As is custom, President Obama welcomed the reigning World Series champion San Francisco Giants to the White House yesterday. Usually those meet-and-greets are really brief and cursory, but given all of the debt crisis ugliness, I wouldn’t be at all shocked if Obama hung out with the Giants for a couple hours yesterday, trying to get his mind off things. I probably would.
Most notable during the visit: Brian Wilson and Tim Lincecum — who are unique enough as it is — looking like a pair of terrorist/assassins once they were given suits and ties and placed in an official setting. Seriously, look at that pic and tell me that Wilson isn’t imagining eating Obama’s liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti. Or at least trying to make us all think that’s what he’s thinking because he has a reputation for edginess to uphold. Frankly I’ve lost track of whether we’re supposed to be shocked by Wilson, tired of his calculated weirdness or if we’re back to simply enjoying it. These trend cycles can be difficult to navigate.
Also notable: the Giants presented the president with a number 44 jersey. My first thought when I saw that was that it wasn’t too respectful of Willie McCovey who had the thing retired in his honor, but then I read that he gave it the OK. Which, given that McCovey is supposed to be a pretty awesome guy isn’t too surprising. If 44 had been Will Clark’s or something, though, there could have been trouble.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.