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Undercover athlete
February 10, 2011 6:26 PM   Subscribe

One of the surprise stories of the NBA season has been the effective play of New York Knicks rookie Landry Fields. After four years at Stanford, his draft selection was at the time mocked, booed, and met with skepticism, but now he has Spike Lee sporting his jersey at nearly every Knicks game.

Non-sports fans may be more interested to know that he appears to be a World of Warcraft fan.

The video of Fields working at Modell's is part of their series of athletes working at a local sporting goods store and getting recognized (or not). Danny Woodhead of the New England Patriots and DeSean Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles have played along previously.

In case you're interested, a few Landry Fields highlights.

And if you've made it this far, here's a video of the Dallas Mavericks' J.J. Barea acting strangely at a sporting goods store.
posted by jng (42 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I just had a conversation with my husband about basketball that was at least a minute long. You're bringing people together, jng!
posted by spec80 at 6:50 PM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Tactical use of the leeroyjenkins tag.
posted by paisley henosis at 7:02 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meh don't fall in love. No doubt the Knicks lose him.
See also:
Lee, David
Ariza, Trevor
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 7:22 PM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Non-sports fans may be more interested to know that he appears to be a World of Warcraft fan.

So, you're saying he's a noob that overuses Charge in two different games?
posted by FormlessOne at 7:25 PM on February 10, 2011 [12 favorites]


And he worked at Modell's Sporting Goods for one day. Very funny. Charming dude.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:56 PM on February 10, 2011


He seems like a nice guy.
posted by nola at 7:56 PM on February 10, 2011


What NY fans see in Fields is similar to what we see in Jeter. Nothing flashy just a knack for doing all the little things that don't show up on the score sheet. He's a real throwback to when basketball was more of a team game (back when Magic and Bird ruled) as opposed to what it has become since Jordan - a game of isolation and superstars.
posted by any major dude at 8:16 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I'm in love.
posted by purenitrous at 8:39 PM on February 10, 2011


What NY fans see in Fields is similar to what we see in Jeter.

Oh, so you want us to hate him? Because I didn't until that remark.
posted by norm at 8:48 PM on February 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


What NY fans see in Fields is similar to what we see in Jeter. Nothing flashy just a knack for doing all the little things that don't show up on the score sheet.

Everything is measured in the score sheet, which is why Jeter's defense is consistently overvalued by people who don't read scoresheets.
posted by ORthey at 8:59 PM on February 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Everything is measured in the score sheet

Other than errors, no defensive metric worth its salt is in the score sheet in baseball. In fact, the traditional stats are especially favorable to Jeter.

"He made just six errors in 151 games, handled 547 of 553 chances flawlessly, and ran up a fielding percentage of .989, the best in the league."

It's highly advanced metrics and actually watching a game that tell you Jeter sucks (full disclosure: Yankee fan). Jeter can't get to balls anymore. His range is tiny. And you don't see that in a baseball score sheet.
posted by shen1138 at 9:13 PM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


ORthey, those who measure baseball by the scoresheet can never truly understand baseball because it's what happens between those lines that makes the difference between winning and losing. You'd think guys like Billy Beane would have figured that out by now with the failed empire he's built on sabermetrics.
posted by any major dude at 9:18 PM on February 10, 2011


It's highly advanced metrics and actually watching a game that tell you Jeter sucks

Granted, it's also with the naked eye.

PAST A DIVING JETER!
posted by xmutex at 9:19 PM on February 10, 2011


any major dude, every team now employs several sabermetricians. Why pick on Beane, who by the way built teams that won divisions? Would you consider Theo Epstein's empire to be a failure? Two World Series built largely on Sabermetrics?

Really, all I was saying is that we can measure pretty much everything. The idea that there are things players do that "don't appear in the scoresheet" is a fallacy. There's this romantic notion that players do things that are "intangible" and undetectable, but the reality is that it all gets studied and dissected. Which is awesome. That's a major reason I sports and baseball in particular.
posted by ORthey at 9:23 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Over the past five seasons, there's only been one starting AL SS with a lower UZR than Derek Jeter.

The love for Jeter is all about a handful of plays he's done in a handful of situations that belie his overall suckitude in the field. Jeter is to Yankees fans what a freak blizzard is to climate change deniers.
posted by dw at 9:31 PM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


The love for Jeter is all about a handful of plays he's done in a handful of situations that belie his overall suckitude in the field.

More key to the Jeter allure is that he makes would-be routine plays seem very dramatic by flinging himself about where a competent shortstop backs up, goes a few feet, and makes the play.
posted by xmutex at 9:32 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


And while Fields is fun to watch, dismissing him as just another "intangibles" guy like Jeter is wrong. A 14.7 PER for a non-LeBron level rookie isn't too shabby.
posted by dw at 9:38 PM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jeter has one of the strongest, most accurate arms ever for a shortstop. Very few shortstops in history would even attempt the jump throw from the outfield grass that he does routinely. He's been the foundation of 5 championship teams he deserves some respect.
posted by any major dude at 9:57 PM on February 10, 2011


It's really not too difficult to simply look at his stats. Sure, he's got a strong arm. He's a major league baseball player. He's fantastic. He'll probably be in the Hall of Fame.

