One more knuckleball is one too many (guest post by Drew Farmer)

As I’ve been busy, I haven’t had the opportunity to post more regularly. In the meantime, here’s one from Fantasy Sports insider Drew Farmer.

One more knuckleball is one too many

By Drew Farmer   |   Twitter @DrewMFarmer   |   Facebook @DrewMFarmer

One more knuckleball is one too many… or perhaps one more season in the Big Leagues is too many. For former Major League Baseball player Phil Coke, the knuckleball was an attempt at preserving his Big League career. It was a chance for one more day in the sun as a member of the elite class of the boys of summer. Yet, one more knuckleball is one too many.

Coke’s dream of returning to The Show at 35-years old was spurred on by the befuddling pitch that defies bats, catchers’ mitts and the laws of physics. Coke hoped he could master the greatest pitch in a hurler’s arsenal for one more chance at MLB glory. It is the pitch few attempt and even fewer master. It is an uncontrollable slow-moving bastard of a pitch. But the nine-year veteran of the mound just didn’t have it and the knuckleball was too elusive.

Coke made his MLB debut with the New York Yankees as a relief pitcher. His stuff was average as his four-seam fastball hit the mid-90s and topped out at 97 on a good day. He was hittable, and for the most part, Coke’s ERA showed it. Good left-handed relief pitching is difficult to come by, however. The need for an arm to gobble up innings is a necessity and Coke played the role perfectly for the Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays. His success as a relief pitcher provided Coke with the chance to play in the Big Leagues as a journeyman. The need to play match ups late in games gave Coke an extended career. Perhaps one others haven’t been afforded.

Coke’s best season came in 2010 as a Tiger. He recorded a 7-5 record while posting a 3.76 ERA in 74 games. He also had two saves. But as the arm declined, so did Coke’s chances. Every season was a fight to stay with an MLB team. Every spring there was the fear of being cut. He had to perform on the days he was called upon. Two innings here, four innings there; whatever he could get was a chance to impress. It was also a chance to move closer to the exit, if he gave up runs.

After bouncing around the bigs in 2015 and 2016, playing for four different teams, Coke’s MLB career was finished. He went to Japan and pitched one season for the Orix Buffaloes. It was more of the same for the hurler, and after just one season, the club parted ways with Coke.

Despite registering a 4.56 ERA in Japan, Coke had one last go at an MLB career. In the spring of 2018, he attempted a comeback. He was accompanied by a new pitch; the unharnessed, unreliable knuckleball.

Coke hoped to make a club in spring training, but the best he could do was a contract in Mexico with Acereros de Monclova. The knuckleball didn’t last long, however. Coke was released less than two months after signing on with Monclova.

The lefty reliever wasn’t able to get the knuckleball to work and impress clubs. Nor could he get his knuckleball to defy the bats and batters in spring training or south of the border. The odds of returning to MLB with a new pitch in his mid-30s were always against him. Although Coke is still searching for a team that will let him take the hill just one more time, it looks like one more knuckle ball is one knuckleball too many.

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This is what I keep saying… but…

I keep saying in the press box at Nat Bailey Stadium, seven-inning games are the way to go… but everyone around me thinks, “Uhmm… NO!”

Ahhh, I guess I’m not the only one who has thought about how seven-inning games might be good for the game. Here’s an ESPN.com story discussing how Jim Kaat feels about this very subject!

Love it!

Appearance on TSN1040 – Apr. 26, 2018

I was invited to be in studio for Season 10, Episode 2 of Vancouver Canadians Game Day by host Rob Fai, along with four other guests (Lou Filippo, John Stewart, Niall O’Donohoe, Steven Von Vooght).

Here is the link of the show.

I was part of the first half hour as well as the final hour, where “The Bullpen Session” was in session – a round-table discussion about the hot topics in baseball.

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Talking baseball on TSN Radio

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I had the opportunity to talk baseball with Rob Fai last Thursday (April 19) as Vancouver Canadians Game Day made its 10th season debut. It wasn’t my best effort, but it’s always exciting to talk baseball.

Thanks to Rob for having me on in the first segment*. I strive to do better in future appearances.

*Not sure how long these links stay online, but I have downloaded a copy of the audio for my own collection.

Now available on Amazon.com + Rowman & Littlefield website…

Not much to say about the Super Bowl – the Eagles won, the Patriots lost, and life goes on. No matter what others say, the Super Bowl loss does not diminish New England’s run since 2001. It doesn’t tarnish anything that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have accomplished in New England. There will always be haters, so why waste time arguing with them?

In the meantime…

The 1988 Dodgers: Reliving the Championship Season is now available on Amazon.com and the Rowman & Littlefield publisher website.

