Inspiration strikes us all in weird ways on occasion.
For some, it comes from a particular person of repute or venerability. Perhaps a scene or experience from nature can strike a chord and propel a person to artistic brilliance or encourage a more virtuous route in life to be taken.
How about Facebook?
Yes, Facebook. For me, a long sabbatical from my usual HDIB? posting routine was interrupted by a comment on the Book of Faces. The setting? A simple question: Should the Washington Nationals pursue free agent King of Aggro and occasional closer Grant Balfour and sign him to a deal. It’s an interesting premise and one that would have the Nats with little room left at the inn, so to speak, with the inn being the bullpen. With that in mind, it was also posited that a Balfour deal would be predicated upon a trade of fan favourite, Drew Storen.
As you can imagine, it was a question that inspired people to give their thoughts on the matter. Some thoughts were well formed, albeit emotional, others were poorly phrased, or just mean. Then there’s this one:
Yes, get him back here! Back here to close!
WHO THE FUCK IS MANNY?
Manny…Ramirez? Not a pitcher.
Manny…Acta? Had one inning as a pitcher in A ball, never a big leaguer, but was a former manager of the Nats. Getting warmer.
Manny…Machado? Not a pitcher, Nat, or currently retired.
Manny McMannyerson? Made that one up, so no, not him, either.
Oh! All time great and sure bet Hall of Famer Mannyano Rivera!
Nope, not Mariano Rivera, either. At least, I don’t think.
While the mind boggles as to which Manny should be brought back to man the helm of the Nats bullpen, it did give the ol’ grey matter a jump start. Who are the Mannyest of them all in MLB lore? Could we field a team of nothing but Mannys?
Off to FanGraphs I went — and wouldn’t you know it, there were a handful of Mannys who made it to the bigs. 21 to be exact — if that’s handful to you, you have enormous hands, that I oddly want to shake.
Yes! A team full of Mannys! How would that look? It would look a little something like so:
…and the PITCHERS:
The tables — with cutoffs at 50 IP for pitchers and 500 PA for hitters, sorted by career FanGraphs WAR — show us what Team Manny would shake down. Overall, the Manuels would have no issues putting bat to ball, but might be a little thin on pitching. Some superb players past and present clog the proverbial bases in the form of Mannys Sanguillen as well as the aforementioned Ramirez and Machado, with some leather wizardry being handled by Mannys Trillo and Alexander along with young phenom Machado.
Overall, not a bad showing by Team Manny — their average batting WAR of 13.6 would slot between the New York Yankees and Colorado Rockies in 2013 (good for 24th in MLB), while their average pitching WAR of 2.1 would best only the Houston Astros (1.6) in 2013.
Maybe they should sign Balfour to shore up their pitching.