Not love in an agape type of way. I don't worship the guy.
Not love in a philos way. I don't know him from Adam. We aren't homies or buddies or anything of the sort.
And I certainly don't love him in an eros type of way. That's just...gross. "Not that there's anything wrong with that."
I think it's love in a hyperbole sort of way. It's an exaggerated like or favoring. Roberston is the type of player that any fan can get behind. He reminds me of how I played the game as a kid and in college. He leaves it all on the field, gives it 110%, squeezes out every drop of talent in him, goes all in, is just happy to be there and just hopes he can help the ball club...or any number of other sports colloquialisms.
The one label I'll use to describe him, though, is probably a dubious one: scrappy. This video should give you a good idea of what I'm talking about:
Seriously, though, to be called scrappy is almost a back-handed compliment. As if you're not talented enough to make it on your own. As if you, by some miracle, are playing above your potential. They say a scrappy guy gets the most out of what he's given. But it's more like he's just lucky or had the ball bounce his way. Unfortunately, that's the hidden meaning behind the label.
But what does it mean to be scrappy, in reality? To me, it's a guy who doesn't stop working. A guy who makes every pitch and every play count. A guy who's focused, who hustles, and who isn't afraid to sacrifice himself for the play. A guy who puts his teammates first. The guy who gets to the ballpark before everyone else and who is one of the last to leave. Someone who doesn't take the game or his ability for granted. A nose to the grindstone work ethic that translates to success on the field.
I believe the guy I'm talking about here is Daniel Robertson. Granted, he's only played four seasons of minor league ball. Granted, I've never seen the guy play, but I have listened to his games and have paid attention to what the announcers say about him, and I think most of what I posted above applies...if not all of it.
Then, there's the career MiLB numbers: .309/.387/.421 (.808 OPS). In four seasons, he's amassed 526H, 94 2B, 20 3B, 90 SB. He set the single season record for hits in the Northwest League in 2008 with 114. In 2010, he led all Padres minor leaguers with 160 hits and 95 runs. Just this past season, Robertson hit for the cycle against Midland. He finished that game with the four hits and six RBI.
He's no defensive slouch, either. In 2008, the led the Northwest League in outfield assists with 12. Over four seasons and 842 chances, he's committed 21 errors while accruing 60 assists.
Impressive resume, to be sure, but Robertson won't show up on any of the prospect lists. Why? It seems there are two reasons...his size and his age. Robertson stands a mere 5'8" and weighs 175 lbs. He's also 26. In this day and age, a player's frame has to be large, and their age has to be small. I get that...on some levels, but when a guy has talent, who cares? Talent plays.
There's a guy by the name of David Eckstein who made a career out of being scrappy. He also won plenty of awards, including a World Series MVP. It's sad that his name is used as a punchline at times. He deserves more respect than that, and so does Robertson.
Of course, maybe Robertson likes it that way. Maybe he doesn't need the fanfare. Most gamers don't. They let their game take care of itself. I don't know. Like I said, I don't know the guy, but I love him. I'm hoping he'll get his due.