To all the Detroit Hustlers out there I come to you with a proposition: defend your title.
Last year, we manipulated the Triple-A All-Star voting system and sent Chris Bootcheck to the game in Durham. It’s time to game the system yet again.
Voting for the 2013 Triple-A All-Star Game has been open for a couple of days now. Click the link. Vote for Jose Alvarez and Chris Bootcheck. Then do it 24 more times. When it tells you that you’ve reached the voting limit for that email address, use another one. It doesn’t have to be a real email. Just type a random sequence of letters, an “@”, more random letters and a “.com” to keep piling up the votes.
Unlike last year, I have no pretense that a good performance in the Triple-A All-Star Game will be the tipping point to a call up. With both players not on the 40-man roster, there is little hope for that. My campaign these two is much more well-intentioned this year: They deserve it.
It took all of spring training and a third of the season, but people are finally catching on to The International Pitcher of Mystery’s crime spree. He’s robbing hitters of their dignity.
Alvarez is second in the International League in ERA at 2.42. (He is behind the immortal Chien-Ming Wang’s 2.33.)
In the past two weeks he’s been named the biggest pitching surprise in the minors so far. (He wasn’t a surprise to us! Yeah! high five! *high fives computer screen*). “Alvarez has a case for best IL starter at this early juncture.” Goddamn right.
“Jose is in a very nice groove right now,” Dave Owen, the Tigers’ director of player development, told the Detroit Free Press, ”He’s throwing strikes with four pitches. He’s in a good place. He’s using his fastball more and has a very good change-up.” So Owen definitely knows who he his. That’s a good sign. I wasn’t sure that was the case last year with Bootcheck.
His K/BB rate has been examined. (It currently sits at 5.07). The statistic measures control and is considered an indicator of possible success at the next level.
Alvarez still has some mystery about him, but he’s no longer one to everybody outside of this site. We might as well introduce him to the rest of the world.
As for Bootcheck, he’s recovered after his eight-run disaster in the presence of Jose Alvarez’s Toledo Mud Hens. He threw two quality starts before suffering his first loss of the year on May 31, when he went just 4.1 innings, and gave up five runs. But two were unearned, and Bootcheck is still 5-1. He’s no longer playing a role in ‘Honey, I shrunk the ERA,’ but his 3.09 is eighth in the International League.
At 34 years old the man is still machine-gunning through lineups, and thanks to some Pulitzer-worthy reporting by John Wagner, we got to learn just how close Bootcheck was to giving it all up. The injury that ended his season last year prevented teams from getting a look at him in winter ball. Despite his tweets about preparing for spring training, he thought it was over. He had accepted a coaching position at an NAIA school. Then the Yankees called.
Bootcheck kissed his wife and children goodbye. He piled his Molotov cocktails, flame throwers and Tommy guns into the trunk of an unmarked black Lincoln Town Car, climbed into the back seat, and set out on his tour of revenge.
If you don’t want to vote for Bootcheck for his stats, make this a lifetime achievement award, a small payback for a game that has spent a good chunk of time screwing with him.
We’ve got a real chance to make a difference here. We can cement our legacy. Remember when Ichiro first came to MLB and all of Japan voted for him to make the All-Star Game the first 10 years he was in the league? Bootcheck and Alvarez can be our Ichiros. We can be the Japan of triple-A baseball. One year down, nine more to go.