Baseball Will Make You Cry: Steve Delabar Edition

As discerning baseball fans, many of us tend to get a little snarky during the All-Star break. Part of it could stem from the fact that real baseball takes some time off, but a lot of it seems to come from a general conception of silliness. The Home Run Derby is silly. The fact that the All-Star Game counts for something is silly. Every team getting a representative is silly. While these all ring true in varying degrees in me, I still like the All-Star Game. I try, real hard at times, to not be cynical about baseball. Life is full of frustration and bleakness and disappointment and confusion. We shouldn’t seek that out in baseball, at least not too much. Baseball isn’t an escape from life, it’s an alternative. It’s where we would live were we somehow able to live inside a concept. This is why I try to watch baseball through the rosiest of glasses.

I also watch baseball for people like Steve Delabar. Until very recently, I didn’t know much about him. I know that he had blown out his elbow and was doing well after being an old rookie, but it ended there. Then, I stumbled upon the below video. Much focus was given last night to Mariano Rivera, and, of course, for very good reason. A swan song is almost always a touching moment. But save for a few remarks from Joe Buck, Delabar wasn’t talked about all that much. While Rivera’s story of poverty and success is a classic trope in baseball, I find myself drawn more to stories like Delabar’s. Because he fought the odds as an adult. He’d seen the other side, knew what it was like to be a failure, and persevered. He put the dour inevitability of normal on pause not once, but twice. Kids want to be Mariano Rivera. Adults want to be Steve Delabar. Delabar gives us hope that something — probably not baseball, but something — is still attainable. Delabar allows us, as grownups, to have children’s dreams. That, and he throws 97, which is cool no matter what age you are.




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David G. Temple is the Managing Editor of TechGraphs and a contributor to FanGraphs, NotGraphs and The Hardball Times. He hosts the award-eligible podcast Stealing Home. Dayn Perry once called him a "Bible Made of Lasers." Follow him on Twitter @davidgtemple.


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Kevin
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Kevin
2 years 10 months ago

Brett Cecil also participated in the same program. Boom, all-star reliever.

exxrox
Member
exxrox
2 years 10 months ago

Dustin McGowan as well.

BallFan
Guest
BallFan
2 years 10 months ago

The Jays hired the guy who started the weighted ball program as well.
Santos is starting on the program, so has Jansen

Great story

Bryz
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

Holy. Crap.

That was an excellent story.

Steve
Guest
Steve
2 years 10 months ago

God damn, it did make me cry, and I’m a cold-hearted a-hole.

Something really cool about the child-like excitment relayed through his wife: “Guess how hard I threw??”

Mike
Guest
Mike
2 years 10 months ago

Best quote:

“That is MY husband on ESPN”

My wife said that once – as I was running around the outfield at Kauffman stadium ,avoiding security guards…

Mike
Guest
Mike
2 years 10 months ago

Best quote:

“That is MY husband on ESPN!”

My wife said that once about me- as I was running around the outfield at Kauffman stadium ,avoiding security guards, very drunk – and very 20 something…

Andrew
Guest
2 years 10 months ago

Bluejays Pen full of great stories
Casey Jansen – sent down to minors first month of last season
Aaron Loup – never pitched in majors before last year
Dustin McGowan – missed most of last five seasons
Wagner – career minor leaguer
Perez – career minor leaguer – current era 0.0 in 19 innings

Cecil – former 15 game winner – spent last year in minors

steex
Guest
steex
2 years 10 months ago

How is Aaron Loup a great story? A guy who was drafted out of college, progressed through the minors, and made his major league debut at 24 isn’t particularly remarkable. That’s pretty much just the average progression for an average player.

Matt
Member
Matt
2 years 10 months ago

Maybe Loup isn’t as good of a story as the others, but he was an utterly forgettable, unremarkable pitcher for his first few years in the minors. The kind of guy whose career potential would seem to be filling out a AA or maybe AAA roster so that your good prospects have enough other warm bodies on the team to be allowed to participate in games. Then a couple years ago the Jays’ minor league pitching instructors decided to drop Loup’s arm angle down to that near-sidearm delivery he uses now and things took off. he went from a guy that pitched 3 years in various levels of A-ball to 44 innings of AA to reaching and sticking in the majors.

It’s not a hugely feel-good warm-and-fuzzy story like the reinvention of Delabar, Cecil, McGowan, or Janssen. But it’s still a fairly impressive rise to prominence for a guy who was never ever in the prospect discussion for the Blue Jays until the day he first set foot on a big league mound.

Atlnick
Guest
Atlnick
2 years 10 months ago

I am an NL snob, but this is a great story, a tear jerker

Free Bryan LaHair
Member
Free Bryan LaHair
2 years 10 months ago

damnit. got me.

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