RU-49

FYI: The following Peanuts strips were not altered in any way. Charles Schulz was just that good.

I'll admit it. Just about every one of my Benitez Photoshops -- like Trumando or Animando -- are thought of independent of an Armando blown save. I'll make them, giggle a bit, and then wait like a vulture for the next blown save. Sometimes, I have to wait an entire offseason. I consider myself prepared for the failure. There is a bit of a ghoulish ambulance-chasing quality to it, but that's part of the job. If a quip or an insight can't be had, a silly little picture might do.

Allow me to switch gears for a moment, and I'll tie it all together. Everyone knows what Charlie Brown stands for. He's the ultimate loser. Every time he tries to fly a kite, it's eaten by a kite-eating tree. Every time he tries to kick a football, it's pulled away. So, if you're creating a situation where the ultimate loser is trying to close out a baseball game, how can you possibly have him blow it in super-loser fashion?

A home run? Bah. Even Eck gave up the homer to Kirk Gibson. Robb Nen walked off several different fields as opposing players circled the bases.

No, it would have to be something so ridiculous, yet so plausible, that it would convey the Ultimate Blown Save for the last person who should have been on the mound in the first place.

Seriously. Why was there any reason to have that strip in my collection of pictures? There wasn't. It's a ridiculous situation that would be impossible to imagine actually happening. Yet it happened. And I had to dig through Peanuts collection after Peanuts collection, hoping I could find it. I have about ten different Benitez-mocking pictures in the archives; other readers have contributed even more. But that strip was the one we needed to have on call. Luck of the draw, but I failed to foresee just how low Armando could sink.

Armando Benitez can not pitch under pressure. A closer's job is to pitch under pressure. It's like having a police officer who doesn't believe in using force, or a veterinarian with a fear of dogs. The Mets fans were being loud and insulting; Armando wanted to shut them up. He couldn't. It was the Ultimate Blown Save for the last person who should have been on the mound in the first place.

You had to admire it in a way. It was kind of artistic.

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