Every team must have them.
The San Francisco Giants cannot be the only goliath that suffers such a frustrating curse.
If your favorite franchise falls victim to one, then you already know where I'm heading. If not (damn you) I'll explain: A Dr. Journeyman/Mr. All-Star is a phenomenon where an otherwise nondescript athlete sees the object of your affection coming and it changes him/her.
Said individual is transformed into a beast, leaving nothing but destruction and losses in its wake.
For our beloved Gents, the current iteration is one Scott Hairston.
Don't let his current season numbers fool you. A .327 average with eight home runs in 147 at-bats?
C'mon Scott, that's just beyond ridiculous.
Unless, of course, you bleed Orange and Black like I do. If that's the case, Hairston's 2009 season to date isn't quite as surreal.
(Sidenote: How worried would you be if you actually bled your team's colors? What a terrifying phrase.)
Scott Hairston is in his sixth season of Major League Baseball. He's basically split his time in the Show between the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres, never recording more than 339 at-bats in a single year.
Your average, everyday player gets about 550-600 official turns at the plate in a given campaign. That, by the way, is not a scientific figure—the leaders in the category usually tally about 700 at-bats while the mode looks to be somewhere in the low 500's.
Since registering the 339 at-bats in his rookie season in 2004, Hairston has posted the following totals in the same category: 2005—20 AB, 2006—15 ABs, 2007—263 AB, 2008—326 AB, and 2009—147 AB.
In other words, Hairston has not been a regular player. He's been a spot-starter and a platoon player, used when the matchup favored him or when the manager's hand was forced.
San Diego has given him the opportunity to play daily in '09 and, as mentioned, he was flourishing until a stint on the disabled list derailed him. We'll see what happens when he returns.
If his career numbers are any indication, there will be a correction.
In 1110 at-bats covering 387 games in his career, Hairston's hitting .257 with a .314 on-base percentage, a .468 slugging percentage, 64 doubles, 12 triples, 49 home runs, 141 runs scored, and 121 runs batted in.
The numbers are neither good nor bad, just plain old vanilla. Hairston has been a mediocre pro ballplayer in almost every definition of the word. There's a good chance you haven't heard of him if you don't follow the National League West.
Even then, you might not know the guy.
In San Francisco, he is Scott [expletive] Hairston:
—In 166 at-bats covering 56 games against los Gigantes, he's hitting .271 with a .333 OBP, .548 SLG, nine doubles, two triples, 11 home runs, 21 runs, and 23 RBI. Those are gigantic (I did) upgrades across the board.
—In '07, he hit seven taters—SEVEN—in only 50 official chances against SF hurlers.
—Before the injury bug bit him in '09, he was scalding SF to the following melody: 25 AB, 7 G, .440 AVG, .517 OBP, .720 SLG, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 4 R, 5 RBI.
The reality behind the gruesome numbers is much, much worse. Excruciating, in fact.
In his rookie season in 2004, Hairston went 2-for-5 with a dinger and scored the walk-off run to break a 10-game Giant winning streak. The previous night, he hit a two-run bomb in the ninth inning, but the game was out of reach.
During his Sherman-esque march through San Fran in '07, Hairston was particularly merciless. One night in September, he led off the ninth with a homer to cut a two-run lead in half.
San Diego would ultimately tie and win the game in 10 frames.
About a month earlier, with the baseball world waiting conflictedly for Barry Lamar Bonds's record-tying long ball, Hairston homered twice—a three-run shot in the eighth and a walk-off solo dong in the 10th.
He accounted for all four of the Padres' runs that particular evening.
In April of the same year, Hairston had already accounted for the winning margin over SF via another round-tripper, this time a three-run shot in the seventh inning.
The only difference was that it was for a different team (Arizona).
Let's not forget, that was Hairston's first homer in almost three years.
This year, Hairston has already made a game-saving catch, put a 4-2 game out of reach with yet another three-run bomb, and hit another long one to account for one of two runs surrendered by Barry Zito in a tough, complete game loss.
Sounds like a Giant Killer to me—in both the literal sense and the metaphorical one because of what Scott Hairston represents.
Baseball flotsam that goes unnoticed most of the year and often for years at a time, until it channels its inner Babe Ruth.
And then it destroys that one lucky customer.
Scott [expletive] Hairston...