NOTE: This starts out about football, goes into an observation about Twitter, but then turns to baseball, I promise.
So last night Brett Favre throws an interception that costs his team a trip to the Super Bowl. You think he’s going to be ripped for it, but within minutes of the game ending the ESPN talking heads are launching right back into that “he’s like a kid out there/he’s a gunslinger” baloney. The best one was Tom Jackson who said “That’s the thing about Brett Favre; he’s not afraid to throw an
interception. That’s one of the things I most admire about him.”
I thought that was some of the best suck-up-inspired denial of reality from a commentator I’ve heard in ages, so I quickly tweeted the following for laughs: “That’s the thing about Bill Buckner. He’s not afraid to muff a grounder. That’s one of the things I most admire about him.” Worried that people may not get the joke, I applied a #FavreRulesForAll tag on it. I giggled to myself for approximately four seconds, shut my computer down and went to sleep.
I woke up this morning to find that the meme had been picked up (the tag improved to #ESPNFavreRulesForAll). Between 11pm and 5am this morning, hundreds of people had made thousands of “That’s the thing about [infamous
person] he’s not afraid to [make a big historical failure]. Gotta respect
that.” posts. Most were pop culture related. My favorite was Will Leitch’s “That’s the thing about France: It’s not afraid to build a war plan around the Maginot Line. Gotta respect that.” It was lightning fast. It was kinda brilliant. By dawn this morning
it was utterly played out, at least on Twitter. There is something glorious about that.
Anyway, though it may be and old joke, lo these eight hours later, I’m inspired to think up more baseball examples of the Favre treatment. The first one that comes to mind is “That’s the thing about Fred Merkle. He’s not afraid to miss second base on a game-winning hit, get tagged out to cost his team the pennant. You gotta respect that.”
I’m sure you can think of your own. Best ideas in the comments, please. Bonus points for Jeter. Bonus points for “he’s like a kid out there.”
In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.
Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.
In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.
In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.
Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.
The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.
Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.
“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”
Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.
MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.
It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.