Man Crush of the Week: Phil Coke
I was at the first two games of the ALCS at Yankee Stadium this week and got to witness first-hand the absolute disaster of a person who throws things for a living that is Jose Valverde. This is nothing new if you had ever watched one of his games before, but now it actually mattered.
In Game 2, after the Tigers went up again behind dominance from Anibal Sanchez, they turned to Phil Coke in the 8th. And he threw so well they kept him in for the 9th as well and shut down the Yankees.
For those not familiar with Coke, as I imagine most people would really have no reason to be unless you follow the best parody account in sports, he is that one lefty reliever in baseball that seems to emerge every year who is not only hilarious in his own wacky way, but he is all the sudden really good too. Despite righties nearly hitting .400 against him in the regular season, he’s now the closest thing the Tigers have to a closer.
Come Game 3 when the Tigers were clinging to a one-run lead and last week’s Man Crush/postseason legend Raul Ibanez up, he threw a beautiful 3-2 slider to strike him out.
And it only gets better when you watch this press conference. When he’s asked what he was thinking about when he threw the pitch, his response was, “Don’t hit it, don’t hit it, don’t hit it.” Classic.
When he’s asked what he was thinking about when he threw the pitch, his response was, “Don’t hit it, don’t hit it, don’t hit it.”
The Tigers aren’t the most likable team in the world. After all they do employ Delmon Young and sadly he’s one of their best players. But they have become very fun to watch lately.
The world needs Phil Coke. And by the looks of it, there’s going to be a like more Phil Coke in our future.
Douchebag of the Week: Alex Rodriguez
I touched a little bit on A-Rod last week when talking about Raul Ibanez. And I like A-Rod. I respect greatness and for the majority of my life, he was the greatest player in baseball. Plus when I was a kid he signed an autograph for me. Seemed like a good guy.
Turns out A-Rod has always been a douche. We can talk about the Madonna stuff, the centaur again (I will mention this in every article I can), the steroids, whatever you want. But A-Rod has always seemed to genuinely care about winning and being the best player he could be, to the point where he puts too much pressure on himself and struggles, namely in the postseason.
There’s another thing that happens when a guy has been the best player for the majority of my life. He starts to get old. At 37, A-Rod is not a great player. He’s been terrible for the Yankees and to the point where he has not only been benched twice in the ALCS, but also not called on to pinch hit when a guy pitching let righties hit nearly .400 against him in the season (see above).
But the real downfall for A-Rod happened when he was pulled from the game he started flirting with some fine women at Yankee Stadium and it reached the point where, during the game, he sent them a baseball with a message on it to get their number. I call this move the ‘Juan Uribe’ after seeing Juan pull this off at a game years ago. But A-Rod is not Juan Uribe. A-Rod is the highest paid player in this history of professional sports and had a microscope on him at all time. Naturally a Yankee official caught A-Rod doing this and they aren’t super pumped about it.
The next thing you know trade rumors of A-Rod being sent to the Marlins are everywhere, which is the baseball equivalent to being traded to Hell. The season isn’t even over year. Only A-Rod could do something so A-Roddy as to get him, one of the best players ever, on the next flight to the lovely empty seats of Marlins Park.
Although I can tell you after going to the games this week, A-Rod should be pretty used to empty seats by now.
Follow Scott Bolohan on Twitter: @scottbolohan