But he's not a good defensive shortstop. He just isn't. Look at his stats.
posted by ORthey at 10:10 PM on February 10, 2011


employee of the month Leeroy Jenkins = awesome.
posted by mintcake! at 10:23 PM on February 10, 2011


He has the 25th highest fielding % in baseball history for a SS add that to the fact he's probably the best hitting SS of all time with one of the best baseball IQs I've ever seen (oh wait, can't quantify must disqualify) he's easily one of the top 5 players to ever play the position. To anyone who knows anything about baseball it's beyond debate that he's a first ballot HOF, the only question at this point is if he'll be unanimous.
posted by any major dude at 10:46 PM on February 10, 2011


only question at this point is if he'll be unanimous

Hahaha. Unanimous? Get real.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 10:51 PM on February 10, 2011


geez, let it go all of you and stop projecting your derision for Yankee fans on to a player who has been nothing but humble and unassuming his entire career.
posted by any major dude at 11:16 PM on February 10, 2011


What derision?

Tom Seaver holds the record at 98.84%.
Nolan Ryan 98.79%
Cal Ripken, Jr. is first among hitters at 98.53%

Babe Ruth? 95.13%
Willie Mays? 94.68%
Mickey Mantle? 88.22%
Cy Young? 76.12%

Tell me again that Jeter has a shot at 100% of the vote.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 11:40 PM on February 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


he's probably the best hitting SS

Actually, I'd say that honor goes to Honus Wagner who has a higher career AVG, OBP, OPS, RBIs, and SLG than Jeter.
posted by jaybeans at 11:59 PM on February 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


So is this post about basketball or baseball? I'm confused.
posted by markr at 4:12 AM on February 11, 2011


He has the 25th highest fielding % in baseball history for a SS

You know that if a SS doesn't get to a ball because their range sucks, they don't get an error for that right? It's also on those outlier balls (i.e., extended ranges) which exponentially increase the chance to make an error. Jeter gets to, and makes, most of the safe balls, and occasionally makes a spectacular play. Guys like Elvis Andrus get to balls all over the place.

he's probably the best hitting SS of all time

Surely you aren't serious. He can't even claim that he was the best hitting SS in the game while he was playing for very long.

- From 1997-2002 (and minus 2001), Nomar Garciaparra was the best hitter in the game. I mean, in the 1999-2000 seasons (arguably Jeter's best), Garciaparra was better in virtually every category:

Jeter: .345, 39hr, 175rbi, 41sb, 142 OPS+
Garciaparra: .363 (two batting titles), 48hr, 200rbi, 19sb, 154 OPS+

In 2003, before he got to NYY, A-Rod was the MVP as a SS. Also, he was a better hitter than Jeter up until that point, and has been his whole career, and only stopped qualifying as a SS because he was moved to Jeter's team.

In 2004, Miguel Tejada had 150 RBI. In 2005, Michael Young of TEX outhit him in every category. I think Jeter was the best hitting SS in 2006. That's the one year I can safely say that.

In 2007, Hanley Ramirez became the best hitting SS in the game; he's bested Jeter in virtually every batting category over that time and is just hitting his prime now. Ramirez's OPS+ over that time is in the 140's, whereas Jeter is in the high 120's. Not even comparable.

I like Derek Jeter, but he's won on a stacked team and put together stats that suggest he's been able to stay injury-free and in a great spot for a long time. You can't tell me, though, in 1996 when A-Rod and Jeter both hit the scene that, if their teams were swapped, we'd be talking about Jeter as the best SS of all time. It would be preposterous.
posted by dflemingecon at 4:27 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


geez, let it go all of you and stop projecting your derision for Yankee fans on to a player who has been nothing but humble and unassuming his entire career.

You know, you can separate the person and the claims made about them, and treat them as different. I'd shake his hand if I saw him, sure, but I'm going to argue if someone's walking around talking about being the best SS of all time.

Not everything is about Yankee fans, or their qualities. I've met rabid George Bell Toronto Blue Jays fans who exhibit the same blinders for their hometown players.
posted by dflemingecon at 4:32 AM on February 11, 2011


ANYWAY, GETTING BACK TO LANDRY FIELDS:

He really has been exciting to watch, and any rookie that consistently earns the praise of Walt Clyde Frazier like Fields does has to have something special (and, as others have intimated, something "old-school" and fundamentals-driven in particular). In a way it's a shame that Blake Griffin's undeniably awesome season is technically his rookie season, because absent Griffin (and given John Wall's injuries) I think Fields is very much in contention for Rookie of the Year.
posted by saladin at 4:43 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


IANAJF (in fact, I sort of hope Assange has a Jeter Steroid File), but I do think leadership is a way in which a player can contribute that isn't (as far as I know) measurable. Jeter gets points there
posted by TheShadowKnows at 4:56 AM on February 11, 2011


IANAJF (in fact, I sort of hope Assange has a Jeter Steroid File), but I do think leadership is a way in which a player can contribute that isn't (as far as I know) measurable. Jeter gets points there

I totally agree, but you need to give that some context too.

