Parting is such sweet sorrow.
However, with an epic 11 game losing streak, and a team pitching performance that Peter Gammons would consider plops, the hammer came down on our old buddy, Scott Radinsky. Whether it was a deserved canning remains to be seen, it was one that was in the making for quite some time. Let’s have a peek at the Indians numbers thus far in 2012, where we currently see them in 3rd place in the AL Central, 9 games back from the division leading Chicago White Sox, and 8 games back in the Wild Card hunt:
|Indians||52||60||32||439||112||996.1||6.68||3.58||1.02||0.298||67.9 %||46.8 %||11.1 %||4.73||4.36||4.4||7.8|
*statistics courtesy of Fangraphs*
Overall, not very inspiring, especially if consider these AL rankings:
ERA – 13th place out of 14 teams
WAR – 12/14
FIP – 12/14
xFIP – 12/14
Looking at the ERA/FIP/xFIP relationship, we see that Indians pitchers haven’t run into much bad luck, or poor defensive play behind them – all stats are closely grouped numerically, consistent with most of the fault lying upon the shoulders of the pitcher in terms of poor outings. The team BABIP also jives closely with overall AL BABIP, which is 0.300; when a pitch gets hit, it’s a hit, versus a lazy flyball or a grounder.
Individually, no one on the roster is having a fantastic season – a team WAR of almost 8 attests to that. As a comparison, Justin Verlander, on his own, has a WAR of 4.8. When the pitcher who as 5th on the team with a healthy 1.1 WAR is designated for assignment, it doesn’t say much for the level of talent or output Cleveland has produced. One bright spot has been Vinnie Pestano, the sidearming short reliever that has done a more than honourable job helping out Chris Perez hold down the late innings, in those fleeting occurrences when the starters have put Cleveland in position for a win. With a WAR of 1.5, and a MLB reliever leading 3.94 WPA, Pestano has done much to make Radinsky happy with his outings.
In the end, it was going to take more than a short reliever’s breakout year to keep the Indians chugging along, Radinsky in tow. Underahieving years thus far from Ubaldo Jimenez, and Justin Masterson, combined with the shaky production of closer Perez have done much to put Cleveland in the hole they find themselves in. Moving forward, it will take the tutelage, and cajoling of interim pitching coach Ruben Niebla to right the ship.
As we have seen in my previous post on Rad, when one chapter closes, he peacefully moves on to the next, more often than not finding success just as great as the previous. The selfish part of me hopes that he takes the time away from baseball to make more music, perhaps moving on to reinvigorate the Nardcore scene he helped establish.
Whatever the next stop is, I hope to see Rad in the limelight Another Day
I feel that it is time to make myself vulnerable, and bare my baseball soul to all
four of you kind, gentle, possibly lactose intolerant readers.
I come with a tale not only of adoration, but of respect, and emulation of a man who I have made one of my interwebs aliases, and whose visage you see anytime you wander through the ‘How Do I Baseball?’ parcel of URL land. That man will be unmasked in the following text, and I feel that this exposé is a long time coming for the current Cleveland Indians pitching coach, to not only celebrate his baseball career, and his accomplishments, but also to show him as the Renaissance Man that he truly is. Plus, everyone knows him as this guy’s brother in law so let’s try and get him into the limelight for once, yes?
Scott Radinsky, this is your life, my homage to you, and the final unveiling of my unrequited man crush.
As previously mentioned, he is the pitching coach for the Indians, having started his coaching career with them soon after his playing career careened to a halt with Cleveland after 2 innings of work in 2001, after a MLB tour of duty spanning 11 years, primarily with the Chicago White Sox, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. During this time, he put up some very respectable numbers, especially with my occasionally beloved Dodgers. Being the all-purpose lefty out of the bullpen when I pitched, I went out of my way to mimic his style, down to his delivery, and how he wore his cap. He was what I wanted to be – the funky lefty coming out of the Dodgers bullpen, socks high, coming only out of the stretch (because windups are fo’ suckas), and whipping a fastball/slider combo to those who dare dig in the batter’s box on my watch. You can peruse the juicy bits of his career here, but briefly, a career 118 ERA+, with career years (as determined by WAR) in 1991, and 1998, and a 63% winning percentage to go with 52 saves made for quite a career showing for the lefty from the San Fernando Valley. Also a recipient of the Tony Conigliaro Award in 1995, Rad left the game as one of the more decorated Jewish pitchers the game has had, placing 2nd in career appearances, fourth in ERA, and 11th in career wins. LOOGY, setup man, closer – regardless of the title, Radinsky did the job asked of him, but did make his name as an 8th inning man, pitching about 40% of his innings in that game frame. Yet, he definitely rose to the occasion when in the closers role, saving 90% of games he came into the game with a save opportunity, holding hitters to a .102 BAA in the games he saved.
The Ballad of Rad goes beyond that for me. A cancer survivor, he spent the entire 1994 season undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. During this time away from the playing, he never left the game, spending his time away chemotherapy sessions as an assistant coach for his alma mater, Simi Valley High School. The holder of numerous pitching records for the Pioneers, Rad put the SVHS program on the map, being the first MLB’er to come out of the school, while also being a key component of the early development of Jeff Weaver into a
sometimes MLB capable pitcher. On a personal level, he mentored two former college teammates of mine on that 1994 Simi Valley team, who both came away with nothing but positive things to say about Scott as both a player and a person, adding that it was his tutelage that allowed them make the final jump from good player to great, Division I ready players.
With his high school baseball career came another type of career, that of frontman for a number of punk groups over the span of a couple of decades. Getting his feet wet in the 1980’s Nardcore scene with Scared Straight, he then went on to front punk mainstays Ten Foot Pole, and Pulley.
It doesn’t stop there. Proprietor of one of the larger, and most well known skate parks in the country, Scott plunked down a significant amount of money to open Skatelab, and to see the creation of the Skateboard Hall of Fame, and Skateboard Museum within its walls.
It’s been quite a life thus far for Rad – baseball, skate parks, surviving cancer, and lead singer of three punk bands – it is one that I have personally striven to equal, or come close to it, in my own way. To be selfless, and at the same time indefatigable in your pursuits, and to conquer his personal battles, be it cancer, or Ubaldo Jimenez, shows the heart of a man who gets what life is about – fulfillment, and happiness through any storm weathered.
So the next time you see him saunter up to the mound during an Indians game to check on Chris Perez, and his propensity for projectile vomiting, give a round of applause to a man who is living the dream that we all never want to wake up from, closer vomit notwithstanding.
DavidWikipedia: David according to the Hebrew Bible, was the second king of the United Kingdom of Israel and, according to the New Testament Gospels of Matthew and Luke an ancestor of Jesus. →