Thursday, March 31, 2016

#FavoriteMLBPlayersOfMyLifetime, #PartOne

On January 6th, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced that two stars from my childhood had received enough votes to be enshrined in Cooperstown - Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey, Jr. The following day, #FavoriteMLBPlayersOfMyLifetime was trending on Twitter. Since baseball is the greatest sport ever, these two events prompted debates in my head about my favorite players that I have had the pleasure to watch. As it is now months later and Opening Day is right around the corner, I clearly took my time in digesting this information. The result of all that gear-grinding is two posts covering two distinct categories - my favorite players who are currently active in MLB and my favorite players that have retired from the game. Today, we dig into the actives.

Courtesy of
10. Brandon McCarthy, SP - Los Angeles Dodgers - I can imagine that if you polled baseball fans around the country for a list of their favorite current MLB players, McCarthy would not appear often. He has been a MLB migrant, spending time in Chicago, Arlington, Oakland, Arizona, New York, and now LA. He has never been an elite pitcher and he has been injured a ton over his career. So why would he be one of my favorites? Easy. He played with my college roommate in high school, spent several nights in college sleeping on the couch in our house, and is one of the best Twitter follows in MLB. Despite his natural inclination to play for teams I despise, I continue to cheer for BMac. Although the personal connection is reason enough to become a fan of the guy, McCarthy has provided plenty of other reasons to be on this list. While playing for the A's, McCarthy was struck in the head with a line drive. This accident was not just career-threatening; it was life-threatening. After months and months of rehab and uncertainty, McCarthy returned to the mound to pitch again. I am not sure that I would be able to stand on the bump again had I been in his situation. He also has embraced the statistical elements of the game; adjusting his approach to pitching based on what his research of the numbers revealed. ESPN did a great story on his belief in sabermetrics and the effect pitch analysis had on his performance. It also touches on his fanboy moment with Bill James, which is funny to me. His quirky personality shows through interviews as well, like this one from Buzzfeed and this Q and A with the Players Tribune. During the Q&A, McCarthy was asked "If you could go back in time and take back one pitch you threw, which would it be and why?" McCarthy responded, "Probably the one that was hit back at my head and required lifesaving brain surgery. If you still need to know why, please reread the previous sentence."