James' notes in italics:There's a lot of trade rumors and important development for next year's roster going on right now, but it goes without saying that when a veterinary student from a school that recently was ranked 24th out of 25 schools in student satisfaction offers to assign dog breeds to pitcher types, you have to run it.
You have to sit on it for a day, then run it.
Mark Primiano and I made a deal: I would describe to him a common type of pitcher, and he would tell us what breed of dog it is. Unless indicated, I did not tell Mark what player was the particular inspiration for the type, but I will reveal them here to you, dear reader.
Out of shape closer/relievers who can burn high 90's with wild, wipeout sliders (Bobby Jenks)
Chow Chow. Much like how a beard is no replacement for a chin line, all that fluff is fooling no one. They're volatile and not to be trusted as they will eventually bite your hand off, it's just a matter of knowing when it's coming.
Frumpy innings-eating, slop-throwing starter (Chad Billingsley)
Cocker Spaniel. Somewhat popular for whatever reason despite offering little to no value over a replacement dog.
Skittish, mercurial big right-hander with plus stuff (Gavin Floyd)
Greyhound. A solid breed that can be a lot of fun until you realize that any loud noise or sudden movement will somehow make them freak the hell out even though they're fast enough to outrun everything.
LOOGY who still seems out of breath and covered in sweat after single batter (Will Ohman, obviously)
Pug. Do you know how pugs came to be? Back in the day, someone started breeding mastiff runts together and kept selecting for the smallest ones each time. And now we have pugs and LOOGYs.
Dominant, fireballing, inexhaustible ace right-handed starter (Justin Verlander)
Clearly a young labrador retriever. Limitless wells of energy that will run and jump and swim and not stop moving until old age eventually catches up with them.
Bizarre, unreadable left-handed ace (Chris Sale).
Visla. If someone tells you they know what's going on in the mind of these nutty hunting dogs, they are completely full of it. Wonderful dogs, but incredibly spacy and prone to staring at things that just do not exist.
Garbagey fastball changeup spot starter who lacks a prayer to get through the order more than once. Anthony Lerew is prototype.
English bulldog. Despite once being ferocious and imposing, the bulldog is now just an obese wreck that we really need to stop making more of. Truly one of the greatest abominations brought about by animal husbandry.
Hideous, disgusting, hard-throwing, bearded Cardinals or Athletics reliever (Seemingly dozens of guys).
Komondor. These giant Hungarian monsters are strong, disobedient, and literally covered in wool. They're a horrible idea for inexperienced owners, just like trading for an A's or Cardinals reliever.
Hulking right-hander who throws hard but just sinkers, and is ill-advisedly made a closer a lot.
Husky. In the right environment (the frozen north with tons of room to run), this dog is a fantastic choice. But you live in a city or a suburb and are now stuck with this shrieking demon who has killed 14 neighborhood cats. Pretty eyes though.
Pitcher who uses old-timey windup, throws 85 mph and is absolutely hideous in the face (Paul Byrd).
Shih Tzu. Tiny, adorable, fluffballs that were highly valued in an older time. Extremely pronounced underbite, frequently missing random teeth from either genetic reasons or a fondness for eating rocks.
Lanky athletic right hander with whip delivery and off-balance finish (Uh, I donno, a lot of guys).
Boxer. Everything you'd want out of a dog: smart, friendly, energetic. But then the health issues start showing up and you're left with a very expensive shell of its former self.
Lanky, soft-tossing lefty with tons of changeups.
Mastiff. Fantastic breed of dog that has little more desire in life than to move as slowly as possible and hangout on your couch watching movies.
Dirty, small angry left-hander who hits 87 but acts like a rageaholic (Dallas Braden)
Miniature Pinscher. No longer used for their sole purpose of rat control, these awful little demon dogs will bite your leg for no reason other than that they suck. I hate Min Pins. A lot.
Whatever Jake Peavy is.
Affenpinscher. It may think it's a terrier and GODBLESSIT, it's going to act like one too. But no, it's really a toy breed and they are not built for the terrier life.
Is there a dog that's a determined but beaten and wounded striver, like John Danks, or is that simply an injured dog?
Dachshund. Wiener dogs were originally bred to go into badger holes and chase the badger out to be killed. Read that again: that goofy looking dog that's back will fail, it is designed to fight one of the meanest small mammals on the planet. It will fight until it's body gives out, even in the years when we all know it shouldn't.
What is Jose Quintana? I love him but have trouble describing him. What is Dog Quintana?
Jose Quintana is a person.
Okay, I'll actually do one for Quintana. Old English sheep dog. Underrated breed that require the right owners to reach full potential. Generally overlooked because they don't quite look like what you think a top dog should.
Matt Thornton's placid, stoic demeanor was distinctive but not necessarily a common type of pitcher.
Bernese mountain dog. Berners are wonderful, but you have to know what you're getting when you adopt one. The saying goes "three years a puppy, three years a good dog, three years an old dog." That sums up Easy Heat's career progression perfectly.
And a bonus: the can't-miss-sure-thing prospect who inevitably crumbles into dust from injuries (so Mark Prior and company). German shepherd. Everyone loves German shepherds and why not? They're massive majestic looking dogs and can be very strong and reliable for a brief amount of time. Things are probably going to fall completely apart after 3-4 years though and you'll be left with a very expensive and painful memory.
Wow. So many dogs. So many pitchers. So many pitchers that we can now understand as dogs. I feel alive today, which is only notable in that I realize I never was before.
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