6 hours 15 min ago view
  • E-MAN: Pierce Johnsion was mixing a 92-94 MPH fastball with a plus-change-up AND curve, and he threw strike-after-strike-after-strike with all three of his pitches. I believe that was the best command and pitch-efficiency I've ever seen from Johnson, who often pitches from behind in the count and issues too many walks.  

    Of course now he has to avoid a recurrence of the lat strain (whch he has had previously in his career) as well as all of the other miscellaneous physical problems he's had over the last three years (hamstring, quad, back, etc).  

    Arizona Phil 6 hours 25 min ago view
  • PHIL: Any movement on P. Johnsons pitches? What was his "out" pitch? I know he was working on a 4th pitch, so wondering what he is looking like these days. Thanks.

    The E-Man 7 hours 8 min ago view
  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 11 hours 53 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 11 hours 54 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 21 hours 35 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 1 day 33 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 1 day 45 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 1 day 54 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 1 day 1 hour ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 1 day 1 hour ago view