It’s no secret that Vinnie Pestano has had an off-year. From all the way back to his disappointing appearance in the World Baseball Classic, something just wasn’t clicking. Velocity down. Erratic control. The Indians placed him on the DL to get him sorted out. Still, something was amiss.
The tipping point for most players happened to Vinnie on July 30. Having acquired lefty-specialist Marc Rzepcyznski from St. Louis, the Indians took a risk in angering both the team, fans and Vinnie himself by sending him down to Columbus.
But as we’ve all come to appreciate and love about him is his accountability (*ahem*), his accessibility (*AHEM!*) and his general understanding that so many of us live and die with the successes or failures of this team. He understands how to balance our unattainable demands for perfection, while still wearing his heart on his sleeve in his attempt to regain the eighth-inning stranglehold that he, and we, probably started to take for granted.
Vinnie embodies us collectively. He’s just a regular guy who is unassuming and likes to engage with others in the fanbase; and a guy who just so happens to be able to reach the mid-90s with a knee-buckling slider when he’s in a groove.
He hasn’t been. But instead of sulking about his demotion, he’s gone down to Columbus and has dominated. Which, in turn, has forced Tito’s hand to bring him back up; like we expect a ball player to do. And with the pen running mostly on fumes as of late, Vinnie’s return may be expedited out of necessity.
All the “baseball stuff” is well and good, but it is personable actions like his interaction with William and Elise that makes him truly why we love this guy so much and are willing to give him so much rope with his performance when he hits a rough patch.
In an era where PEDs tarnish the public’s perception and sanctity of sport (as it should), and athletes treating themselves as if they are their own independent brands above the franchises that they play for, it’s nice to know that there are some who are still in touch with their humanity even though the money suggests otherwise.