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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  • video of Maddon.

    http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561343809737202839-4

    always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.

    Rob G. 10 hours 18 min ago view
  • from Muskat:

    #Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs

    Rob G. 10 hours 24 min ago view
  • http://www.espn.com/espn/now?nowId=21-0561339391889382475-4

    Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.

    Rob G. 10 hours 29 min ago view
  • great defense

    Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.

    Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.

    I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.

    Rob G. 10 hours 40 min ago view
  • If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?

    Craig A. 10 hours 52 min ago view
  • #Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.

    Fun with FIP

    • J. Hammel   3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
    • J. Arrieta     2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
    • J. Lester     2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
    • K. Hendricks  2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
    • J. Lackey     3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
    Rob G. 11 hours 17 min ago view
  • zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k

    he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.

    crunch 11 hours 57 min ago view
  • JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.

    My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.

    Jackstraw 13 hours 9 min ago view
  • Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...

    billybucks 13 hours 26 min ago view
  • joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1

    not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.

    really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.

    crunch 13 hours 30 min ago view
  • Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.

    Eric S 14 hours 15 min ago view
  • Classic Scully - great stuff.

    Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)

    Eric S 19 hours 6 min ago view
  • Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:

    "And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."

    VirginiaPhil 20 hours 19 min ago view
  • When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.

    VirginiaPhil 20 hours 23 min ago view
  • If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.

    Jackstraw 21 hours 42 min ago view
  • cubs win...bryant with 7HR in his last 8 games.

    crunch 1 day 4 hours ago view