When is a comp not a comp? When it’s a baseball comp.
You’re sitting in your favorite cafe, buried in Rob Neyer’s most recent JABO column. A petite brunette woman strolls in. You stare at her for an unreasonable amount of time as your brain tries to engage. She reminds you of someone, but your mind’s puzzle pieces are scattered and you just can’t sync them. Eventually, she splits, latte in hand. Frustrated, you lock back into your computer screen.
Hours later, you’re petting your dog and sucking on a cigar when bam, Minnie Driver! That woman at the java joint reminded you of Minnie Driver!
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Notice what I didn’t say. She didn’t look like Minnie Driver, and you won’t be expecting to see her at the Academy Awards. I said reminded you of. It was the way she moved, her countenance, perhaps a sharp feature or a smile.
Baseball folks rely on their catalog of memories to describe what they’re seeing. Wil Myers standing tall in the batter’s box isn’t Evan Longoria’s twin, but if you watch his mannerisms, you’ll inevitably be struck with the desire to link the two. Devour enough pitchers, you’ll eventually utter the words, "That dude’s delivery reminds me of Robb Nen. See how he taps his foot?"
I go through this song and dance so I can say Dustin Ackley’s swing reminds me of Wade Boggs with the assurance you won’t be tweeting me to say: "You’re bananas, Kapler. Ackley isn’t as good as Boggs."
It’s visceral. Ever see a baby that conjures up images of an old man? They may both wear diapers, but that’s the only tangible similarity.
When I make a comparison, it will be crystal clear, deal? Here, I’ll start. Mike Trout is as good or better than Willie Mays.