Is this the most boring end to an Indians season in recent memory?
The Indians have been out of it in August more often than not over the course of the last decade, but there’s always been something to watch. In the down years of the early 2000s there were always young guys to see develop (Sabathia, Martinez, Lee, Phillips, Gerut) And there were a few veterans still hanging around (Thome, Vizquel). But what is there to watch now? As I sat watching this game against the A’s, I found myself wondering what I could possibly see to make this worthwhile.
Our best young players, Kipnis and Santana, can’t really be considered prospects anymore so the intrigue is gone with them. Our veterans, such as Cabrera and Choo, are nice players but not really the type of guys you tune in to see. And I’ve already seen more than I care to from the likes of Lillibridge, Duncan, Donald, Marson, etc. Even our top MLB-ready prospect, Lonnie Chisenhall, is injured and may not return this season.
So as this frustration mounted and I struggled not to change the channel, I decided to set out to find something worth following throughout the rest of the season. It wasn’t easy, but I finally found my answer for the form of a 7’1″ Dutchman.
Loek Van Mil, a relief pitcher whom the Indians acquired earlier this season, recently got the call up to Columbus after posting a 1.94 ERA in Akron. He’s 27 years old and probably on the last legs of a very mediocre minor league career. But if he gets the call to the show, he will forever be in the record books.
Van Mil could become the first 7-footer in baseball history, eclipsing the mark currently held by the 6’11” Jon Rauch as the tallest player in major league history. And this point in the season, what else do the Indians have to play for? They might as well become known as the team that employed the anti-Eddie Gaedel.
So while other teams have their pennant races to focus on, or their Manny Machados to watch develop, I’ll simply be hoping to see the Indians give Van Mil his chance to enter the record books.