Virgil Vasquez learns a valuable lesson about suffering in baseball


photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

So, you know what happened. Virgil Vasquez made his major league debut. Virgil Vasquez already had to suffer the indignity of making his debut in a nationally televised ESPN game, which means that everyone’s first major league impression of him will be tainted by the inane ramblings of Joe Morgan and Jon Miller.

He then had the rest of his dignity torn from his body, shredded into tiny strips, ground into the dirt, peed upon, and handed back to him on the business ends of a bunch of Twinkie bats.

But he learned something very important! Something that he can carry back with him to the minor leagues, and that he will hopefully remember for the rest of his baseball playing days.

The best way to get away with terrible baseball is to play it in a crowd.

That way, not as much of the blame lands squarely on your shoulders. I mean, look at last night. When Vasquez left the game, we were throwing our hands into the air and bemoaning our fate. Then Grilli came in and got roughed up, and we started rending our hair and clothes. Then Wilfredo came in and got roughed up, and we began vomiting up blood. Then Jose Mesa came in and laid the final crowning rotten egg of shame on the evening, and by this time we were so horrified and shocked that we were just sitting there, stunned, as our eyeballs exploded and the eyeball goo ran down our ravaged cheeks.

By that point, we barely even remembered the offenses of Virgil Vasquez! Isn’t baseball a marvelous thing? Vasquez’s performance alone would stand out horribly in our minds, but with other performances just like it, it melts into a background of woe. Like penguins! One penguin alone is a funny, portly little chap, but a whole bunch of penguins together is just a seething mass of collective penguinflesh.

All kidding aside and in all fairness, we weren’t expecting much of anything out of Vasquez here. He was just up for the one start, and he was only ever supposed to be a place-holder. But even without EXPECTATIONS, I think it’s fair to say that we all had HOPES. We didn’t exactly dare to hope that he’d mow down a major league lineup, but I personally at least was hoping for some serious inning-eating, even if it was mediocre-to-bad in quality.

As we all know, this failed to happen.

One of the reasons why Vasquez’s bad (awful) start shouldn’t be held too much against him is that, once he left the game, our HOPE remained the same: someone needed to come in and eat some catdamned innings. That’s it. The game could be a writeoff. It’s gonna happen a few times over the course of a season. The remaining innings didn’t have to pitched spectacularly. They just had to be pitched. Preferably by mostly one dude.

Vasquez lasted 2.2 innings. Grilli lasted 2.1. Ledezma lasted 1.1, and Mesa lasted 1.2.

That’s a team effort of FAIL. If just ONE of those guys could’ve gone 5 innings, we would be in much better shape right now. And don’t think Leyland wasn’t trying to coax them through it, because he was. But there’s only so long a manager can leave a guy in there when he’s getting the oxygen beaten out of his blood cells.

‘Cause now we’re heading into Boston, and our bullpen is going to be all huddled up against the back of the Green Monster, sobbing quietly. And you don’t win ballgames when your bullpen is acting like a bunch of exhausted 12 year old girls.

SPEAKING OF THE BOSTON SERIES.

As you are all aware, I am a Massachusettian by birth and thus equal parts Red Sox and Tigers fan. I spend the summers in MA. More to the point, I AM GOING TO THREE OUT OF THE FOUR GAMES OF THIS SERIES AND I AM SO EXCITED I MAY HAVE A HEART ATTACK OF GLEE ON THE SUBWAY.

I leave in about an hour for tonight’s game, I’m definitely gonna be there Wednesday, and either Tuesday or Thursday (I’ll go to one, and my brother will go to the other). So posting may be sporadic and psychotic during this series, and I will take many photos, which will be entirely uploaded and organized probably not until the end of it. Just so you know.

If you’re going to be in Fenway, well, you know what I look like, and I’ll have the neon orange hat on. Come say hi!

4 responses to “Virgil Vasquez learns a valuable lesson about suffering in baseball

  1. I absolutely love your photo illustrations and your writing. Keep up the good work and don’t mind commentless entries — we read them all, but sometimes we are too intimidated to comment. :)

  2. Ha ha, thanks! And don’t be intimidated… I honestly can’t imagine what would be intimidating about this place, unless Chad Durbin’s pimp gaze worries you. Which, well. I suppose I could understand that. :)

  3. I’m really saddened to learn that Matt (what we all call my step-cousin at home) had such a rough start. I live abroad and just caught wind of his ‘cup of coffee’ in the majors. Baseball looks sooooo easy to fans- but it’s murder to play well. I hope Matt keeps his chin up and the whole team keeps on trying.

  4. I think he shouldn’t have any trouble recovering from this (and in fact I expect he has by now). It was never a ‘do well and you stay, do poorly and you go’ kind of thing. He was only ever going to be up for one game. I’m sure it was rough to have THAT be everyone’s first impression of you, ‘specially on ESPN, but Justin Verlander’s first start was awfully rough too… heck, Jeremy Bonderman’s first season was a series of disasters. Vasquez’ll be alright. :)

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