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Ryan Vogelsong Has A Magical Pitching Amulet Hidden Under His Bed That The Maid Accidentally Threw Away But He Dug Through The Garbage And Found It Again

May 25, 2014


Good an explanation as any, man.


Here are some things I’ve written about Ryan Vogelsong:

Everyone is waiting for the coach to turn back into a pumpkin, for the other cleat to drop, for Vogelsong’s run of aces to dry up. And maybe it will. But also, maybe not. That’s what makes this such an insanely compelling story — every fifth day we get to watch a guy playing with house money and nothing to lose. And the crazy bastard just keeps winning.

You’ve heard the rags-to-Tommy John-to-Japan-to-riches story. You’re aware Vogelsong was a hot Giants pitching prospect once upon a time. You know these things, but do you really understand them? Have you fully absorbed the utter absurdity of this man’s career arc? The fact that he’s here, right before our eyes, becoming a part of franchise lore? Baseball is unpredictable. Ryan Vogelsong is proof that the universe is a chaotic, perfect place. Tomorrow is game seven of the NLCS.

The problem with Vogelsong is that there’s no comparison for his career arc. The “Jesus, The Missing Years” journey he took between Pittsburgh, Japan, AAA purgatory and San Francisco is, quite literally, unprecedented. So while it’s easy to look at a 35-year-old pitcher leaving fastballs up in the zone for Chase Headley to deposit into the stratosphere and slump your shoulders, remember: this is Ryan Vogelsong. He’s never made sense. Why should he start now?

Ryan Vogelsong ain’t your average jock with a tragic backstory. This is a guy who rebuilt an arm, a career and slogged through a river of shit…. Which is why, as the bad starts piled up, it looked like the mirage was fading.

The problem is that, logically, we shouldn’t believe in Vogelsong. His rise was so preposterous, so utterly far-fetched; when he went thud last year it felt less like a bump in the road, and more like the universe correcting a rounding error. Surgically repaired journeymen on the wrong side of 30 don’t suddenly morph into All-Star World Series heroes. And they certainly don’t do it twice.

There is a world where Ryan Vogelsong is not a piece of hot garbage who makes us all sad. I’m not sure it’s this world, though.


If Ryan Vogelsong made any sense — any sense whatsoever — he would be terrible. He would be out of the rotation, if not now then certainly by late June. But Ryan Vogelsong doesn’t make sense, silly. That’s why he’s Ryan Vogelsong.

And last night was pure, uncut, Columbian Vogelsong: pinpoint control, corner strikes, zip on the fastball. Scowl, scowl, scowl, best record in baseball. These Twins ain’t the ’27 or even ’98 Yankees, but they’re the type of team that would’ve knocked Bad Vogelsong out by the fourth inning: patient (annoyingly so) and willing to let a pitcher beat himself. Early in the year, Vogelsong was beating himself like Reverend Dimmesdale.* Now, not so much.

Look, we’re way past the house-money phase. At this point Vogelsong has won the whole damn casino, burned it to the ground, built a new one out of gold-plated fiberglass and is running naked in the fountain swinging a drugged mink over his head. I, for one, am going to stop writing eulogies for a career that never should have been, or shouldn’t have been. It just is, man.

Ryan. Vogelsong.

* Yeah, that was a Nathaniel Hawthorne reference in a blog post about Ryan Vogelsong. And?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 25, 2014 10:29 am

    ‘Scowl, scowl, scowl…’ – LOVE IT. I especially loved how pissed he was at himself for that redonkulous throw to first base. I think I loved him more than ever before in that moment. Well, once it didn’t cost us anything was probably the actual moment. Wish I lived closer to you, Señor Shafer. One of my biggest regrets (unless I find a way to alter it) is never having spent a few hours under the sun or stars with you at AT&T Park. TTYL

  2. May 31, 2014 9:10 am

    We beat the Cards around for the second night in a row and tank Wainwright’s ERA with a blast from Pence and a bunch of other production all with 2 outs and all we get is crickets? Did you get that full-time job or something? Come on, man…I need my snarky commentary, just doesn’t feel right without it. 😀

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