Relievers

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

You say tomato, I say tomato,
but few people still say Juan Acevedo.

People don’t mention him anymore—
nor do they talk about John Frascatore.

You blame Rosenthal and Oh,
and I say, well, Jeff Fassero

and Heathcliff Slocumb blew up for losses
as did oldsters like Tony Fossas,

late-career Dennis Eckersley
and anger-management Scott Radinsky.

You blame Broxton and maybe Cecil
but let me remind you of a little weasel

from Great Britain—no twirler quainter
than the dandy lefty Lance T. Painter.

He’d strike a guy out, comb his hair,
then rear back and walk a pair

only to give way to a righty schmuck,
the on-again-off-again Mark Petkovsek.

It was never over till the fat lady sang
or Duncan summoned Curtis King

or raised his right hand asking for
the fireballing walk-smith Rich Croushore.

What high hopes we had for Kiko Calero,
and how we depended on Ricky Botallico,

but try to recall their propensity to blow
the largest of leads. We may never know

the secrets shared between Jason Christiansen
and our longtime closer Jason Isringhausen,

but they both got worse as seasons passed
all but guaranteeing we’d come in last.

You blame Socolovich, and why would you not,
but think back a few years to Jason Motte.

You cry and holler over Tuivailala. Okay,
but what about Russ Springer back in the day?

Or our rent-a-retirees, Rhodes and Choate?
Fellas, there’s always been holes in the boat.

You hate on Kiekhefer, or you did for years,
but not every stopper can be Dave Veres.

Not every lefty can tow the line
as beautifully as Steven Kline.

Just—thankfully, they aren’t all Pat Neshek.
Thankfully, they aren’t all Steve Cishek.

Just thank goodness they don’t all start fires
like blackballed phenom Mike Mayers.

Most of them are just a one-inning filler
like the slightly misspelled Trever Miller,

and most of them will indeed be forgotten—
but that doesn’t mean they all are rotten.

• • •
 

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