Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Julian Tavarez, RHP, Boston Red Sox (2006-2008)

Oh, Pizzaface, if only I could say I'm really going to miss you. Outside of the clubhouse (and especially your best friend, Manny Ramirez), I may be among the few coming almost sort of close to (but not really) missing you. It's hard to do so when it's hard to know how exactly to eulogize you, or what sort of disappointment your Sox years really were.

It's not fair to compare you to a seemingly savvy veteran bullpen pickup that somehow rode their way to a World Series win like Ramiro Mendoza, because you contributed a surprising amount as a 5th starter, pitching winnable games more often than not and helping to make the AL East race a seeming non-starter.

It's not fair to compare you to a seemingly big bullpen pickup that fizzled out like Eric Gag-ne because only nerdish folk like me had followed you closely enough beyond the bouts and bouts of insanity to expect something from you beyond pure inning-eating, though it seemed to take about three months in 2006 before inning-eating was your irrevocable role. You seemed a vaguely promising signing at two years (no one noticed the dread option year, and after the 2007 postseason, where you were left off the rosters for every round, no one expected you to take it), and quickly, you weren't. But you were never a major waste of resources.

Rather than figure your failure, Julian, I'd like to remember my favorite moments of you. In no particular order.

Julian v. Joey

Joey Gathright, car jumper and general lunatic. Julian Tavarez, man of many brawls. Spring 2002. Sweet, sweet violence.

That's a good Tavarez

The peak of Manny-Julian madness. My sitcom idea, Barry and Gary, is still based off of Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield's now friendship because the comedy of chef-stealing and any situation that makes Gary Sheffield the straight man (??) is pure gold. But if I couldn't get that one through, a Ramirez-Tavarez show would be pretty solid as well. It would be like Meth and Red with slightly less weed and more guys getting randomly knocked the fuck out, to Manny's delight.

Still better than Rudy @%$(ing Seanez

I went to this game and stayed for all 19 innings because, when do you get the chance to stay at a baseball game for 19 innings? It was one of Papelbon's few blown saves of the year, and one where the whole bullpen was emptied out (the All-Star break awaited, so there was no fear of day-after fatigue to be had), including Tavarez for a season-high 4 innings, no runs allowed. Tavarez was unfortunately the ticking clock because everyone at the stadium knew if Rudy Seanez made it into this game, the White Sox were going to win.

But defeat aside, this is my sweetest in-person memory of Julian Tavarez. I wish him well in Colorado or wherever he may land. I also hope someone incites him to brutality again. His wasn't the best Sox career, but he's welcome to drink free here any time.

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