In 2006, we witnessed one of the most dazzling displays of pitching brilliance since that first dude picked up a ball and started hurling it somewhere. Minnesota’s Francisco Liriano came out of nowhere and destroyed American League opponents to the tune of 12 wins and 3 losses with a miniscule 2.16 ERA (stats link here) — which was actually inflated by pitching injured in his last starts before going on the Disabled List. But ahhhh the injury… that’s the rub…
Since going under the knife late in ’06 and spending the full ’07 season on the shelf recovering from dreaded Tommy John surgery, Fransisco has become one of the great enigmas in baseball. Churchill could have been talking about him when he spoke of that mystery wrapped inside of an enigma which was wrapped inside of a riddle. He was talking about Russia… but hey… it works.
When Liriano first appeared back with the Twins again in ’08 he was shallywacked. Then, after some time in the minors to get in touch with himself, he came back up and was quite fabulous, raising hopes that he was – in fact – back. Well, 2009 showed that not to be the case as Frankie endured an ugly 5 and 13 campaign with a bloated 5.80 ERA. He did have nearly as many strikeouts as innings, but when he didn’t earn a K, it seemed he was giving up loads of runs. People wondered if he’d ever rekindle the glory…
So then came last year, and Francisco – one more year removed from surgery – gave us his best full season of work. He busted out a 14 and 10 with a 3.60 while striking out over 200 batters. He was back! Right??? Well, the plot thickened this year.
He came out out the gate very poorly, and his starting job was very much up in the air. That was, until he pitched a no hitter against Chicago on May 3rd! Wow. So that happened.
Fast forward to today. As we speak together via this text, Frankie has had a couple more rough starts and another near no hitter since his actual no hit gym. He stands today, along with Russia, as great a mystery as he’s ever been. How will we figure this man out?! What can we expect from him each day he toes the rubber? Grandeur or ‘good gracious this is bad’?
These challenging questions made me ponder… what’s really more stupefying than this pitcher? What out there today rises to and surpasses the perplexing level of a Francisco Liriano? I came up with these five items for you…
#5 – What Was up with Joe Mauer? Really?!
Reports are that Mauer will return to play for the Twins on Friday. This is undoubtedly good news. Always nice to get an MVP and the best player on your team back. Seriously though, where has this guy been?! He went on the disabled list after nine games this year – we heard that his legs were weak, that because of this other items of his self were weak also, and that he had also developed an epic case of viral influenza. This horrifying concoction proceeded to apparently keep the slugger off the field until late this week. Basically, we were told that Mauer was essentially on the disabled list because he was getting in shape. It’s interesting!
See, I think this really has something to do with women. Wasn’t Joe dating Miss America a few years ago? I believe her name was Chelsea something… I suspect that he had some type of epiphany – that just maybe ending that wasn’t a good idea. I see the possibility that this emotional realization weakened his knees, legs at large, shoulder… and also initiated viral influenza. It’s very mysterious.
#4 – How Did John McCain Win the GOP Nomination in ’08?
I would like for the sake of rhetorical purity and shock and awe to say… ‘I never actually met someone who really wanted John McCain to be President in 2008′. I can’t actually do this because I met three and heard tell of one other. Everyone else was pulling for the Huck or my boy Mittens. I believe that last part may have had something to do with why Senator Mac won, but I’m still not really sure how it happened. He was thoroughly unlikeable, had a slate of downright liberal positions, and was barely able to conceal his disdain for religious righties such as my Fowl self. The man almost ran as John Kerry’s VP in ’04!
How??? How?!!! Very mysterious.
#3 – How Did Barack Obama Go from Being a Senator for A Couple Years to Being President?
It’s weird to think about the fact that, in ’06 & ’07, everyone agreed that Hillary Clinton was going to be the Democrat nominee for President in ’08. The fact that a lot of people thought this was a grand idea deserves a mystery paragraph of it’s own. But then, along came this dude from Illinois that had given a great speech once at the Democratic National Convention and had been a senator for a year and a half or so. Suddenly he had displaced Hillary and he was President. What?!
All I really remember about the whole thing was John Edwards was there, getting a haircut… Hillary cried in New Hampshire… there was a crazy Pastor talking about chickens roosting in there homes… and then Obama was being proclaimed as our next President by Keith Olbermann. It was a moment of utter stupefication that I imagine was similar to what the British were thinking at Yorktown when their band started playing ‘The World Turned upside Down’. Wow! This is… unexpected…
#2 – Jim Carey’s Successful Career
I may lose you here, but I’m going to say it anyway. Is Jim Carey funny?! What am I missing here?
Every character he’s ever played has just been a slightly altered version of actual Jim Carey — and that includes the Truman Show by the way. He’s always making crazy faces and being excessive. This is apparently funny to most Americans. It’s mysterious.
#1 – Who’s Advising Obama on Economics?
I’m fairly convinced at this point that it’s one of the Muppets. And Elmo is my guess. That little guy is very energetic, and I know that Democrats really value the zest in a person’s delivery. All the same, you’d think the President would have someone a little bit more… knowledgeable.
Personally I would select either the Count or Sam the Eagle. The Count gives you a certain sense that he understands capitalism, and Sam is just so stinking pragmatic about things that I think he could explain human nature to the Prez. This could be helpful to him.
But as it stands… very mysterious…