Jeter's been blessed to play with other leaders (Bernie Williams until 2006, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera, for starters) and has played on teams with multiple all-star calibre players who have won before. That's ignoring the hall of fame manager (Joe Torre) and other manager of the year winner (Joe Girardi, who as a player was a notoriously good leader) that he's played for. I do think, however, that leading in New York is very hard, so it's hard to really gauge how much harder it is for him than someone on a small-town club, but it's worth noting he's had a lot of help.
posted by dflemingecon at 6:00 AM on February 11, 2011


Also, just to contribute to, you know, the topic of the thread, Landry Fields is a pleasure to watch; a fundamentally sound player, who doesn't overextend himself, and who clearly has won over a very tough market. It's pretty fun to watch him play.
posted by dflemingecon at 6:01 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love the heck out of those Modell's bits. Danny Woodhead certainly looks more like a sporting goods salesman than a running back. I hadn't seen the other ones, so thanks for that.

pickinganame... has it absolutely right though, the Knicks seem to have mastered the trick of finding likeable, exciting, young players and then getting rid of them like they have mad cow disease. Here's hoping he ends up in the West, so I don't have to root against him so much.

Also, it does my Red Sox heart good to see a thread about basketball turn into a Jeter-bashing. I will say though, that out of all the Yankees I have had the pleasure of hating, he is the one that gets my begrudging respect, and always has. It was even kind of fun to think about the Red Sox signing him back when the Yankees front office seemed committed to forcing him out of town earlier this off season. Mostly because it would have driven Yankee fans insane from New Britain to Tampa.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:21 AM on February 11, 2011


There's a blog called Wages of Wins by the three professors of economics who are authors of a book with the same name.

As far as I can tell, these guys are better judges of talent than practically any GM in the country. They've figured out their own statistics for predicting production and they had Fields as the second-most productive rookie before the season started. (Blake Griffin was the first.)

The NBA and the media tend to overvalue points scored and undervalue scoring efficiency and rebounds, among other stats. These guys know what's up.
posted by callmejay at 6:58 AM on February 11, 2011


Gotta say, it's been quite a while, but the Knicks have my attention this year, and Landry's the reason. The last jersey I bought was #8 ... I might have to add a #6...
posted by thinkpiece at 7:17 AM on February 11, 2011


That jeter derail was awesome! I'm impressed guys.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:18 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


He's my second favorite athlete with the first name of Landry. But was Mr. Fields named for Tom Landry?
posted by norm at 7:24 AM on February 11, 2011


Look, I like baseball. But this is a BASKETBALL thread. Geez, if we're gonna hate, can't we talk about, I dunno, LeBron? No one seems to like him...
posted by maryr at 8:06 AM on February 11, 2011


What happens to Landry when Carmelo shows up?
posted by TheShadowKnows at 9:58 AM on February 11, 2011


What happens to Landry when Carmelo shows up?

He'll play the 2, suffer from a lack of touches and be dealt to another team once his value is reduced.

I don't know what happens to Gallinari though; he's not big enough for the 4 on a regular basis and would be blocked by superstars at both of his positions. If they can move one of Gallinari/Chandler for a proper defender at center and Felton works out, they'd have an OK squad, but I don't think any time featuring Anthony is going to be a winner. He's just not that productive of a player, similar to Iverson in that the raw stats don't show his subpar team value.
posted by dflemingecon at 11:39 AM on February 11, 2011


these guys are better judges of talent than practically any GM in the country.

While the Landry Fields call was great, the rest of the list is really uneven.

The next best rookies right now are John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, Greg Monroe. Other rookies of note are Ed Davis, Gary Neal, Evan Turner, and Wes Johnson.

The Wage of Wins list has some of those names, but in wildly different spots from their production. Wall and Cousins are substantially above everyone except Griffin in terms of productivity (although Greg Monroe is coming up). Meanwhile Jeremy Evans played 1 minute in his last game. Harangody averages 8 minutes a game. And its not just a matter of being on good teams for those players. Gary Neal is on the Spurs, and gets 20 minutes of burn a game on the best team in the league, but is nowhere on that list.
posted by shen1138 at 12:24 PM on February 11, 2011


Blake Griffin is really good (warning, the music in the first link is really annoying).
posted by norm at 12:43 PM on February 11, 2011


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