"Give me 25 guys who fight. Give me that over talent."
I've seen a hue and cry in some places for the Pirates to keep Minky around as long as they can as a sort of coach on the field, to see if he can impart some of his fire and desire to the other guys on the team, and I'm OK with that, I guess, as long as he's still on the field.
But if he really believes what he said, I don't want him as a coach anywhere else, because he's full of brown stuff. This isn't football, where you can perhaps overcome your physical limitations by being more willing to throw yourself headlong into mayhem than the other guy.
(A side note, I was thinking the other day about a guy I knew in high school who started for our football team as a 5-foot-4, maybe 150-pound linebacker. Like a lot of little guys, he overcompensated: He had a Charles Atlas physique and was one tough sumbitch, but for all that he was never going to win a slam-dunk contest against Julius Erving -- and yeah, I know about Spud Webb, but never mind.)
Baseball's far more subtle than that, and really doesn't call for any physical interaction between opposing players. It requires hand-eye coordination, and timing, and patience, and some thought, and being willing to fight at the drop of a glove means nothing in those areas. There are a million morons in America who think they know how to fight (ask any cop how many he runs into on a weekend), and they can be entertaining to watch, but there are only a few hundred who can hit major league pitching with any consistency.
In short, give me talent, and if we're playing a team full of Minkys we'll kick their asses eight or nine out of 10 times. But I'm not sure Minky understands this. I'd fear that a coach Minky or, worse, a manager Minky would show a preference for guys like him over guys who can actually, you know, play ball well. And we'd have gritty David Eckstein at shortstop.
It's also why I don't get agitated as some of us do when guys like Tracy and Russell never leave the dugout to argue. When someone can offer me more than anecdotal evidence that this sort of grandstanding actually wins ballgames, I'll join the chorus.