Friday, October 12, 2012

Learning the wrong lesson from Justin Verlander

Last night, Justin Verlander did something that was just wonderful.

The Old Dominion product struck out 11 Oakland Athletics in a four-hit shutout to launch the Detroit Tigers into the American League Championship Series.

There, say all sorts of seamheads (including me), is an honest to goodness ace.  And, yes, Verlander truly was brilliant, virtually eliminating the A's single-handedly.  Here's the problem, however:  This now convinces all sorts of envious folks that their team needs a #1 pitcher like Justin Verlander, too, if ever they're going to be able to compete.

Well, no.

1)  There are very few Justin Verlanders in this world.  He was selected 2nd overall in the 2004 draft (behind Matt Bush - oy).  He's tall and strong and fiercely competitive and he's stayed healthy.  That's a pitching bingo.

2)  In the playoffs, anyone can pitch like an ace.  Witness the following:  Miguel Gonzalez, Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, Joe Saunders -- lesser-known lights who've gobsmacked a highly-paid, highly-decorated New York Yankees lineup, and this while the Yankees' Phil Hughes, Hiroki Kuroda, C.C. Sabathia, and Andy Pettitte have also pitched brilliantly.  Others stepping up:  Oakland's Brett Anderson, Washington's Ross Detwiler, Cincinnati's Bronson Arroyo.

3)  Depth is far better than a solitary arm.  It's not Justin Verlander alone that makes the Tigers a World Series contender.  It's Doug Fister, Max Scherzer, and Anibal Sanchez, the rest of the starting rotation, each one acquired via trade.  Besides, if not for the shakiness of the Tigers' bullpen, Detroit doesn't even need Verlander to carry them past Oakland.  An unreliable reliever (I'm looking at you, Papa Grande) has a way of canceling out a fantastic starter.

This is the way of the world.  Tom Brady won't win every Super Bowl, LeBron James won't win every NBA title, and we won't all marry Laura Vandervoort.  So what?  Seems to me we can all live pretty happy existences as it is, each one of us finding our recipe toward joy, triumph, and success.

I appreciate Justin Verlander and Miguel Gonzalez in entirely different ways, but I appreciate them both all the same.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

So you have a crush on Mila Kunis aye?

Jesse Goldberg-Strassler said...

Hahaha, as a matter of fact, I posted her because of her listing at the top of Maxim's list... and then I decided I should go more personal and changed it to the gorgeous Laura Vandervoort.

Anonymous said...

So you have a preference for blondes aye?

Anonymous said...

So you have a preference for blondes aye?