Is it really a surprise to anyone that it took a day or two for Major League Baseball’s puppeteers to actually get any work done?
Hmm, let me think about this one. Need to get a lot done on a short deadline. I know, we’ll have the Winter Meetings in Las Vegas!
It took a day for the general managers to pull themselves away from Spearmint Rhino and the $15 All-You-Can-Eat snow crab special at the Imperial Palace.
But they are finally getting things done (aside from this whole Jake Peavy to Chicago deal).
In the past 48 hours, relief pitching has been the order of the day (or days technically because 48 hours is more than one day. You understand).
But lost in the shuffle was a move that perhaps means more to me than losing my Wood.
I learned of the news by e-mail.
“Mastny to Japan!”
The Cleveland Indians sold relief pitcher Tom Mastny to the Yokohama BayStars. Again, why do we care? Because Mastny is a friend of Rumors and Rants. He grew up with one of my roommates. I’ve let him buy me drinks and have played Catchphrase with him and the wife.
I remember watching with my roommate (the one who grew up with Tommy in Zionsville, Ind.) Game 2 of the 2007 ALCS. We were seated at the bar one of my favorite watering holes in the world, Nick’s English Hut in Bloomington, Ind.
It was the bottom of the 10th inning, the game was tied at 6-6. The Indians brought in Mastny to face perhaps the toughest 3-4-5 in baseball in David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez and Mike Lowell.
Now, we know Tommy is good. We saw him strike out A-Rod earlier in the season. But we also knew it could go the other way fast (in the same game three innings later A-Rod went deep off him). But Tommy came through in the clutch getting Ortiz to ground out and Ramirez and Lowell to fly out to right.
The Indians scored seven times in the top of the 11th and won 13-6. The winning pitcher of record: Tom Mastny.
Now, to be fair and balanced, I provide you some of the lows. On June 3, the Indians were in dire need of starting pitching because of injuries. Tommy, who was an All-America starter at Furman University, hadn’t started in years, but was given the nod at Arlington to face the offense-laden Texas Rangers.
My roommate and I went to a bar (surprise!) to watch the game with some of my roommate’s family members who remember little Tommy growing up.
It didn’t go so well. Let’s just say we barely got to bottle No. 2 from our bucket when things went south. Ian Kinsler opened the game with a single. Michael Young flied out. Then Josh Hamilton went lumberjack and went deep to left center, and I mean deep. A few pitches later, Milton Bradley decides to join the party and tees off to right center. A double, a single and a walk later, let’s just say it’s a miracle he made it out of the first.
But because they are so short on arms, Eric Wedge sends him out there again. Kinsler again leads it off with a single. Young goes down swinging (tiny victory). Hamilton is intentionally walked and then Bradley draws yet another walk. Bases loaded already down 4-0 and now it’s time for Wedge to pull our man.
That’s how his ERA for the 2008 season swelled to 10.80. He was a victim of circumstance. Took one for the team.
Now, he’s off to battle against the likes of Tom Selleck and the Chunichi Dragons.
“Any of you guys speak Americano? Jack Elliot here bringing you the best in Major League thrills for the fellas, and free moustache rides for the ladies.”
On the brighter side, Japan is getting the first Indonesian-born player to pitch in the big leagues.