Jayson Werth is an interesting guy. Not wired quite like most ballplayers. You get the sense that there’s a lot going on above and behind that beard of his. Wheels are always turning. Because sometimes you get quotes from him which don’t come out of the cliche factory.
Take his views on hitting as described in Adam Kilgore’s article in the Washington Post the other day. Werth’s friend Raul Ibanez told him that if you can hit you can do anything. Werth expands:
“Just because you can do something else doesn’t mean you can hit. If you can hit, you can do anything. Because it’s the hardest thing to do. There’s nothing harder. I can bake a cake. I could figure out a way to do algorithms. But a guy that knows how to do algorithms could never hit. It’s literally the hardest thing to do. If you can do the hardest thing, you can do anything else . . . There’s nothing harder in the galaxy,” he said.
Werth is married and has two kids and, based on my own personal experience at least, he had best not say such things around his wife lest he be forced to swallow and then pass a bowling ball as a means of approximating childbirth. Oh, and then take care of the bowling ball by himself for several years as his wife spends six or seven months at a time out on the road trying to hit baseballs. I feel like, eventually, his wife would be able to hit one of those baseballs. I question how well Werth would do with the bowling ball.
But we could say this about any number of things. Maybe the childbirth analogy is a bad one. Pick any other ones. I’m sure you can imagine many. Which isn’t to say that hitting is easy. Far from it. Most of us couldn’t make contact on batting practice pitches if we were given 100 chances. But it is probably the case that anyone who says that a thing they do at a hyper-elite level is the hardest thing to do in the world is worthy of your skepticism.
People are the absolute worst sometimes. The latest example: someone stole one of Jose Fernandez’s high school jerseys, which had been displayed in his old high school’s dugout for a vigil last night.
That report comes from Anastasia Dawson of the Tampa Bay Times who covered the vigil at Alonso High School in Tampa yesterday. Her story of the vigil is here. Today she has been tweeting about the theft of the jersey. She spoke to Alonso High school’s principal who, in a bit of understatement, called the theft the “lowest of the low.”
The high school had one more Fernandez jersey remaining and has put it on display in the school. In the meantime, spread this story far and wide so that whatever vulture who stole it can’t sell it.
In an earlier post I made a joke about the Indians starting Dennis Martinez if forced to play a meaningless (for them) game on Monday against the Tigers. On Twitter, one of my followers, Ray Fink, asked a great question: If you had to hand the ball to a Hall of Fame-eligible pitcher to give you three innings, who would it be?
The Hall of Fame-eligible part gets rid of the recently-retired ringers, requiring a guy who has been off the scene for at least five years, ensuring that there’s a good bit of rust. I love questions like these.
My immediate answer was Mike Mussina. My thinking being that of all of the great pitchers fitting these parameters, he’s the most likely to have stayed in good shape. I mean, Greg Maddux probably still has the best pitching IQ on the planet, but he’s let himself go a bit, right? Mussina strikes me as a guy who still wakes up and does crunches and stuff.
If you extend it to December, however, you may get a better answer, because that’s when Tim Wakefield becomes eligible for the Hall. I realize a knuckleball requires practice to maintain the right touch and subtlety to the delivery, but it also requires the least raw physical effort. Jim Bouton went well more than five years without throwing his less-than-Wakefield-quality knuckler and was still able to make a comeback. I think Tim could be passable.
Then there’s Roger Clemens. I didn’t see his numbers for that National Baseball Congress tourney this summer and I realize he’s getting a bit thick around the middle, but I’m sure he can still bring it enough to not embarrass himself. Beyond the frosted tips, anyway.
So: who is your Space Cowboys-style reclamation project? Who is the old legend you dust off for one last job?