Kerri: I was approached recently by Ryan Edmund of Long Drive to help him with a piece for his newest statistic. It was inspired by this article, which discusses a much underappreciated method of scouting players: the size of his butt. My job was to do exactly what we here at CDTLB are trying to convince the world that women don’t do—judge a list of players solely on their looks. While I hate to perpetuate the stereotype that all female fans care about is what a guy’s butt looks like in a pair of baseball pants, I couldn’t let Ryan down. This was all in the name of (pseudo)science.
After compiling a list of 20 MLB position players and 10 pitchers, I found two pictures of each (one head shot and one view from the rear) to be judged on three different categories: First Look, Behind the Scenes, and Overall Dreaminess. The “First Look” category encompasses the typical features: hair, eyes, smile, facial hair, dimples…but I’m getting ahead of myself here. “Behind the Scenes” will, of course, grade the player’s butt on a scale of 1 to Pat Burrell with a bonus point if he wears high socks—inspired by fellow high-sock enthusiast thekdotcom. “Overall Dreaminess” is that pin-up boy quality, the guy who could double as a Backstreet Boy on off days, the player whose cheers are just a little more high-pitched than the rest. So for the time being, I’m going to pretend I know nothing of these players’ batting averages, ERA’s, and all those other silly numbers and judge them on a purely superficial basis. I will also do my best to remain impartial and ignore my allegiances to some players as well as my loathing of others (you’ll notice there are no Mets on this list, even I can’t be that unbiased). Today, all I care about is what their butts look like in a pair of baseball pants…I think I may be on to something here.
Ryan: I’ve put off writing my portion of this article for so long now. My original idea would be a fun write-up that my girlfriend and I could do together to subvert and parody the notion that “girls just like baseball for the guys.” I picked a list of 50 random-ish baseball players that we whittled down to the 30 at present, and we’d see if the best players have the best asses. We’d make some jokes, she’d fawn over Pat Burrell, I’d make fun of his UZR, make some more jokes, and we’re done. The term “Overall Dreaminess” or the word “dimples” never came up once.
That was three weeks ago. After literally hours of searching for the perfect pictures and writing, then re-writing descriptions of the players, Kerri sends me her portion to do my part. I’ve read it, and frankly, I’m speechless. I’ve never been so self-conscious in my life. This is a girl I’ve been dating for almost a year and a half and it turns out I have absolutely NO IDEA what she’s attracted to in guys.
I’m a broken man, and the only way I can cope with issues like this are with some stats. I’ve broken down each player to a few tell-tale statistics to illustrate either a positive or negative booty correlation. Since the Slate article only deals with asses, so too shall we. A positive booty correlation indicates a good player with a good ass or a less than stellar ballplayer with a less than stellar behind. A negative correlation indicates a mismatch; either a bad player with a good butt, or a good player with a, uh, not good butt.
Kerri: For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you know my disdain for Hunter Pence. Unfortunately, when he’s posing for a picture, he’s not too bad-looking. I still have to take into account all the times I called him ugly in my score, but his smile in the below picture is worth a point and a half. Regardless, I’d still rather look at Hunter Pence from the back.
Ryan: This troubles me. As she mentioned, Kerri friggin’ hates Hunter Pence. She’s called him ugly about a thousand times, and all of a sudden… he’s good looking? I guess she must have a soft spot for weird-looking guys, that would at least explain why she’s into me.
Kerri: He’s got a nice smile, and nice eyes; the caterpillar eyebrows are the only thing keeping Jim Edmonds from being a 3 from the front. He’s got a little something trying to peek out there in the rear, but hardly worth a second look.
Ryan: What’s not to love about Jim Edmonds? He’s a veteran player who proved that even after a two-year layoff from the game, he still had the Stuff to make the Brewers 2010 squad out of spring training.
Ryan: Tough call, here. Isringhausen is a pretty average player, but I’m going to have to call this a negative correlation because of his average numbers but his below-average hinder.
