My love of all things Doug Slaten is fairly well documented here at HDIB? – between plenty of prose revolving around his career and being the proud owner of a game worn away grey #45 Nats jersey, it’s a reasonable thing to say that my fascination with the LOOGY is
borderline creepy spirited.
Last I read or saw of
my our intrepid portsider in December 2012, he had been released by the Pittsburgh Pirates after a 2012 season highlighted by a fantastic showing at AAA Indianapolis and was headed to the SK Wyverns of the Korea Baseball Organization.
While sad to see him not being picked up by a MLB organization, especially in light of the need of situational lefties for a number of teams, it was good to see Slaten find work so soon and for an internationally respected league. The move was a rational one and one that could have been parlayed into a MLB deal in 2014. With that in mind and with the 2013 seasons of all/many/most of the professional leagues in full swing, I went a-googlin’ for Mr. Slaten. My first stop was at the Wyverns site (English version) and was immediately inspired by this:
Aww yeah. Inspired by that little pep talk, I scrolled down to look for Slaten stats.
The end of the line for pitchers was Jyun Huk Huh, and no Slaten.
Off to MyKBO.net, a great website for all of your Korean baseball needs. The top of the page that shows foreign players on Korean rosters gave me:
A link to his wiki page mentions (without any source or reference) that Slaten did not head to Korea to continue his baseball glories, this time in a starting role; instead, he stayed stateside due to the dreaded ‘personal reasons’.
While disheartened by the news and the lack of any source to his ‘personal reasons’ for not headed to the Wyverns, I hope that whatever may burden Slaten and prevent him from pitching is a temporary matter, and we find Doug toeing the rubber soon, for someone.
Godspeed, Doug, and let us know how you’re doing, yeah?
There is so much truth to the title of this post, and while I will never be able to bring to you the full expression of this saying, I know that there are youtube videos of
Pat Benatar, Debbie Gibson some old hippie chick, and a dreadlocked dude that seems to be really popular with that ladies that make every effort to do so. I won’t sully this post with embedding those attempts, but hey, if it’s your thing, Google away.
Sometimes, you have to let go, and say goodbye. Well, maybe not goodbye, perhaps more of wish those no longer with us a peaceful journey. Two of my subjects here at How Do I Baseball? have passed on to the other side, and I am not only grasping at fully comprehending the gravity of the situation, I find myself not truly acknowledging that this might be it.
We all mourn in our own ways. This, as embarrassingly pathetic, and dramatic as it is, is mine.
May you never be forgotten, Scott, and Doug – you will be forever our LOOGY Liasons.
As my ‘About’ attests, I am a fan of the lefty reliever specialists, LOOGYs, if you will. As some of you may also know, I have been a hardcore Doug Slaten follower, as he has journeyed through the back roads of the backends of various bullpens. I have my reasons, as I will touch upon shortly, but for the moment, I would like to salute Doug for some
great fond memories. I would also like to thank him for his game worn Nationals away jersey, and his locker plate:
Slaten, a recent DFA victim by the Pirates, has done what many a lefty has done in the game, and that is come in, get the occasional lefty out, and in general, grease the wheels for a win; he has done so in yeoman-like fashion. No frills, just get outs. His stay with the AAA Indianapolis Indians this year was awe-inspiring numbers-wise, giving up a solitary run all season, but also damning of his place as a AAAA player, as we can gather from his MLB numbers. Yet, to carve out a 7 year career as a lefty with middlin’ at best stuff is impressive, and it is with this post I applaud Doug for his work, dedication, and persistence in getting this far as a professional pitcher.
A 17th round draft pick back in 2000, Slaten bounced around a number of California junior colleges – Glendale CC, LA Pierce JC, and El Camino CC – until bouncing some more, this time around the minors, culminating in a Southern League All Star nod in 2006. Overall, Doug flew under the radar, and for all intents and purposes, was destined for bullpen work. While never a prospect, it must be noted that a 7 year career out of a 17th rounder is more than anyone can ask for. Ponder this – in 2000, 7 LHPs were drafted in the 1st round, with the top 3 picks (#4, 9, and 10) never making it to the bigs. Of the other 4, Sean Burnett has had the most decorated career – as a lefty short reliever.
Hindered by injuries, his pitching repertoire, and the ceiling of his talent, Slaten’s career has nevertheless fascinated me, and I unabashedly follow his trajectory. I see what could’ve been for my own baseball career, as a lefty reliever with iffy stuff, that just got hitters out while bouncing around the California junior college and NCAA ranks in his day. I never made it – injuries, and a simple ‘no’ to an offer for a tryout made an abrupt, but euthanasic end to that life chapter – but you always tend to find yourself in others that did. While Doug and I are more enantiomeric than mirror images, there is that arrogant, narcissistic notion that creeps into my thoughts on occasion that makes me feel like I somehow blazed a trail for him, being a few years older, and having shared some cursory baseball career parallels. Of course this is total BS, but fandom and rational thought are things that will never be twinned or made to agree.
I leave you to peruse the baseball URL of your picking to further investigate Slaten, and his career, whose nadir didn’t make it much past sea level in terms of altitude. I hope you look into the numbers, and look at them not so much in sympathy, but more as a Rosetta Stone of dedication, hard work, and unbridled passion of a game that is littered with instances of fractions. Only a fraction make it to the bigs, and fractions of seconds determine the difference between weak grounders, and home runs, as well as nasty sliders, and unintentional BP fastballs.
The fractions summed up to a whole number for Doug, and I hope he can tack on another one.