When the report came in on Jose Alvarez’s first start, a twinge of regret hit me in the stomach.
4 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO, 1 HR and a loss.
I tried to talk myself out of it.
It wasn’t TERRIBLE. It was only one game.
But I knew it.
I had made a mistake.
The James Mungro Memorial Award sponsored by Videxio* has a splendid reputation. Mungro got quality minutes for the Colts. Chris Bootcheck became a force unlike anything the International League had ever seen. Even Jacques McClendon earned a “futures” contract with the Falcons.
Now, I had Alvarez throwing duds and besmirching the JMMA’s good name.
The International Pitcher of Mystery had conned me, just like he’d done the Tigers, Venezuela and probably a couple of other countries.
The regret stuck for five days. Then Alvarez made his second start. He threw six scoreless innings, struck out seven and allowed just two hits.
Two weeks into this journey I have more questions than answers.
Is Alvarez as good as we thought?
Ten innings pitched,a 2.70 ERA, eight strikeouts and three walks is decent but it won’t make him the leading-vote-getter in the AAA All-Star game.
Will James Schmehl ever respond to my inquiries about Alvarez’s supposed shoulder surgery?
My guess is no.
And, most importantly, is the picture I used for the last two updates actually him?
Jose Alvarez’s defense of the team’s bags has become legendary. It all stemmed from this AP photo from Spring Training.
The caption alleges that is Jose Alvarez.
The head shot the Toledo Mud Hens use of him is to the right. The Toledo Blade has pictures of him pitching (second row). Those two Jose Alvarezs kind of possibly maybe slightly resemble the Jose Alvarez guarding the bags, but can you say they are definitely the same person?
The International Pitcher of Mystery strikes again.
Honestly, I didn’t expect the third most prestigious award on the internet to last past one year. I didn’t expect two champions to have seasons going on simultaneously.
Now that it has happened, I’m not sure how to keep up with Chris Bootcheck without taking headlines away from Alvarez. But I can’t ignore the greatest champion the James Mungro Memorial Award sponsored by Videxio* has ever seen. He’s too entertaining.
Bootcheck has returned to Bootcheck-ing all over the International League, this time as a starter. In his only outing of the season so far, he pitched five innings of scoreless ball.
But that’s not where my delight comes from, at least not all of it. Speaking to his hometown paper, the mighty Northwest Indiana Times, Bootcheck went off on the Tigers organization.
“They’ll take velocity over pitchability,” he said.
Pitchability? How about bombdroppingability?
By giving zero s@$%s about anything, Bootcheck gives me more joy than any other professional athlete. When he retires, I’m bringing him in as a contributor. Maybe he can find some answers to the mysteries Jose Alvarez leaves behind.
*(Havard Rugland IN. THE. HOUSE! Note: Videxio hasn’t signed on as a sponsor. I’m giving them this one-time billing in the hopes that enough people click their link, they take notice, and they give me $5 (American) to officially sponsor the award. )