Kerri: Two words-Rec Specs. Seriously, this guy is making millions of dollars a year and he can’t afford LASIK? Or at least contacts? Things get infinitely better when the glasses are removed. That said, things also get infinitely better when he turns around.
Ryan: I threw this guy on the list because of those Rec Specs. I wish Ker would have dug a little deeper on pictures of this cat, because The Professor has some heinous tattoos. But I’m not going to tell him of our findings, lest he body-slams me.
Kerri: What can I say, I’m a sucker for a nice smile. Plus he’s got a reddish beard, and I’m always happy to support a fellow (kinda)redhead. Despite our beloved Harry Leroy being the inspiration for all this butt-judging, he’s not quite at the head of the pack in that category, but he’s pretty damn close.
Ryan: A two and a half? Damn. Tough crowd.
Ryan: Look, he’s not a bad player by any stretch of the imagination, but a career OPS+ of 84 to a perfect score of three for his caboose? Sorry Ingey. That makes for a negative correlation.
Kerri: I tried to leave hairstyles out of the equation since players are, more often than not, wearing hats. However, I had to make an exception for good ol’ Joe Blanton. I’m pretty sure the all-over porcupine spike is best left in 1999, Joe. Then there’s the weird almost-neck beard/goatee thing, not a good look for anyone. The back is pretty uninteresting but, hey, high sock bonus!
Ryan: I’m torn here: I like JoeBla, but at first look he’s looking like a negative correlation waiting to happen. But I’m pretty sure that if I put on a Phils uniform, I’d look pretty much exactly like this guy from the back, (Yeah. I wear high baseball socks.) Seriously Ker, a 0 on first look?!
Kerri: I wasn’t expecting to score Prince so highly, but upon closer review, I found that he’s pretty pleasant to look at. However, the baggy pants make it difficult to judge his “assets” but we’ll just assume there’s something there.
Ryan: Great hitter, bad dumper.
Kerri: As much as it pains me to admit it, Scott Rolen will always hold a special place in my heart when it comes to cute baseball players. As a Phillie, he was one of my first player crushes (and also the first player I absolutely hated once he left). I won’t lie, he mostly just loses that half a point for having a weird smile in this picture.
(Editor’s note) O’Malley: I practically wallpapered my bedroom with pictures of Scott Rolen as a kid. I had a jersey, at least three of his tee-shirts, and my mom, grandmother and I would always wear our Rolen gear to the games. Approved. Also, shut up, Ryan.
Kerri: I’m almost positive this is the only expression Vicente Padilla is capable of making (or at least the only one ever photographed), and I’ve gotta say, it ain’t a pretty one. After seeing what my search for a head-shot of Padilla yielded, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to see a rear view. Instead, I chose to feature him in a position more natural to him than pitching—getting into a fight on the mound (in this case, Nick Swisher appears to be his intended target).
Ryan: True story, I’ve been misspelling this guy’s name as “Loshe” for years now. Am I retarded, or dyslexic. YOU BE THE JUDGE!
Kerri: I get the feeling Roy Oswalt would be pretty cute if he ever smiled, but the below photograph is the happiest picture that was available on Google images. Oswalt loses points for apparent grumpiness.
Ryan: What does Roy Oswalt have to be so grumpy about? If my team bought me a $200,000 tractor I’d be smiling ear to freakin’ ear.
Kerri: Derek Jeter is a pretty hard guy to hate, and if he weren’t a Yankee, it’d be completely impossible. The fact that I couldn’t find a single picture of him where he *didn’t* look good speaks volumes. From both directions, he’s certainly a sight for sore eyes.
Kerri: Goofy smile, boring stubble, eyes aren’t bad I guess. I much prefer the rear view when it comes to Konerko.
Ryan: In no way am I going to imply that Konerko probably has backne from doing steroids, and I’m certainly not going to say anything about how that would have affected his score. I’m not going to say any of that stuff because I certainly don’t think he did steroids. At all.
