December 29, 2010

Blue chip guile

Steve Chitren, 1991 Fleer Ultra Prospects Series

This is Steve Chitren. Here is a riddle: How do you know a kid can throw?

You know a kid can throw when he is a highly regarded Major League prospect

Oh, okay! Makes sense.

for an already bullpen-rich Oakland team.

I have to admit, I love the ol’ roundabout grammatical “You know X can Y because Z”-formula, especially when “Z” is something less than succinct and to the point, and when “Y” should be implied by “X’s” career choice. Personally, I would have gone with: You know a kid can throw when he throws baseballs for a living. Now that is a lede. I greatly enjoy the term “bullpen-rich” by the way, and would like to record a baseball-themed rap album called, “Get Bullpen-Rich or Die Tryin.’” I would like the chorus of one of my tracks to be nothing but the latest and hippest DJ scratching a sample of Joe Morgan saying, “There are no bullpen-rich teams anymore,” which is something I assume he has said many times. Anyway, back to this Chit…ren.

Steve’s credentials are impeccable. At Huntsville,

So many great success stories have started this way. Here is the first scene of a screenplay I have just now created.

In the top floor of a high-rise office building in the middle of Manhattan, two handsome men in designer suits sit across from one another in a beautifully-furnished office with a view, separated only by a Brazilian hardwood desk. Ronald McMurray looks at the white piece of paper in front of him with a slight smirk, occasionally nodding his approval. Martin VanSussman sits with his hands folded, patiently but nervously, staring longingly at the “McMurray, Weiner & Wannamaker” insignia on the back wall. McMurray leans back in his chair and gently tosses the paper onto his desk. He looks out the window, and for a brief moment, into the future. He turns to VanSussman. “Your credentials are impeccable,” he says. “Tell me about Huntsville.”

That was fun. Let’s find out though how Chitren fared initially in the majors:

In eight games, Chitren used his guile and grace to take 19 batters down swinging in 18 innings and earn his first Major League win.

I can understand using guile to take down 19 batters swinging in 18 innings. A feat like that would, inherently, require at least a little guile. I would, however, like an additional explanation re: grace. Were the batters so in awe of the gracefulness with which Steve Chitren threw baseballs that they could not maintain their focus? Or did Steve Chitren execute his pitches with the grace of God by his side? I guess, either way –- that is some serious grace.

This guy is as blue-chip as they come

I realize that the media’s influence in 1991 wasn’t nearly what it is today, where we are subjected to hype of Strasburgian proportions. Still, this seems like an exaggeration to me.

and with the possible movement of Todd Burns to the starting rotation, Steve may get his big chance just two years removed from his appearance in the College World Series with Stanford.

I am confused. Is the “big chance” being the seventh-inning guy out of the bullpen for the Oakland A’s? I feel like there might be a bigger chance out there. Allow me, if I may, to rewrite this lede once more:

You know a kid can throw when his biggest career opportunity is predicated on the potential promotion of Todd Burns.

There. Better.


baseball card price value said...

Chitren is the real deal. A lot of pitchers can throw a ball but smokin'em is something altogether different.


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BTW, I have a BB Blog Myself: It's a (duh) All-Time All-Star teams blog. I'd love ot hear what you think (or... maybe not!) if you'd be interested in checking it out.