Friday, July 22, 2011

Randy Wolf's Deal With the Devil

*I don't know where I got this idea, but I wrote this in about an hour. This is a poem based on "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" that suggests before/just after he signed with the Brewers, Randy Wolf made an illicit pact with Satan that allowed him to pitch better than his peripherals by stealing Zack Greinke's luck, only to have Greinke become his teammate a year later. I don't expect anyone everyone to like this, and am pretty sure this post will scare some people away from this blog. All I really care about is that I had fun writing it, and hope that mabye a couple people will find it funny. So, with interpretation when nessecary, here we go.

The Devil went to Indiana lookin' for a pitcher's soul to steal
'Twas Winter Meetings time, teams were waitin' in line to give guys free agent deals
When he saw a young man and his agent sittin' in the lobby, gettin' paid a lot
He jumped in front of the teams lined up and said, "Wolfie, let me tell you what..."

     In December 2009, the MLB Winter Meetings took place in Indianapolis, Indiana. At 33, Randy Wolf was still a fairly young man, which, along with his excellent 2009 season, made him a highly sought-after commodity. He and his agent Arn Tellem reportedly were reportedly being pursued by at least half-a dozen teams before signing a 3 year, 29.75 million dollar deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. At this point, he was certainly grateful and eager to prove his worth, so it's easy to see why Satan chose to approach him in this state.

"I guess you didn't know it, but for regression you are due
But if you don't care to play it fair, I can get some luck for you.
Now you've got a pretty good curveball, Randy, but you give up homers and walk a few
You'll pitch runs below your peripherals if you let me buy your soul from you."

Wolf said, "I know a man named Greinke, and I might be over my head.
Why don't you take his soul, he's just a Royal, but he's the best there's ever been."

     Wolf had an excellent 2009, utilizing his speed-limit curve to post a sparkling 3.23 ERA, but as a pitcher on the wrong side of 30 with a career ERA nearly a run higher, not to mention sporadic gopher-ball tendencies (when not pitching in roomy Dodger Stadium) and an occasionally high walk rate, he certainly looked like a candidate for regression. Knowing he was being counted on to anchor the number-two spot in the rotation, Wolf appreciated the extra help.
     However, he had grown somewhat attached to his soul, and didn't feel like giving it up. Happily, a suitable alternative, selling the luck of another pitcher, quickly entered his mind. He decided to propose to the devil that he screw over Zack Greinke, who would least be affected by the poor luck that would likely come with having one's soul taken. Greinke had just had a historic season, and even with a slight return to earth, would certainly still pitch well. In fact, taking some luck away from a young ace with four wipeout offerings and pinpoint command was only ensuring competitive balance, right? Even better, Greinke was signed to a two-year deal, and pitched for a team with no chance of making the postseason, so bad luck wouldn't affect Greinke's wallet or his club's fortunes. After realizing MLB had no laws about Satanic dealings, Wolf had cleared all the legal and moral hurdles in his mind, and took the deal.

(Chorus #1)
Zack, even if you walk no one and throw you fastball hard
Randy Wolf'll look better on the back of a baseball card
Satan don't care about your SIERA made of gold
You'll lose 'cause Randy chose to keep his soul

     If you are a believer in this theory (and just to be clear, I'm not), as long as the devil has Zack Greinke's soul, he will continue to get hit hard and give up runs, even if he strikes out ten guys and walks no one. Also, in accordance with the prophecy, Randy Wolf will continue to wriggle out of bases-loaded jams and have long flies die at the warning track as long as the devil makes good on his part of the deal.

And then Wolf signed with Milwaukee for 3 years in the show
Year one, more walks and homers, but his ERA was low.
2010, Zack pitched well again, but without the soul he dearly missed
Luck was not on Greinke's side; His line looked somethin' like this:

Next Winter, Doug Melvin thought Greinke could be his number-one
So he went and called up Dayton Moore and then the deal was done

     2010 went exactly according to plan. Randy Wolf baffled many observers, as he managed a 4.18 ERA despite preciptuous declines in all his peripherals. On the other hand, Greinke gave up a nearly identical rate of runs while faring better in almost every other department. However, Doug Melvin inadvertently ruined the plan by deciding Greinke would certainly return to form, acquiring the unfortunate pitcher in December. At this point, Randy knows his scheme backfired on him, as his team would now rely on Greinke's ability to prevent runs and (gasp!) a modest improvement in luck. A summer of sincerely cheering for Greinke, all while knowing he is doomed to the whims of Beezlebul, was not appealing to Wolf.

(Chorus #2)
The deal gets reported by Jim Breen
Zack Greinke's joining Randy's team
He misses bats, but the hits find holes
They hit, but don't score when Randy throws

Wolf walked toward Greinke's locker cause he wanted to come clean
He sighed, and went to tell him all about his scheme
And then Zack chuckled and said, "Randy, tell me that joke again.
You know those hits are cause of Yuni, he's the worst there's ever been."

(Chorus #2)
The deal gets reported by Jim Breen
Zack Greinke's joining Randy's team
He misses bats, but the hits find holes
They hit, but don't score when Randy throws

     After seeing countless well-executed Greinke pitches hit hard seemingly without reason, the guilt is too much for Randy Wolf, and he decides to explain to Greinke what is going on. After listening to Wolf confess to stealing his luck with the assistance of Satan, Zack Greinke breaks out laughing. He knew that his recent struggles were the product of the Brewers abysmal defense, namely shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, but is nonetheless amused that Wolf would concoct such an outlandish story for entertainment. However, Betancourt overhears Greinke's remark, and is decidedly not entertained by Greinke's low opinion of him. Suddenly motivated, Betancourt begins diving for balls, reacting with cat-like quickness, and saving countless runs with his strong, accurate throws. Greinke, helped by the newfound defensive support, posts a 1.29 ERA in August and September, pitching the Brewers into the playoffs. Wolf's luck holds up, baffling the statistically-minded. Also baffling, well, the world, is Betancourt, who finishes 2010 with a +76 UZR, and, in a move lauded by the sabermetric community, is awarded a Gold Glove. The Brewers go on to win the World Series. Everyone except Satan lives happily ever after.

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