There’s no question that just behind the manager and his coaching staff, the most important role on a baseball team is its closer. You can have the greatest lineup in the world, the best pitching staff too, but if you don’t have an intimidating presence coming to the mound in the ninth inning, you might as well forget about winning baseball games.

For the Seattle Mariners, they planned on starting the season with David Aardsma as their closer. Aardsma is exactly the type of player you want coming out to anchor your team’s win. He’s over six feet tall, has a hard fastball and comes out of the bullpen to music that I don’t approve of. Unfortunately, like most closers, he’s a little bit kooky upstairs, and he didn’t have the mental fortitude to avoid injury.

That means that the Mariners have been forced to rely on Brandon League to close out their games. Looking at their 16-22 record, you can judge for yourself how successful that’s been for them. In his last three appearances he’s lost the game for his team, leading me to believe it’s no coincidence that a Major League Baseball team has never won the World Series with an Asian closer.

Now, I’m not racist. I’ve got several Asian friends and I enjoy Kung Fu movies and many dishes from Asian cuisine like General Tao Chicken, Chicken Balls and Sweet & Sour Ribs. Just don’t ask me to use chop sticks!

It’s clear to me that despite his hard fastball and tattoos, League doesn’t have the swagger to be a closer. I mean, look at that picture of League up there. If that’s him practicing his mean face, he’s got a lot to learn. It doesn’t help matters that he’s also an inch shorter than Aardsma. Like most Asians, League is likely a smart fella and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he keeps overthinking the situations he’s in as a closer.

If there’s anything I’ve learned during my time around the game it’s that thinking and baseball do not go well together.

I remember having a lefty closer when I was coaching down in Oklahoma City in the seventies. He didn’t have much in the way of stuff, mechanics or make up, but he was a tall, scary looking guy. While all the other ballplayers got caught up in the disco look, this reliever I had wanted nothing to do with it. He, like me, believed that women shouldn’t wear makeup (you don’t paint the barn unless it needs painting). So, why in heaven’s name would it be okay for men to do it?

Anyway, his mean and gruff look combined with rumors that he hung out in Bricktown when he wasn’t playing intimidated all of the opposing hitters. More often than not he’d end up using sliders to get ball players out probably because his fastball wasn’t much to speak of. That, there, is proof that closing out baseball games has more to do with having the right mentality than ability or talent.

If you still don’t believe me, look at the New York Yankees and Mariano Rivera. They’ve been very successful together, and Rivera only has one pitch. That’s what intimidation can do for you. And that’s what Brandon League is lacking.

If the Mariners ever hope to get back to their glory days they might want to consider trading for a veteran proven reliever who can anchor their bullpen and ensure that they keep the leads they get.

Hunter Roscoe is a former Minor League Baseball player and coach. You can follow him on Twitter.

Comments (30)

  1. I remember in 2009 when the Phillies got to the World Series with Brad Lidge as their closer. Sure, his ERA was near 9.00, but dude’s goatee scared the b’jesus out of even the best hitters. Numbers mean nothing when you have that working for you.

  2. I too am surprised that League doesn’t have enough swagger to close considering his tattoos.

  3. Tattoos only do so much to enhance swagger (see Rauch). League needs to add the crazy long goattee to his swagger repertoire.

  4. Pretty sure League is Hawaiian but you probably knew that already.

  5. I’m pretty sure the Arizona Diamondbacks won the world series with Byun Hyun Kim as their closer, and he is more asian than the hawaiian League. Almost as good as your last post about Matt Kemp breaking up with Jay-Z’s wife Beyonce.

    Great insite should be followed by even the most minimal fact-finding.

  6. As you so astutely point out, “thinking and baseball don’t go well together.” This article has sure done its part to solidify that fact. I don’t think I’ve ever read something so stupid (and racist to top it off). Championing the importance of a closer, giving a shit about height and garbage such as “swagger?” Mariano’s cutter is “intimidating” because it’s effing good, that’s it. Please tell me this post is a joke. You guys are better than this. My bigot grandfather would love this drivel.

  7. PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!!!!

  8. Im sorry, I missed the chapters on the failings of asian closers and quantifiable statistics like swagger and grit in my baseball for dummies textbook.

  9. This deserves a hearty LOL.

  10. @Drew Irong and satire in a Getting Blanked Post?!?! Not possible. All serious, hard hitting journalism in my books.

  11. If I recall correctly, the over/under on the number of Roscoe posts it would take for everyone to realize this was satire was set at 2. Sooooo glad I took the over.

  12. I wonder how many weeks of this it will take before people get the fact that Hunter loves the sarcastic angle. Not sure what is more entertaining . . . the article itself or the posts afterwards that think he is serious.

    Keep up the great work guys!

  13. The fact that people would believe that a retired American minor league coach would write for a Canadian baseball blog = amazing.

  14. Thanks Drew,

    Glad to see you are able to comment on a thread on the site (albeit someone else’s post), as nobody bothers to read your boring drivel.

  15. I read his boring drivel….plus Drew invented #fatichiro!

  16. Okay, hence why I said “I hope this post is a joke.” A simple, “yes, you are correct sir. No bother arguing anymore” would have sufficed.

  17. If Brandon were to add a Bobby Jenks-esque tuft to his chin he would be a bonafide closer.

  18. Booty just doesn’t understand the meaning of hustle and heart. His “logic” and “facts” just get in the way.

  19. Great more hyperlinked commenters, must be a slow day in the trenches at the Score blog war room huh? I’ll just wait until I can read about how MLB is still waiting for the first fast ‘white’ guy.

  20. For your information Booty, I don’t work at The Score…I do my trolling from my basement apartment, thank you very much!

    But seriously…you do know that these posts are satire, right…like….you know…a…joke…?

  21. I have no problem with humour, I just think that something as blatant as missing on some of the key points of your stories (e.g. Beyonce [Rhianna], no World Series Asian closers [Bung Hyun Kim]) is very Bleacher Report-esque.

  22. Hunter Roscoe posts: the gift that keeps on giving.

  23. Every once in a while I’m reminded that their is a large contingent of morons keeping the wheels turning on this planet.

  24. I think you needed to come up with a better name for this “writer” for people to get it. Maybe you should have went with Don Cherry’s baseball-coaching younger brother Dom Cherry, or something like that.

  25. “Damian Cox” could work too.

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