Archive for the ‘Houston Astros’ Category


Larry Dierker

May 28, 2022

I recently picked up Larry Dierker for my online Strat-O-Matic 1977 team, freeing up a little salary by virtue of his being cheaper than my previous cheapest pitcher, Steve Mingori. I designated Dierker as my new mop-up man. I didn’t want him anywhere near a game where the outcome was still in doubt, as I knew that his 1977 Strat-O-Matic card was full of all manner of calamity. His role would be to cover garbage time, where it wouldn’t matter how putrid he was, and other, less terrible pitchers on my weak staff could be saved to fight another day. So far, it’s gone as planned: he’s been awful, but he hasn’t managed to fuck anything up that wasn’t already completely fucked. The computer simulation programming did allow him to enter one game in which my team was way ahead, a situation I would have preferred to avoid, but though he managed with great efficiency to bring the opposition back within striking distance, my team was able to escape with a win. The other times he pitched were lopsided losses he made even more bulbous and severe, but who cares? At the moment he has fewer innings pitched than earned runs allowed, fewer strikeouts than home runs allowed, and is averaging just about exactly two baserunners via hit or walk for every one of his innings pitched, but most importantly are the zeroes in his statistics: he has 0 wins, 0 losses, 0 saves, 0 blown saves. He is doing his job. He is meaningless.

This all feels meaningless lately. I went to the grocery store near my house today to get some stuff for sandwiches, and there were several people at the deli counter in front of me ordering a lot of things. It was taking a long time. I found myself wondering if it takes less time to buy an automatic rifle. I know nothing about guns, but once again we’re going through a moment in America, only ever in America, when horrific events seem to suggest that it’s easier to buy weapons of horrifying force than it is to buy a half-pound of salami. I don’t want to and can’t venture into the details behind why I’m thinking these thoughts. I’m trying to do what I can to take some action and to not lose hope. I’ve given what I can to The Brady Plan to reduce gun violence and hope you will consider doing so if you can.

And Larry Dierker is not meaningless. No innings are meaningless. I am posting about him today because even writing my stupid baseball-inflected internal monologues feels like a rebellion, in that it makes me feel like life, weird, absurd life, is persisting. And this imagined season, which I am doing to try to envision Mark Fidrych in flight, is an experiment that has something to do with happiness, with joy, with the colors in Larry Dierker’s uniform in the photo at the top of this page, which thrilled me in 1976 when this card came out, and in 1977, and in 1978, and every year since then in fading polyester rainbow echoes.

I played with my sons out behind our building this evening. It was still light out. One of them is about the age of most of the children in Texas who were mass murdered earlier this week. One is a little younger. A few raindrops started falling even thought the sky still had scraps of blue showing through the thin clouds. I always look around for a rainbow when I see some blue and rain is coming down. There wasn’t one this evening. A few years ago there was a double rainbow around the same time of day, and my boys were so young they came out naked to splash in the puddles and look up and yell about it.

These paragraphs don’t necessarily cohere. If anything were to cohere at this moment in history I’d be suspicious of it, I guess. A world where my children, anyone’s children, could be obliterated by weapons designed to overpower military-grade body armor: what can be sensical in that world? Or maybe I’m just rationalizing the scattershot thinking of a mop-up writer, a guy covering the innings after everything has been decided. Will I ever write another book? Will I finish the novel I’ve been working on for the last few years? Will I pull my shit together on another stab at a pitch for a TV show based on Cardboard Gods? Will I keep sending these stray paragraphs out into the ether?

Life keeps going, inning after inning. You’ve always got nothing. You’re always 0 and 0. But life keeps going. And even when it doesn’t you won’t know it.


Worcester Birds game notes:

  • G73: W 7-4
    • Geronimo and Bowa with 2 hits each.
  • G74: W 9-4
    • Munson 3 for 5 with a homer; new acquisition Doug “the other bird” Bird with 7 good innings and 2 runs.
  • G75: W 6-3
    • Geronimo with 3 hits, 3 RBI, and a steal; Campbell 3.2 scoreless IP for save.
  • G76: L 11-3 (Fidrych 9-5)
    • Fidrych and the defense (Bowa with two errors) are equally shaky
  • G77: L 5-2
    • Lee eats up 8 innings and another loss (now 0-5 despite best ERA among team’s starters, 3.48)
  • G78: W 5-4
    • Morgan with 4 hits and a homer; Boisclair with 2 hits and a homer
  • G79: W 8-5
    • Soderholm and Ken Singleton the most productive of five players with 2 hits apiece
  • G80: W 8-7
    • Geronimo with 4 hits; Tekulve with 2.1 scoreless innings for the save
  • G81: W 4-2 (Fidrych 10-5)
    • Fidrych halfway to 20 wins with a good start over 7.2 innings, and McClure records team-high 12th save with 1.1 scoreless innings.
  • G82: L 11-0
    • Lee hurt after batter, Campbell and Dierker shelled.
  • G83: L 8-6
    • With Morgan injured, his replacement Rodney Scott flubs a grounder that opens the door to McClure coughing up lead in 8th
  • G84: L 7-2
    • Doug Bird allows 16 baserunners in 6.1 innings. Morgan returns from injury only to mangle a groundball and end his season-long errorless streak.