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Random Matt Stairs Stats Tickle My Fancy

***Disclaimer: This post is most likely a waste of your time. But if you enjoy baseball stats about mid-level players presented for no evident reasons, then keep reading by all means.

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I’m sure I’ve said this here before, but you’ll see something completely new every time you watch a baseball game. Usually, that means when you see it live, but tonight, I saw something on TV that I just had to look up because it seemed impossible to have occurred before.

Matt Stairs recorded an intentional walk and a stolen base in the same game.

Why is that important? Why is it even interesting? I’m not sure. It’s neither to most, but it’s gotta have some appeal if  you are reading a blog post that you knew was about Matt Stairs.

There are certain players who randomly pique my interest. Zack Greinke is at the top because he is dominant, understated, has a great back story and the best baseball-inspired T-shirt ever. I love Francisco Liriano because I’ll never forget his 2006 season. I think Chaz Schilens will be one of the best receivers in football when his body stops betraying him.

On the other side of the coin, I like to smack on the likes of LenDale White, J.R. Smith, Ricky Davis, etc. because their personal perception of their ability is far greater than their actual talent.

I guess Matt Stairs falls in the middle somewhere. I don’t root for him. I don’t dislike him. But he does have a wondrous quality. He is the owner of a very average body and no athleticism. He can’t play the field, could never run much and can’t really hit any more but keeps getting work at 42 years old. He’s played for 12 teams and swings at an 80-degree angle. When he connects, he hits some majestic shots. He reminds us of the days when weight training and diets weren’t a big portion of MLB life. If only he and Rich Garces could start a one-on-one softball league, my life would be complete. Although, I forgot that I shouldn’t knock Stairs about his weight any more.

Stairs is still playing and actually starting for the Padres. He started tonight against the Dodgers and batted fifth. While you try to comprehend how Matt Stairs and David Wright hit in the same lineup slot in comparably bad offenses, consider this:

Stairs had 28 stolen bases and 58 intentional walks entering tonight, another day in his 18-season career. When he was intentionally walked in the third inning by Ramon Ortiz, I asked my father, “How many times do you think that’s happened to Matt Stairs recently?”

(Hey, gang! Here’s a fun fact: From 2004-06 and 2008-10, Matt Stairs was intentionally walked 19 times. But he was intentionally walked nine times in 105 games while with the Blue Jays in 2007. Why? Why are you still reading?)

Stairs made my mind explode when he successfully completed a straight steal of second against Jeff Weaver and Russell Martin in the fourth. For a guy with such little speed and a huge reputation as a pinch hitter, why would he ever need to be intentionally walked and when would he ever steal a base? Moreover, when would he do both in the same game?

I needed to find out! And I was saddened to discover that this isn’t something completely new for Stairs. He did the trick on April 30, 1998 as a member of the Oakland A’s. Now for a great blast from the past, the straight steal came off of Dave Burba and Sandy Alomar Jr. He got the free pass a few inning later from Jose Mesa. Man, I am so back in seventh grade right now.

Also, it doesn’t quite qualify, but Stairs was caught stealing in two other games in which he was walked intentionally: Aug. 23, 2003 and May 28, 2008. He must not have gotten a good enough lead. Yeaaaaaaaah, that must have been it.

What’s the point? I don’t know, but I find all of this intriguing. Abstract baseball numbers make me happy and if I can ever drop about 75o words regarding Matt Stairs’ inability to walk and run on the same night, I feel a strange sense of accomplishment. I’ll be attending Thursday’s Padres-Dodgers game and I’d love to see if Stairs could somehow pull this off in consecutive games. Unfortunately, the presence of Clayton Kershaw will probably force Stairs back into his familiar late-inning role.

I think this is the third or fourth time I've posted a picture of this shirt. And it's still a true beauty

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  1. Padrick
    May 22, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    This is, of course, wonderful.

  2. Rick Beck
    August 22, 2010 at 5:26 am

    Stumbled on your blog while looking up stats on my present idol, Matt Stairs. He set an NL pinch hit homer record last night against the Brewers. This is one of his best years ever as a batsman, he even started in left a couple of days ago and made a game saving diving catch! At 42 and still doing it. MY HERO! Bud Black stated that pinch hitting may be the most difficult role in baseball. Matt does it!

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