If Joe Maddon summoning as many as 4 relievers in one inning drives you bonkers, please turn away from the screen. Opines The New Republic’s Tim Marchman, “as one watches the least glamorous World Series in recent memory, one should cheer that most despised class of ballplayer, the one-out situational specialist–the guy whose entire job is to frustrate players like Ryan Howard.” (link culled from Bucs Dugout)
(Tampa middle reliever Trevor Miller)
“The best starting pitchers are painters, carefully brushing the outer and inner edges of the strike zone with bold fastballs and delicate change-ups, varying their tones to meet the precise pitch of each hitter in each at-bat. Specialists are more like street vendors peddling airbrushed Barack Obama t-shirts. All the more reason, I say, to root them on.” While righty Chad Bradford is more like the guy flogging a size quadruple XL Mickey Mouse-as-Tony Montana tee.
For each of the last five years, Trevor Miller has averaged less than an inning per appearance, the true scarlet mark of the situationalist. Just this year, he made 17 one-batter appearances. (Phillies lefties Scott Eyre and J.C. Romero, luxury models who between them made $7.8 million this year, went in for another 25 between them.) His job may be the functional equivalent of that held by those random football players who pull down fat salaries for their skill at long-snapping, or of those benchwarming basketball players who stay flush by laughing at the point guard’s lousy jokes, but at least Miller does it well–in his 17 one-batter jobs, he let only two men on base. Who, anywhere, doing anything, succeeds that often?
Why jeer at Trever Miller? Here’s a man who can walk through the concourse in uniform during a game and go completely unremarked on, foiling the plans of a former Most Valuable Player and breaking the heart of Philadelphia, a city that deserves it.