Okay, so we didn’t really feel like talking about the series against the Angels. Can you blame us? Mothers, did you notice your babies stop crying right around when Justin Verlander was pulled from the game? And the players with more than 1 win on the team: Armando “non-non-Hodgkins” Galarraga, Clay Rapada, and Aquilino Lopez.
And now it’s an off day. Nothin’ else to talk about. [puts hands in pockets, whistles casually...]
All right, fine, this is as good a time as any to tell you about the time Steve Grilli e-mailed me out of nowhere.
The year was 2005. A nubile, starry-eyed President Bush was riding a wave of popularity into his second term. Social Services were preparing to haul Pluto away from the solar system. And I was but a wayfaring blog commenter on the Internet…
Aught Five was a year the Tigers improved a bit, finishing 71-91. Son of Grander made a September splash. Pudge, Tilde, Guillen, and Judas Inge were anchoring the lineup. The pitching staff was also solidifying itself. Bonderman was on the upswing. Justin Verlander made his debut. Nate Robertson was impro…. well, he’s still with the team. Now all the team needed were bullpen guys.
On September 24, 2005, the Tigers might have found a guy for the upcoming year. Jason Michael Grilli threw seven innings of one-run baseball against the Seattle Mariners for his first win as a Detroit Tiger. The sentimental value of the win was that his father, former Tigers pitcher Steve Grilli, was in the stands. And Tigers broadcaster Mario Impemba mentioned the story on his blog. It was touching, and he also mentioned how Jason was the fourth overall pick (fourth overall pick?) in the 1997 MLB draft.
So me, being the nomadic care-free Internet troubadour that I was — this was a time before I even know what a Deadspin was! — I left an “Internet comment” on Impemba’s blog:
I saw Grilli pitch for Toledo last year and this year. I haven’t been that impressed with him, but hey, if he gets it done at the top level, it doesn’t matter what his AAA marks were!
God, look at it. It’s as I wrote that with the intent that Mario Impemba would read it, then write me back, and we’d totally be BFFs. ‘Cause that’s how I thought it worked.
No, instead, here’s how it works. The subject’s father will Google his son’s name, cull the e-mails of people who make comments on him, and e-mail them about things like:
Thought you might want to know, Jason finished 1st in the International League in Complete games and shutouts. 2nd in the league in ininings pitched and strikeouts. In 3 yeares since his Tommy John surgery he has not missed a start, Since being drafted no one has given him a solid chance to see what he can do up in the bigs, After his 2 starts for the Tigers I think he showed that he is capable of being a solid 4-5 starter in the rotation. I think he’s earned at least that. Steve Grilli Jason’s Dad
That email, for what it’s worth, was sent to me three months after I made the comment. And I gotta tell you, he convinced me in 2005 … and he convinces me in 2008.
Jason Grilli for Tigers Starting Rotation Double Happy Leader!