When Endy Chávez was signed by the Texas Rangers in 2011, the Rangers had just become the parent team of Austin’s suburban Round Rock Express (taking over what had been a Houston Astros franchise). Although I was, as an Astros fan, disappointed that the closest ball club to be was now Rangers territory, I tried to make the best of it by getting extremely drunk with my friends at a game during the first week of their season. Endy Chávez was the token journeyman / former major leaguer toiling in the minors, and we briefly entertained the idea of becoming Endy super-fans, making handmade shirts and signs to support what had to have been a tough journey from Mets defensive superstar to bleak Texas suburbia.
But just as soon as we had fixated on Endy, he was gone, promoted to the big club but relegated to the bench 99.9 % of the time (approximate calculation). Looking up his statistics now, he actually hit 5 home runs in 256 at bats, which is a lot more of both of those things than my memory served. In Game 7 of the 2011 World Series, Chavez was brought in as a pinch hitter, but was replaced by a different hitter when Arthur Rhodes (is still alive) entered. He never saw a pitch.
I had kind of forgotten about Endy this year, but according to the fine web destination FanGraphs.com, he had a minus -0.8 WAR in 169 plate appearances for the Orioles in 2012. That’s almost an entire win below “replacement,” but Endy manages to keep his head above water anyway, scrapping his way onto the playoff roster because, honestly, how could anyone say no to his face? (Look deeply into his eyes for my meaning.)
I was watching the Orioles/Yankees game last night and there he was: Endy Chávez, pinch-running for the Baltimore Orioles. Nothing happened, but his name is there on the box score, a beautiful, plaintive row of 0s. If Endy Chavez is listening, I want him to know that I will always get really excited when I see him on the major league baseball field, and I know that it will never be the Endy the line.
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