Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Last Man Standing

Ricky Romero's unbelievably depressing odyssey of a season limped to its conclusion on Sunday when Romero, the self-described "last man standing", left with a sore knee. 

The post-mortems on Romero's season have been trickling out all September. Dirk Hayhurst wrote a post about his admiration for how Romero handled the struggles publicly:

I know that Ricky Romero is looking forward to the off season. After the year he’s had, he could really use it. I salute him for soldiering on despite what I’m sure felt like his entire baseball world crumbling down, into a crushing load, which in turn nested atop his shoulders for nearly the entire second half. Only an absolute idiot fan, the kind who think’s the men in uniform are nothing more than machines responsible for their entertainment, could look at the season Ricky has endured and remain oblivious to how much fortitude it takes to be a Big Leaguer who fails. Just thinking about the hell he went through this year makes me want to rub some dirt on a bruise and try to talk it off.

Romero was always there to talk to the press, to try and explain what was inexplicable. A lot of ball players, even ones with less success, would hide from the press. Romero's willingness to man up is clearly a point of pride for him. “I kept taking my shots and I kept getting up, you know? And as much adversity as I faced this year, I feel like it’s going to put me in a situation where it’s only going to make me better as a person and as a pitcher.”

Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star suggests perhaps Joe Maddon, manager of the Tampa Bay Rays,had a hand in Romero's dismal season because he publicly announced that he stacked his line up with lefties because lefties have statistically had their way with Romero. It's an amusing suggestion. Could you imagine the break down of baseball if it was just that simple? Dustin Parkes of Getting Blanked, breaks down Griffin's article, and mocks it pretty thoroughly. I don't agree necessarily with Parkes anti-intangible stance, but I certainly don't take it to the extent that some people do. 

Here is an actual breakdown of Romero's season from Baseball Prospectus, in far more nerdy detail than I would ever look into. I mean, there are tables, graphs and comparative GIFs. Science!

My theory is that Romero was Bastian'd. Jordan Bastian, former beat writer for the Jays who now covers the Indians, has this uncanny ability to break up no hitters just by paying attention to them. The phenomenon on Twitter is known as being "Bastian'd." I seem to recall Bastian being on vacation and away from Twitter when Verlander no-hit the Jays in 2011. His power is intense and real.

Back in April, Jordan Bastian made his pre-season picks for end of season awards and other markers of success. In his pick for the AL Cy Young, Bastian picked Ricky Romero. I remember this because I thought that was a bold, ambitious and unusual choice. Romero was completely, thoroughly Bastian'd. Science!

And to those who are convinced Romero got fat after he broke up with his girlfriend last offseason and tried to convince me of it over Twitter, my sources tell me that Romero isn't fat. As I suspected, the dude is a brick shithouse. 

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