Kerri: I’m almost certain that Nick Johnson could pass for a lobotomy patient with that glazed-over expression of his. Not like his uncle and king of the “yelling at the umpire for fucking up” face, the infamous Larry Bowa.
Ryan: You know who Nick Johnson reminds me of? Edgar from Men In Black.
Kerri: The gaptooth, the excessive bling, the hat cocked to the side – no good. C.C.’s got something going on from behind but the pants are far too baggy to make any definite conclusions. Basically, it’s just all wrong here.
Ryan: CC gets a negative correlation here. One of the decade’s most dominant pitchers has, according to my girlfriend at least, a disappointing derriere.
Kerri: When I first started following the Orioles in 2009, I bought a Nick Markakis shirsey instead of Brian Roberts because I didn’t want to be one of “those girls” that likes a player because he’s cute. Boy was I mistaken. With those big brown eyes and the perfect amount of stubble, Markakis may just be the hottest thing out of Baltimore since Jim Palmer.
Ryan: They don’t call him “The Greek God” for nothin’. Fun Fact: That Jim Palmer link? Yeah. The original plan was to recreate that picture, just starring myself. We didn’t do that. You’re welcome.
(Editor’s note) O’Malley: I think I’ll be buying a Markakis jersey tomorrow. Or moving to Baltimore. Or Greece. Or wherever I need to. Sorry, Jayson.
Kerri: I’d never looked at Jim Thome in this light before, but the dimples were a nice surprise. His face isn’t bad either.
Ryan: Ol’ Jim Jam. Still mashin’ taters and breakin’ hearts even after all these years.
Kerri: Sure, Dontrelle’s got a nice smile and all, but the sideways, flat-brimmed hat just isn’t a good on-field look.
Ryan: I’m almost positive Kerri added the “on-field” modifier to the statement above because she knew I’d comment about how much she hates this one Phillies hat I have that I keep flat-brimmed. Also… a 3? Damn. D-Train got back. A few years ago, before playing in Detroit, Dontrelle probably could have walked out of this with a “positive” correlation. But he hasn’t been nearly as dominant as he was with the Fish and his stats have all dropped precipitously so I can’t in good conscience call him good enough to live up to that “Behind the Scenes” score.
Kerri: As a Phillies fan, of course I’m biased here. But I’ve even had a Yankees fan admit to me that Chase is, indeed, “foxy.” Females of all ages swoon at the mere thought of #26. Sure, I could do without his game day hairstyle, but that’s why they wear hats (that’s why they wear them, right?).
Ryan: Dear Chase, I feel like I can call you Chase because you and me are so much alike…
Kerri: Upton gets a half-point high sock bonus for wearing them every once and a while.
Ryan: According to Kerri, Zauny might not be the best lookin’ dude in the world but all those years squatting behind the plate have really rounded out his glutes. Fun Fact: Gregg leads all active major leaguers in Gs/LFN: “Gs per Letters in First Name.”
Kerri: Ben Zobrist will do just fine in the world as long as he NEVER rocks a Mohawk again.
Ryan: Zobrist’s zobutt is zogood.
Kerri: Do I really need to explain Pat Burrell’s score? He’s got gorgeous eyes and an irresistible smile, not to mention what is arguably the best butt in all of baseball. The entire female population of Philadelphia (and some of the males too, I don’t judge) wept a little inside when Pat wasn’t resigned by the Phillies. Thankfully, we still have the “Man or Machine” photograph to remember him by.
(Editor’s note) O’Malley: Meh.
Kerri: There you have it. I’ve officially looked at and analyzed pictures of baseball players’ butts far more than is probably healthy (not that I’m complaining).
Ryan: Well folks, what did we learn today? Yeah. Exactly. Jack shit. But if nothing else, the Baseball Ladies got an excuse to ogle some ball players and there’s nothing you can say about it because, well, it was all in the name of statistics.
And just a quick word to the people at Baseball Prospectus: We’re here waiting for you call. You know where to find us.
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