k-bro note: Ok, if I had known that talking about Joe Nathan's elbow was going to turn into a three-part series, I would've warned you ahead of time. But if you allow me this one last indulgence, I promise I won't need to go on any more. Call it working through my grief, if you will.
Ok. He knew it. The Twins knew it. You knew it. I knew it. Joe Nathan's going to have Tommy John surgery. I wish him all the best, and I sincerely hope that he can return next season and pitch for many years after that. In fact, I hope he realizes that he has super healing powers and comes back in time for September call-ups and pitches better than ever. Yes, I realize there's no sense in being delusional.
Joe will be impossible to replace on the mound. Surprisingly, I'm not terribly worried about what the Twins are going to do. For one thing, even an average pitcher can successfully convert about 80% of the save opportunities*. Plus, whoever the Twins initially choose will have a pretty short leash -- blow two saves or labor through three times, and ... next. Really, my gut tells me it'll be ok. And who knows, someone may surprise all of us and just shine in the role.
But, I really want to talk about the most important thing. What am I going to do? Ok, this may not be the most important thing, but it's well documented that I'm all in favor of anything that's all about me. You see, this whole ordeal has taken a toll on me -- more so that I thought it would. Turns out he might be my baseball boyfriend. Who knew?
It's not just that he's one of the best closers in the game, although that's a big part of it. But, I always had a good time watching him pitch. I love that he's twitchy. I love that he always made me nervous. And I really love his curveball -- no, I mean REALLY love it; oh my.
Actually I have this "thing" with him -- I have ever since his first pitch in a Twins uniform. I talk to him when he's on the mound, right through the TV or radio. I always say "Joe, no interesting." Always. And I get my kids involved -- I make them say it too. I know he hears me, and he usually responds well (for the record, for that blown save against the Yankees in the playoffs, I was at my kid's football game and unavailable to talk to him -- don't think that didn't kill me). Between his nervousness and my encouragement, it's a great relationship, and it works.
So, who am I going to have this relationship with now? Who am I going to talk to while he's on the mound? What am I going to say? You don't understand how extremely important this is to me (yes, yes, I know I don't really have this much power over the players, at least the core of my brain knows it -- there's no reasoning with the core of my gut).
Neshek? Possibly; he's got potential, and he's fun to watch. But his elbow is kind of iffy, and I'd stress out too much worrying about both the game and his arm.
Crain? Nah. He annoys me. I have an automatic dim view set on him, so regardless of how he performs, I'll think he sucks. Can we even take him seriously?
Guerrier? Maybe, but he's kind of boring -- he doesn't even twitch. But if he can get saves, I can overlook that.
Rauch? Nope. I refuse to talk to him. I mean, I want him to do well, for the good of the team and all. But I can't see myself having fun watching him pitch.
Mijares? Um, I don't think he'll even get a chance. Do you?
Somebody new? Wow. That'd be like a first date. I won't even know him, and it'll be all awkward.
So, what's a girl to do? I guess I'll figure it out along with everyone else. But, really, it'll be ok. Right?
*I think I read that somewhere, and I'm not sure where, so I can't verify this. But it sounds plausible. So, if I'm wrong, don't yell at me.