Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Here's Johnny

What a wonderful performance by Johnny Cueto last night.

I'll never forget his debut game, a miserable rainy April game in Cincinnati during which we signed up for credit cards just to get a free blanket, back when the credit card companies were allowed to exploit you at ballgames.

We saw the zeroes on the scoreboard and everyone was looking around at each other, unwilling to say aloud what was happening. That's back when you didn't mention no hitters by tradition. But it was five innings of zeroes and we thought we were witnessing something special. We were. We were witnessing the debut of a homegrown guy whom we would see become one of the best pitchers in baseball. This, in Cincinnati, who once had Tom Seaver and Mario Soto and few other pitchers of the caliber of Good in its very long history. This, where we watched Paul Wilson and Eric Milton and Pitchers Whose Names We've Forgotten because they were so mediocre or worse.

Cueto had ten strikeouts in his debut, if I remember correctly. It was a masterful performance just like last night was masterful, but the first game was so full of hope, whereas last night's game, most likely the last I'll see of Cueto in a Reds uniform, was bittersweet. For me, it was a cap on a magnificent career, one where I saw him pitch in low A and saw his debut and saw him lead our team to two division titles after The Losing Years. We were lucky to get to watch him pitch.

I feel like I'm going to a funeral.

Baseball is the best game but goddamn it, it breaks your heart in the worst ways.

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