Knucklesland, Writing

Knuckles Report: Week 10

It’s a funny thing about baseball — that when you’re not looking, suddenly, you realize some hitter you’ve never heard of is tearing up the place and a pitcher you’d left for the scrap heap has resurrected himself to look like the guy you once upon a time kept for three years in a row even though, strategically, it made no sense.

But I realized something else: I am influenced by the official player headshots each one has. I find I give them backstories in my head so quickly that they take on that persona and I then I talk about them as though they are exactly who I’ve narrated them to be.

Jake Fraley:
Jake here likes hunting and fishing, went to school at LSU, probably got into some sort of Crawfish Club, and often shows up late to batting practice because he had a fresh pig on a spit somewhere.

Manny Machado:
Manny dogged it to first base that one year so all the flyover states would ignore him due to his “low work ethic” and he could spend his time in San Diego instead. This is the face of a man who knew exactly what he was doing.

Chi Chi Gonzalez:
This picture was snapped the moment they told him he has to face the Padres at Coors this week.

Matt Harvey:
I’m actually surprised that Matt’s picture isn’t of the back of his head, turned at the correct angle to watch one of the billion home runs he’s giving up fly out of the ballpark.

This leads us to the Players of the Week!

Starling Marte:
Starling’s headshot doesn’t quite look like the guy who led our league in hitting last week, but it does look like a man who escaped prison (Pittsburgh) only to wind up in a very hot halfway house (Miami) to which he is simply making the most of by slashing .339/.434/.548. Yet another player I’m thrilled is NOT on my team.

Craig Kimbrel:
You all heard me make fun of my dad during our draft for picking Craig up. It was humor born of sadness that he had fallen so far from the Kimbrel that I used as a top 3 keeper for three years running because I was actually convinced no one could even see the balls he threw. Then for two years with the Cubs, he had WHIPs of 1.60 and 1.43 and I felt no confidence when he came into ballgames.

And yet on Sunday night against the Cardinals when the walking muscle flex of Tyler O’Neill came to bat with a runner on and 2 out in the ninth, I remembered Craig’s headshot. And that is the headshot of a man who is sort of smiling but mostly mocking your sheer ignorance at being willing to think you might be able to catch up to the fastballs that are coming. His headshot says, “2013 me is back. Get out of my way.”

Have a good week, everyone!

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