Two guys are sitting at a bar, watching Tuesday night's game. They're watching Jeff Samardzija pitch, throwing 95 with ease and reaching back for more when he needs it. They're watching hitters flail and come up empty.
First guy says, "See that guy? They're paying him $90 million dollars."
Second guy whistles. "Guess I got in the wrong business."
They both chuckle and go back to watching the game. Samardzija is hitting his spots, weaving in and out. And when he's not hitting his spots, it doesn't matter. The Reds can't touch him. He allows just three hits over eight innings.
The eighth inning ends, and Samardzija walks off the field. The second guy thinks for a minute and turns to the first guy. "Man, how much do you think they're going to have to pay him next year?
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© Grant Brisbee, 2016
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See the joke is that he's worth ... oh, just leave it. That's as well as Jeff Samardzija can pitch. That's the kind of sugar-plum game that was dancing in the heads of GMs on Hot Stove Eve. It's why he overshot the contract that professional pundits were predicting. All it took to start a bidding war were two teams to have this kind of outing in mind. There were probably more than two teams.
As long as we're in Reds country with a Reds frame of mind, think for a moment about Mike Leake. Back in November, I probably would have ranked him equal with Samardzija, roughly. He was younger and safer. Remember that word? There's a safety to the control artists, as if they're all going to age like Bartolo Colon.
Maybe we'll get to June, and Leake will be threatening Orel Hershiser's record on the same day the Giants don't have a first-round pick, and those thoughts will bubble up again. But with the benefit of hindsight (and the grace of no foresight), I get it now. Watching a man-mountain throw 97 by hitters while keeping his pitch count down is a lot of fun. Just a real barrel of monkeys.
The last time Samardzija got to play half his games in a pitcher's park, he made the All-Star team. That was my biggest hope this season, that he would use AT&T Park like a power-up mushroom. But we just watched him tear down a team in a hitter's park like it was nothing.
Granted, it wasn't Morgan/Bench/Foster up there. It's not like he didn't have challenges, though. Joey Votto is a pretty great hitter, after all.
ADD IT TO THE COLLECTION.
Man, this is my almost my favorite genre, and I can't put my finger on why. It's like he's expecting a fake punt and gets a baseball, and they're so rewatchable.
A batter later, Brandon Phillips had a similar pair of swings. They just weren't awkward. They were confused.
Long story short: Jeff Samardzija brought the good stuff to the game. He shared the good stuff. One team enjoyed the good stuff, the other team was less pleased. And suddenly 60 percent of the rotation is darned fun to watch.
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Didn't you read that hilarious joke up there? That part about $90 million isn't made up. That's a lot of money. And it's money that supposed to be paid in exchange for pitching services. Pitching requires knees. You need knees to pitch. YOU NEED KNEES TO PITCH.
The only positives to a pitcher breaking a bat over his knee is a) it looks rad, and b) this kid finally realized that baseball isn't as boring as he thought.
Watch him on the GIF. He has the biggest "cooooooooool" face going. He's a fan for life, as long as random Clegane-types break bats over their knees. Over their very, very expensive knees.
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We've seen this before from Buster Posey: a, nice, modest beginning to the season that turns into something you can see from space. Posey is 9 for his last 16, and none of his doubles on Tuesday night were bloops down the line. He's just about the streakiest Giants hitter over the last decade, capable of carrying an entire team and giving them the fear.
Take 2012, when he rolled into July with a nice, impressive season going. After not knowing how much he was going to help, he had an OPS over .800. That's super! And then he was as hot of a hitter as I've seen since Barry Bonds.
Posey was hitting .266/.336/.399 on June 5, 2014, and I sort of figured there was at least a chance that was the new Posey. Catching is hard. Hitting is hard. The combination of both is miserable. Then he was a maniac the rest of the way.
On May 1 of last season, Posey was hitting .263/.333/.388. Basically the same thing as the previous year. He hit .327/.386/.484 the rest of the way, punctuated with ludicrous hot streaks.
I'm not saying he has that kind of swing going right now. Just saying he has that kind of swing going right now. If he goes 0-for-4 tomorrow with three strikeouts, Bryan made me write this.
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I don't have anything against the Reds.
No! He's gone! It's totally fine now. Brandon Phillips can be amusing, and I'll always be a Votto fan. Billy Hamilton is a force of nature when he gets on base, and he's always worth watching in center. There's a lot of players I enjoy on the Reds.
So I'm not sure why I was so into them setting the record for most bullpen appearances with a run allowed. I really, really wanted them to have the record. I don't hate them! I just think, I don't know, if you're rebuilding, you might as well earn the Xbox achievements that go along with it.
And to set the record when Kelby Tomlinson hits a chopper off home plate? Give me a French-waiter-making-the-mwwwaahh-kiss sound with his fingers for that one. Just pure, glorious garbage.
I was so proud. And not of the Giants. Of the Reds. It took a lot of misery to set that record, and they can shove that misery up their snoots and let it fester until they win again. When that happens, fire rainbows will shoot out and smite the non-believers. It's the compact that every good fan has with a bad team.