I’ve created monster.
Two weeks ago, I called on you, my beloved Hustlers to vote for Chris Bootcheck for the AAA All-star game, simply to reward the James Mungro Memorial Award presented by (the sponsorship is still open people) for making mashed potatoes of the International League.
You didn’t disappoint. Bootcheck leads not just relievers but all International League pitchers in voting. But today is not a time for celebration. It’s a call to return to arms.
So-called “prospects” like scrubs-du-jour Kevin Whelan and Mark Melancon are bound to have their big-league clubs use get-out-the-vote efforts to make a late charge. We can’t allow that. Vote for Bootcheck until they tell you stop.* When they do, change e-mail addresses (or make up a fake one) and keep voting.
Go. Do it now. I’ll wait.
Seriously, go do it.
OK, we’re back.
No we’re not. Go vote you idiot. You’re making me mad.
I know people like you, the ones who get this far and haven’t voted. They all have the same excuse, “There are thousands of votes. My measly 25 isn’t going to make a difference.”
That’s where you’re wrong. This isn’t the big leagues. Only player placement, not voting numbers were released to the public, which only means one thing. No one is voting for the AAA All-Star game. If they were, Minor League Baseball would happily release their record setting vote numbers.
So seriously, go vote. Exercise those amendments.
Now that you have, let’s look at whether Bootcheck deserved your precious votes.
He’s appeared in four games since we last met with him. In that second game, with a two-run lead over the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees** Bootcheck loaded the bases, gave up a double to tie the game, loaded them again and then walked in the winning run to blow the save.
Doubts crept in. Had my monster been misguided? Was the Frankenstein plot playing real-time on the internet?
Our old friend RHP didn’t ease anything as he started his next performance by walking the first two batters he faced.
Then he struck out the side to end the game.
That’s when I realized it.
Chris Bootcheck is getting bored. He needs to purposely blow a save and walk some batters to put him in another high-pressure situation. It’s the only thing left to do to show the Tigers he is ready.
He has more strikeouts than innings pitched. While his ERA took a small hit (again, likely on purpose), jumping to an even 3.00. He is tied for third in the league in saves while maintaining a better ERA than the pitchers he is behind.
Bootcheck needs our help more than ever. We need to accelerate his progress to the big leagues before he gets bored again and starts giving up grand slams just for the hell of it.
If that’s not incentive enough, I have another reason to vote. Surprisingly, it’s not his tweets, which have recently been solely inspirational quotes and advice. No, the illustrious NWI Times recently printed a Pultizer-worthy story about the journey of the Pride and Joy of LaPorte.
The Bootchecks and the Tigers have some history. Forty-six years ago, Bootcheck’s dad, Dan, was a pitcher in the Tigers system. His catchers? Jim Leyland and Gene Lamont.
“My best memories of Jim and Gene, you couldn’t put in the paper,” Dan Bootcheck said in the story. “They were excellent receivers.”
I’m not quite sure what that means, but that last part worries me a bit.
I know, I know. A lot of athletes have parents who were athletes. How many were also the recipients of a purple heart?
That’s right, Dan Bootcheck took a hiatus from baseball to serve in Vietnam, collected a Purple Heart for his service came back and raised a James Mungro Memorial Award presented by (Sams— just kidding we still don’t have a sponsor) Winner.
Do we understand what’s at stake here?
The son of quite possibly the most badass man on the planet could be brought back to Pop’s old drinking buddies. We can complete the circle of life.
Go vote. It will be the most important contribution you make to society today.
When I selected Bootcheck as the JMMA’s inaugural champion, I had no idea what I was getting into.
He might be the most interesting baseball player in the world.
*(They actually will tell you to stop after 25 times. A little window comes up and gives you a nice stern message that you’ve already voted the maximum amount of time.)
**(They would be so much scarier if they were Scranton/Wilkes-Boothe.)