Two Sundays ago, I was called upon to fill this role:
Paul’s girlfriend was down here for the weekend, but he had to work a Riversharks doubleheader, so I stepped in and kept his squeeze company during the doubleheader. And I was a perfect gentleman.
But anyway, around the third inning of the first game of the doubleheader, we realized that we were sitting within shouting distance of the visiting Lancaster Barnstormers’ dugout and on-deck circle, so we decided to pick out a Barnstormer to heckle. At random, we selected this man:
This is Aaron Herr, the Barnstormers’ third baseman, and son of Barnstormers manager (and former Ozzie Smith sidekick) Tommy Herr. He’s a former first-round sandwich pick of the Atlanta Braves who is now a career minor leaguer. So we started screaming his name every time he came to bat or made a play in the field. And what started out as catcalling quickly turned into a bond. Suddenly he became our career independent minor leaguer, and we began to cheer for him. And sure enough, our scuzzy little cleanup hitter doubled to drive in the game-tying run in the second game of the doubleheader and came in to score the winner.
I got him to sign my scorecard after the game and I’ll probably root for him the rest of his career.
Now Aaron’s not the most proficient hitter (.257 as of this writing, with decent pop, but almost three times as many strikeouts as walks) or defensive player (he’s not playing third base so much as he’s fighting third base–19 errors), and he might walk around swearing to himself most of the time, but, you know what, I’m rooting hard for him to at least get his cup of coffee in the majors. Go get ’em, Tiger.
Our other minor leaguer of the week is a Dan Quisenberry clone named Chris Hayes. I make a lot of noise about how I’m going to drop the Phillies and start cheering for the Royals if they keep winning. Because, you know, only assholes root for winning teams.
Well, now they’ve got a right-hander with a Brad Clontz delivery on their AAA team. Now I love junkballers. There’s something about people like that who make me feel like I could make the major leagues if I had just learned how to throw a big curveball or a slurve when I was in high school.
But this junkballer’s got a blog. And it’s hilarious. And extremely well-written. There’s 2 reasons to like him. Third, he was a college teammate of J.A. Happ’s at Northwestern. There’s a third reason to like him. Fourth, the derivation of his nickname is probably my favorite of any active ballplayer (including B.J. Upton’s)–his given name is Chris, but he’s called Disco because his fastball, like the music, tops out around ’78.
Sixth, he’s an enormous stathead and actively tracks his own BABIP. Seventh, back to the blog, he lets his wife post periodically (no pun intended) and she’s even funnier than he is. There’s an ongoing feud (sort of like the feud between the Eagles and Cowboys, or between South Carolina and Florida football, since it only goes one way) between her and Lady Gaga over who has the right to take a ride on the “Disco Stick.”
Yes, I just embedded a Lady Gaga song in this post. Hey, my 13-year-old brother told me this joke: how do you wake Lady Gaga up? You p-p-p-poke-her-face, p-p-poke-her-face. But I digress.
This is not just the best pro athlete’s blog I’ve read, this is just quality humor and analysis (which, after all, is what blogs are about) full stop. I love this man.
So the next time you’re poking around the minor leagues, remember the names Disco Hayes and Aaron Herr, and pour out a little of your drinks to the god of making it to the majors for their sake.