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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  • btw...Thanks AZ Phil. I'm really enjoying your take on this trade.

    Cubster 14 min 16 sec ago view
  • I'm a bit disappointed on the Warren experience. Essentially they gave Castro away for crickets (OK, well they signed Zobrist with the Castro salary dump). Otherwise one might look at it as Chapman for Castro and our #1 minors prospect (Torres) + McKinney/Crawford. Seems pricey for a 2 month rental. We will see if this price tag is that steep in a relative way based on the remaining deadline deals for relievers.

    Cubster 14 min 44 sec ago view
  • Yep. One of the great things about this team (in addition to being really good at baseball) was the "likable" factor. Feels a bit different now. Who knows...maybe Chapman will be the king of the dance parties.

    billybucks 23 min 33 sec ago view
  • Here are some possible corresponding minor league moves we might see in the aftermath  of the Chapman trade: 

    SOUTH BEND to MYRTLE BEACH: OF Donnie Dewees and INF Bryant Flete  

    EUGENE to SOUTH BEND: OF Robert Garcia and INF Vimael Machin 

    There is really no reason to replace Billy McKinney at Tennessee because both Chris Coghlan and Jorge Soler are doing their rehab at Tennessee.  

    And there are plenty of pitchers at Iowa. No need to replace Warren at AAA. .  

    Arizona Phil 43 min 43 sec ago view
  • I am 70 years old. The Cubs last played in the World Series in 1945. I was born in 1946. I hate to lose a prospect like Torres, but when the opportunity is there to get that World Series ring, you go for it. This was the idea in stock piling all this young talent. I would like to see Reddick added now and the Cubbies should be done.

    Hagsag 1 hour 14 min ago view
  • I would expect Richard to accept an optional assignment because based on how he's played this season, there is a decent chance that he won't find work elsewhere. Rather stay and potentially get a ring. Same goes for Coghlan since he's struggled mightily this year.

    Edwards should not go down. He's pitched very well and Maddon is very impressed with him. I would expect Grimm to go down for Cahill so he can get back on track (he's pitched better in July, but he's not getting enough appearances).

    chitownmvp01 1 hour 17 min ago view
  • chitownmvp01: Indeed Clayton Richard would seem to be odd man out once Chapman reports, but Richard might accept a minor league assignment if he is promised a return to Chicago on 9/1 when MLB Active List rosters expand (Richard has minor league ioptions left).

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 20 min ago view
  • The only player in the deal that would cause me a second thought is Gleyber Torres.

    McKinney and Crawford are decent prospects but both are redundant/replaceable in the system and Warren was really only a middle-reliever or #6 starter, so to me it's really just Torres for Chapman.

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 41 min ago view
  • There is no Comp pick for players traded mid-season. 2+ months of Chapman is it.

    mbauer 1 hour 43 min ago view
  • to get one of the best you have to give up one/some of your best...but it's a bit painful to watch the system's best prospect walk for any 2-3 month rental, especially one that's not an everyday player.

    crunch 1 hour 45 min ago view
  • I assume Chapman will replace Richard on the roster, but who goes down when Cahill gets activated? Maybe Grimm?

    And when Soler and Coghlan get healthy, how do they fit them on the roster when they're ready to be activated?

    chitownmvp01 1 hour 49 min ago view
  • We are giving up a lot, but it's not like we're trading Addison Russell for 2+ months of Jason Hammel. When impact players become available, they are going to cost you. The other bids could also have been high.

    Having Chapman as a rental is potentially less disruptive than having him come in with an extension in place. 

    CTSteve 1 hour 50 min ago view
  • Billy McKinney had season-ending knee surgery last August and came to Minor League Camp this year somewhat restricted. (He was used mostly as a DH in Cactus League Minor League Camp games), and I'm not sure he's 100% right now (he's repeating AA, and his XBH numbers are way down, like he's not getting good rotation in his lowev half). That might have been part of the reason why the trade wasn't completed right away.

    Arizona Phil 1 hour 58 min ago view
  • Rashad Crawford was a basketball star in HS (he was known as "Baby Jordan", and baseball was only his second sport) and he has plus-speed and athleticism, so when the Cubs drafted him (Keith Lockhart was the scout)  he was seen as a long-term project.  

    I was at Fitch Park the day that Rashad Crawford became a LH hitter, He waa never a switch-hitter, He went directly from being a RH hitter to a LH hitter, which I had never seen before. 

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 6 min ago view
  • I'm with Rob G and Johann here. It's not about Chapman as a pitcher. I just don't want to have to block out a real problem (the domestic violence) in order to try to enjoy the frivolous ball and stick game.

    Charlie 2 hours 14 min ago view
  • ROB G & BOB R: You're right. The QO can only be extended if the player spends the entire previous season with one club, so only the Yankees could have offered one to Chapman (if he wasn't traded). If an Article XX-B FA is traded during the season, the new club can't offer a QO. .

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 14 min ago view