The bi-weekly Bootcheck update wasn’t due until next Wednesday, but this is an emergency. Unless Chris Bootcheck gets called up in the next two days, he could be finished with the Tigers organization.
The Northwest Indiana Times had the breaking news. Bootcheck has a July 15 opt-out clause if he’s not called up. If he is called up and sent back down, he has to clear waivers, and come on, a talent like that isn’t going to last long on the wire. The Tigers only choice is to call him up and keep him up. Yet, they’re scared of the smashing success he could be and refuse to do that.
RHP’s agent has already started contacting other teams. To make matters worse, the NWI Times speculates he could go to a division rival. The White Sox used an all-rookie bullpen the week before the All-Star Break. A veteran would help. And if there’s one thing Bootcheck is, he’s a veteran.
If the James Mungro Memorial Award Winner joins the White Sox and then closes the ninth in the one-game playoff that sends Chicago to the playoffs instead of Detroit, bad things are going to happen to the walls, remotes and TVs around me. I’m filing a lawsuit against the Detroit Tigers for damages.
He’s a Disney movie waiting to happen. Jimmy Leyland, give him a shot, just one shot.
In other RHP Bootcheck news, he saw just three hitters in the AAA All-Star game which the Pacific Coast League may or may not have won 3-0 over the International League. I pretty sure that’s right, but I’ll never waste time actually looking up the score of a AAA All-Star game. I need my precious time to do things like scour the contracts of 33-year-old minor league pitchers.
It was the first time I’d ever seen Bootcheck pitch. It was … strange. The outing started well enough. In a 3-2 count, Bootcheck threw a high fastball past some hitter who is never going to make the majors, falling off the mound as soon as the ball hit the glove and taking a few strides to left with the swagger I always imagined he had.
The next hitter tripled off the wall. The one after that popped out to short, which ended Bootcheck’s day. None of that was extraordinary. It was Bootcheck himself that was unusual. He challenged my preconceived notions about life and pitching.
I expected to see some indication that Bootcheck was indeed older than 98 percent of the people in the game. When the MLB Network sideline reporter interviewed the modern day Crash Davis, the all-time leader in minor league games played and home runs whose name may have been Mike Hessman but I’m not going to look it up, he had a grey beard and wrinkles around the eyes that indicated he’d been through some battles. Bootcheck, with his uniform hanging off him like a flannel shirt does on a scarecrow, just looked like a normal minor leaguer. And his windup didn’t do anything to dissuade people.
Justin Verlander is smooth with his movements. Everything works in perfect unison. With Bootcheck everything starts out alright, then there appears to be some catastrophic mechanical failure which results in him just heaving the ball towards the plate.
The steps are all fine, but when it comes time to move the ball out of the glove, chaos ensues. Bootcheck doesn’t bring the ball back as much he just drops his glove and fires. It’s fascinating. I’m sure the deception it creates helps him, but how he generates any power is a miracle of the human body.
I would recommend seeing him, just so you can turn to the guy next to you 85 times an inning and ask “How the hell does he throw like that?” But I would hurry up. He won’t be in the Tigers organization for long.