Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Game 72: Hotel Arizona

In the world of Major League Baseball, particularly for a player of his skill level, Javier Vazquez is something of a transient. He's never made it to free agency but since he left the team he was drafted by and debuted with (which no longer exists), he's been traded five times between four different franchises - the Yankees, Diamondbacks, White Sox and Braves. His opponent tonight is perhaps the one of those clubs he is the least synonymous with.

Vazquez was of course dealt in the aftermath of the 2004 ALCS, along with Dioner Navarro and Brad Halsey to Arizona in exchange for Randy Johnson. Fresh off a horrific 51-111 season in '04, the D-Backs took a major step forward in 2005, improving by an incredible 26 wins and finishing second in the (albeit weak) National League West. There's only one way to go from a season in which you win less than one third of your games, but that's still pretty impressive considering they gave away 245 innings of 2.60 ERA starting pitching when the Big Unit headed to New York.

As was the case in New York the year prior, there were high hopes in Arizona for Vazquez. After all, even though he was already 40 at the time, they gave up a guy who won four straight Cy Youngs for them and had just finished second in the voting the year before. But just like with the Yankees, Vazquez's results were disappointing. Javy got the Opening Day start in front of the home crowd but allowed seven runs in 1.2 IP, en route to a football-like 16-6 loss to the Cubs. He followed that with another outing in Phoenix and surrendered six more runs and didn't pretty much nothing to endear himself to the fans.

Vazquez went on to throw 215 innings and made 33 starts that season but had an ERA just about league average and a record of 11-15. At the end of the year, he requested to be traded and was flipped to the White Sox for El Duque, future Yankee Luis Vizciano and current D-Back center fielder Chris Young.

Tonight's starter for Arizona is becoming a bit of a baseball vagabond himself. Dontrelle Willis is on his third team in four years, having been traded from Florida to Detroit, who extended him mid-season in 2008 for no apparent reason and are now literally paying the price for that after they flipped him to the Diamondbacks for Billy Bucker. This will likely be Willis' last year in the desert because his contract is up at the end of this season.

Vazquez's deal expires when the year ends as well and he will probably have to find yet another team too. Maybe these two pitchers will never have true baseball "homes", but feeling like they are perpetually on the road is something they'll just have to get used to.

Well I guess there's some direction maybe you can't see,
Even at the interview,
That's not something that I'm gonna get used to,
That's not something I'm gonna get used to,
Hello, can you hear?

Hello, that's all there is, that's all there is,
I guess all this history is just a mystery to me,
One more worried whisper right in my ear.
[Song Notes: I never really got into Wilco for whatever reason but last year, my friend who is a flight attendant told me that "wilco" is pilot's shorthand for "will comply" and that piqued my interest just enough to download some of their music. I listened to it and I am now an Aquarium Drunkard of sorts, you might say.

This isn't one of my favorite songs of theirs (this one that we used for Game 1 of the ALDS last year is), but these previews have always been more about what works for the storyline than our absolute favorite tunes, musically.]


Yankees:
As was the plan heading into the series, Cervelli returns behind the plate today and bats sixth. Nothing noteworthy other than that.
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Francisco Cervelli C
Curtis Granderson CF
Brett Gardner LF
Javier Vazquez RHP
Diamondbacks:
Kelly Johnson 2B
Stephen Drew SS
Justin Upton RF
Miguel Montero C
Chris Young CF
Adam LaRoche 1B
Mark Reynolds 3B
Gerardo Perra LF
Dontrelle Willis LHP

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for teaching me something and making me go and find out more. As a kid, I used the phrase "Roger. Wilco" while playing army or pilot or something. I'm sure I heard it on TV with someone talking through a walkie talkie or other two way communication device.

    I looked up "Roger" and therefore now know that I was saying, "Information received. Will comply".

    And to use it in a sentence (or 2):

    Joe (from dugout) - "Javy you need to pitch a good game tonght"
    Javy (from bullpen) - "Roger. Wilco."

    Here's hoping we don't hear "Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!"

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  2. I agree never much got into Wilco, but Kicking Televisions is a good starting off point if you wanna check out a double live album and see what you think. It's just good enough to make me want to give all their other stuff a try most of the time.

    As for this game so far, I almost feel bad for Willis seeing how far this poor kid has fallen.

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  3. Willis should get himself some handshake drugs and forget about this game.

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  4. Flight Attendant6/24/10, 10:10 PM

    Cracks me up ;) Paths aligned.

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