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Here’s a review from Boston Globe‘s Bob Ryan:

Orel Hershiser IV…Kirk Gibson…the irrepressible Tom LaSorda…you know all about them. But Rick Dempsey, Mickey Hatcher, and Danny Heep—aka “The Stuntmen”—not so much. Now, thanks to K. P. Wee’s The 1988 Dodgers: Reliving the Championship Season, you will. This is the story of a very improbable and, yes, lovable bunch, the last LA Dodger squad to win a championship.
— Bob Ryan, Boston Globe, ESPN

The book is due to be released in August 2018, but all you sports fans out there can pre-order now! What a great gift for the baseball fan in your family!

NFL/XFL/Baseball Thoughts…

There’s really not much for me to talk about regarding the NFL. I’ve already long established the fact that I wanted a Brees-Brady Super Bowl matchup – and, in fact, have wanted such a Super Sunday for the past decade. Not much really to add, other than the fact that people who “hate” Tom Brady and the Patriots simply do not appreciate greatness. How can anyone hate greatness? And Brady has been loyal to his team, not switching clubs the way that other star athletes in other sports do on a regular basis. I mean, the way that LeBron James, for example, left Cleveland to go to Miami was disgusting, and you can hate that. Not only that, James has a losing record in the NBA Finals. Brady is 5-2 in the Super Bowl, and it easily could be 7-0. He’s been a winner throughout his career and was drafted at a position where he was almost an undrafted player. How can one hate a successful guy like that, one who began his journey as an underdog?

As for the XFL, count me as one of those who aren’t interested. A two-hour game is not real football, in my opinion. Gimmicks and all that aren’t real football. I applaud the concept of not allowing players to kneel during the anthem, but other than that, you’re talking about a low-tier league. Why would I invest time – even if it’s just two hours – to watch that?

The Hall of Fame in baseball… yes…. More and more, it’s the Hall of the Very Good, or the Hall with Voters’ Agendas…. I can’t agree with this year’s balloting results for the Baseball Hall of Fame… You know, the Hall is becoming a joke. Let’s talk about last year for a moment. Above, I referenced how Brady is hated by so many football fans… Ken Griffey Jr. was three votes shy of being voted in unanimously in 2016… but you have to wonder why there’s so much love for Griffey publicly by fans and the media…He essentially tried to undermine the Mariners organization by demanding a trade, and demanding to be traded only to Cincinnati. That meant Pat Gillick, the GM of the Mariners at the time, was put in a tough spot to try and make this deal happen. Yet, none of that comes up anymore today – or when the Hall of Fame voting happened. So, the number one pick who basically tried to sabotage his own team gets a free pass, but an underdog who leads his football team to greatness is hated all around. Yup. It makes sense indeed.

I’d been away from this site because I’d been working on my new book as well as working at my teaching job. Yes, I do read the major stories on ESPN.com every day, but I’m not one who sees the need to post every day. I’m a sports fan but I’m not obsessed. It’s kind of like how some of these major radio personalities decide to take the holidays off and not be on air when the big games are being played (ie. the NFL season in the final two weeks…where games with significant playoff implications are played). Why would I want to listen to their backups? I tune in to listen to these major personalities and their takes. If they’re going to be on vacation – and some do this a lot – perhaps I’ll go on a permanent vacation and no longer tune in. But anyway, you can liken my disappearance from this site to those personalities’ lack of being on air at various times. I love sports – but I do have a life and don’t post every day or every week.

A new week, a new scandal…

News broke late Monday night about three former-NFL-players-turned-analysts (including a Hall of Famer) being suspended by NFL Network because of a sexual misconduct lawsuit.

At least three other former NFL players (including another Hall of Famer plus an ex-Eagles quarterback) were named in the lawsuit, with sexually inappropriate encounters being alleged.

At this point, you will have to wonder how many more celebrities – whether they’re from the world of sports or the movie/entertainment industry – are going to be outed for their disgusting behaviors.

But if you take a gander on the Internet, you’ll see a bunch of men supporting their favorite NFLers – I guess because they’re men and they’re pigs, and they think women make stuff up. Here are a few examples:

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Clearly, a couple of people there seem to believe that we need to take these types of lawsuits lightly because – apparently – they’re fans of those ex-players. Or, they just don’t take this seriously.

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Ahhh…more people supporting the ex-players. A couple seem to be taking shots at women – or at least the woman in question.

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One guy was using the words “gold diggers” and “extortion”….

It’s remarkable how many sports fans in America will condemn guys like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens for allegedly taking stuff to keep performing at a high level. … and yet take the sides of athletes (and celebrities) for mis-treating women.

Bravo, all you men who support inappropriate behavior toward women. I’m sure your mothers are all proud of you right now.