Junior Guerra Staves off Pessimism
There should be a way to go back in time to fire baseball executives for egregious crimes against reason or decency. This power would need to be used sparingly and only by a team of extremely qualified time travelers and baseball thinkers. However, the firing should be aired for the baseball masses, so that we know not even time can protect the truly clueless from their comeuppance. One potential candidate, former is Angels manager Dick William. He knocked Nolan Ryan because, “The bottom line is wins and losses. Look at his record. It’s .500. It’s nothing.” This is a quote regarding whether or not to sign Ryan as a free agent. I don’t care if it was the 80’s, it was never okay to consider pitcher wins and losses when deciding whether to spend seven figures on a free agent.
Another prime candidate, former Brewers GM Sal Bando, should at least have his case reviewed for the crime of letting Paul Molitor walk, because, “He’s only a DH at this point.” He was also a future Hall of Famer and a premier hitter. Other players that were “just a DH” include Edgar Martinez, Frank Thomas, and David Ortiz. They were well known for dragging down their team’s success and leading to such things as multiple World Series titles and record setting win totals. Molitor himself went on to win a World Series title in Toronto. Sal Bando went on to pilot the Brewers into the wilderness of lost seasons, lagging interest, and me following Pedro Martinez’s run as the best pitcher alive just so I could get some joy out of watching baseball. Mercifully, Bando was fired in 1999.
I think about Sal Bando’s giant blunder a lot, now that the Brewers find themselves in the midst of another one of those rebuilding periods. I wonder whether I can handle another stroll through dispiriting losses and lack of hope that characterized the Crew from 1993–2008. Would I once again turn to following another transcendent player from another team thousands of miles from home? New Brewers GM David Stearns checks off all the right boxes to give fans hope, but he’s only in his first season running the show anywhere. He could end up being awful. Just like Sal Bando.
As much as the wolves of pessimism nip at my heels, I keep them at bay with Junior Guerra, the ace of Milwaukee’s staff. Before going any further, let it be known that being named “Junior Guerra” is a power move for likeability. I smile every time I say “Junior Guerra”. Even if he was a sub par pitcher, it would take an ERA north of 6.00 before I would even consider starting to think that maybe he should work on some stuff in Triple-A.
But, Junior is good. Two o’s don’t even do it justice for a guy like Guerra. He’s goooood. That’s 5 o’s good, scientifically proven to be the correct number of o’s to accurately describe Junior’s goodness. The Brewers are 8–2 when he starts, and he pitches like an ace. He gets past the sixth inning! Are pitchers even allowed to do that anymore?
Guerra is also thirty-one years old, which is young for a Trump supporter but OLD AF for a pitcher. However, most youth baseball coaches dole out more abuse to their own kids in one game than Guerra’s suffered in his professional career. He started as a catcher, and only started pitching in 2006 at the age of 21. In his ten years he has played in independent leagues in far flung places like Italy. Before this season, he pitched only four major league innings.
Also, I am thirty-three years old. When I was younger, I would have rolled my eyes at a story like Guerra’s. But now, pour out that saccharine directly into my mouth hole. Actually, just mainline it into my veins. I live for stories like this. Guy toils away at his love and turns out to be a late bloomer. Junior Guerra could just change his name to “Thirty-Something Baseball Fan Wish Fulfillment Vehicle” and no one would bat an eye.
Here’s where it gives me hope about David Stearns’s tenure as GM. The first signing Stearns made was Junior Guerra, claiming him off waivers from the White Sox. It was probably a bit of dumb luck, but teams need a bit of dumb luck once in awhile. Stearns knows what he’s doing folks. I’d let him scratch off all my lotto tickets, because he knows which one to pick. Even if that isn’t true, I doubt he will be dumb enough to denigrate a Milwaukee icon in the press. For this Brewers fan, that’s progress.