Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Fathers' Day, Sal Butera

The Sal Butera Principle holds that the best job in baseball is backup catcher. He plays infrequently but without high expectation when he does play. He is basically asked to avoid screwing up. A reserve catcher who can avoid flubs will last a lot longer than his stats would suggest.

Like Sal Butera, who got nine seasons in the majors without ever getting 200 plate appearances in a season; he hit .227/.302/295, which is to say that Nick Punto had more power. And, maybe, like Drew Butera.

The younger Butera was one of the heroes in Saturday's bizzaro Twins win at Philadelphia, cranking a pinch-hit homer in the 10th inning.

The elder Butera, now a scout for Toronto, was at the game in his professional capacity. It was, according to the Star Tribune story, the first time S. Butera has seen D. Butera in the majors. And I think he can be forgiven if his professional demeanor cracked when his son homered.

Not screwing up may be the key nugget of the job description. A clutch hit once or twice a year doesn't hurt either.


Results of the Stephen Strasburg prediction poll: Twenty-six responses. One (4 percent) said he'll win at least 300 games; 1o (38 percent) said 200 to 299; 10 also picked 100-199; and five (19 percent) said less than 100.

The new poll is up. It relates to the Monday print column.

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