Enter The Fist

My only gripe with Doug Fister these days is that he hasn’t accepted my friend request on Facebook. Not that I’m holding it against him, or anything. Hell, Fisty could rob a bank tomorrow and no one would care. He’s that good.

I could give you a game recap from last night, but that’s not really my thing. I suggest you support The Seattle Times and read what the talented reporters over there have to say. They’re truly the best in the business and they don’t get enough love for what they do.

That said, I’ll briefly sum it up by saying that any back-end-of-the-rotation guy who can carry a no-hitter into the latter stages of a game (the 7th inning, in Fister’s case) might be a little better than everyone is giving him credit for. And that’s Doug Fister in a nutshell.

Fister is clearly not the prototype. Sure, at 6’8″ he may possess ideal size, but he’s a gentle giant. If Roger Clemens was the type of pitcher who stung like a bee, than Fister is the Rocket’s distinct foil: he floats like the most graceful of butterflies.

Not just your average graceful butterfly, either, I might add.

The kind of butterfly that dances past on a warm summer’s day.

Where the breeze is blowing just right.

Where children are playing merrily.

Where you can hear an ice cream truck playing its tune faintly, blocks and blocks away.

Where the sound of a sprinkler watering a freshly-manicured lawn cuts through the distant noises and reminds you that this isn’t just a dream.

Where the smell of barbecued goodness lingers in the air.

Where nothing else matters but the beauty of the moment.

Close your eyes for a minute. You feel that? That’s Doug Fister.

You don’t see too many righthanders who can find a role in the big leagues without throwing at least 93 miles per hour. You know, save for a knuckleballer here and there (Tim Wakefield, for example).

But Fister is the exception to an unfortunate rule. Perhaps if more crafty northpaws were afforded the opportunity, they, too, could thrive on a 25-man roster. Maybe I’m way off base here. Or maybe I’m just overwhelmed by the beauty of the Fist. Who knows.

Every time I watch Fister pitch, I’m reminded of a character from the movie Major League: Back to the Minors. A classic, I know. You’ve probably seen it buried in your free OnDemand movies at some point. Anyways, the character I liken Fister to is a bespectacled righthanded relief pitcher by the name of Carlton “Doc” Windgate.

As those of you who have seen the movie can attest to, Doc is an astute, well-educated gentleman of the world who just so happens to play baseball.

He’s a career minor leaguer who is older and wiser than the majority of his teammates.

He’s a change-of-pace pitcher who is viewed by his peers as a novelty, more than anything else.

As alluded to in the early stages of the film, he has trouble topping 55 miles per hour with his fastball (remember, it’s a movie, folks).

He’s the comic relief in a comedic movie.

He enters ballgames on a golf cart, with the mascot nearby to take his jacket, with a clarinet playing a whimsical tune on the soundtrack. As if to say, “Yes, this is really happening right now.”

He strays as far from the norm as one can get in his profession, but he’s effective. To put it bluntly, Doc throws slow, but he gets batters out.

And that’s where Doc and Doug meet.

Fister may not be a cosmopolitan sage.

He may not be the source of his teammates’ odd fancy.

Furthermore, he may not even hang out with the team mascot (sorry, Moose).

But Fister is a soft-tossing righty who, as of this moment, does his job better than most people in the game of baseball.

These days, he possesses a 2-1 record, a 1.42 ERA, a 0.84 WHIP, while striking out an average of three batters per start. Numbers far from pedestrian, in spite of what many would consider a pedestrian fastball.

As we’ve come to find out in this town, speed — amongst starting pitchers, at least (Jamie Moyer) — is not always of the essence. Maybe that’s why we can embrace Doug Fister for what he has done so far, and undoubtedly what he can do in the future.

Now we just have to wait for this organization to print up the Doug Fister jersey shirt. I mean, come on. It’s time already.

3 responses

  1. Not to shit all the over the Fister parade, but he is a back end guy for a reason. He’ll have games where most balls are hit right to people (tonight), and then he’ll have games where he’ll get chased after the third inning. He just isn’t that good. His career FIP is over 5. Right now, his batting average on balls in play is over 30 points lower than his career average. Regression to the mean is surely forthcoming.

  2. I stopped reading about three sentences into KTR’s rebuttal. Sabermatics be damned.

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