I have a dream that one day in boardrooms high atop expensive office buildings general managers and owners will put aside their familiarity with a name and evaluate based on performance.
I have a dream that one day even a 33-year-old former Japanese-League minor leaguer is looked at for his play and not on his age.
I have a dream that my James Mungro Memorial Award Winners will actually make a ball club.
I have a dream today.
A dream that’s been deferred.
Shortly after I gave you the first weekly update on James Mungro Memorial Award Winner Chris Bootcheck, he took the mound for the final time during Spring Training. Sunday against the Phillies he came in for the ninth. Two came up, two went down, but the third batter, future-Hall-of-Famer Cody Overbeck, drilled a home run over the left field fence.
It just was the seventh hit Bootcheck had given up in seven innings and the first run, pushing the ERA from 0.00 to 1.29. But apparently Bootcheck was under a zero tolerance policy. Despite having the third best ERA (1.29) on the team for guys who pitched at least seven innings, the Tigers reassigned him to Minor League camp the next day.
Seriously, the Tigers are keeping Brayan Villareal over Bootcheck? Were they not paying attention to the double-fest that occurred every time Villareal took the mound last season? He finished with a 6.75 ERA, higher than Bootcheck’s 6.54 career ERA. This spring Villareal had a 1.59 higher than Bootcheck’s 1.29.
Call Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Gloria Allred and Jeffrey Figer. THIS IS DISCRIMINATION! We’re bringing the house. Physical and emotional damages are already documented.
Exhibit A: After receiving the news good old RHP Bootcheck took to twitter and started ripping off some cryptic tweets about leaving the game.
It started with “Proof that whenever u think ur out of options you always Have 1 more… It’s the door!!!” Shortley thereafter Bootcheck descended into a deep depression and started to becoming senile, eventually ending up tweeting a link to a site for some P90X rip off which may or may not contain viruses.
The Tigers did something to him. No man with a 1.29 ERA tries to leave the game or get in better shape. We’re getting at least the league minimum out of the lawsuit.
But money won’t be able to reverse the injustice that occurred. Bootcheck has to do that himself. IF he doesn’t leave the game, RHP will be in Toledo on Wednesday when the Tigers come into town for their final tuneup before opening day. Bootcheck has a chance to go head-to-head with the man who replaced him in the bullpen.
I imagine it will go something like this: With the Tigers up 2-0, Villareal comes in in the eighth and promptly starts a rally for the Mud Hens. Scrub No. 4 drives in Scrubs Nos. 1, 2 and 3 with a bases clearing triple. Villareal finally gets out of the inning, allowing Bootcheck to come into the game with a lead. He meets Boesch, Cabrera and Fielder in the ninth. After two straight ground-outs, he blows three fastballs by Fielder. As Bootcheck walks off the mound he stares and points at Jim Leyland for way too long, then gives a quick glance up to owner’s box to make eye contact with Dave Dombrowski.
Dombrowski gets out of his seat and rushes down to the field in order to tell Bootcheck he’s called up to the Big Leagues. But RHP is gone. He’s in his car, driving into the sunset, never to pitch again.
Or he’ll just pitcher in Toledo this season and I’ll give you weekly updates about an average, no-name AAA pitcher.
Either way, I still have a dream.