This week I introduce a new irregular feature, “Behind the Curve,” wherein I discuss baseball news sufficiently old to have grown a layer of adipocere. As a graying eminence in literary and comparative cultural studies, I am often summoned to travel and digress in exotic settings as far flung as Lon Gisland, Chicago and Albuquerque. More often than not roundball stories of middling consequence break when I’m on the road and I can’t always address them here with my usual alacrity. Using my hind flippers like a nesting sea turtle, I have now hollowed out this nook in the ethos wherein I can finally get back to stories I couldn’t cover when they surfaced.
Last week, the Feesh – following a break with tradition when they signed a relief pitcher with a sub-4.00 ERA for more than the major league minimum (see https://fan-interference.com/2016/12/17/rainbow-warriors-sign-a-pitcher-with-an-era-below-4-00/) – netted righty Dan Straily from the Cincinnati Reds for two of their best prospects, pitchers Luis Castillo and Austin Brice, and outfield prospect Isaiah White. It has been speculated that Scrooge McLoria had a nightmare the evening before wherein all three crushed him in an arbitration hearing years hence, and he awakened in a puddle of grease, grabbed the tin can on his bedstand, pulled the string tight and ordered Michael Hill to dump them before they could get their…uh…hooks into him.
Straily, who enjoyed an excellent bounceback season with the Reds last year, went 14-8 with a gutter level club that has more rebuilding to do than Dresden in 1946, and put up a 3.76 ERA to go with his 1.181 WHP. He will, it is hoped, squeeze like a watermelon seed Jeff Locke, who the Feesh signed a few weeks back to “add depth”…
The Feesh official depth chart. Note the Jurassic strata at the bottom of the abyssal zone, from which sand bearing traces of strontium-90 was discovered in Godzilla’s footprint.
….into a long relief or mop-up role where he can do as little damage as possible, the assumption being that he won’t be called in until the Feesh are hopelessly out of a game. No doubt Straily was hoping that he had pitched his way out of the rebuilding scene and maybe onto a competitor, but I doubt if working for Scrooge McLoria was the fulfilment of his hopes and prayers.
Anyway, the three hot prospects who suddenly turned to bycatch in this deal will now be playing in southern Ohio where they can discover some of the culinary delights of the City of the Seven Hills. We’ve discussed Cincinnati Chili – that metastasized Greek pasta sauce – here before, so I won’t belabor that. They’ll also have a chance to discover goetta, an unholy blend of pork and pork by-products “extended” with the addition of oats cut from a loaf and fried up for breakfast with your morning eggs. Here’s a picture of goetta:
Dan Straily, on the other hand, will have to make due with ropa vieja, since Scrooge McLoria only buys new uniforms about once every three years.