Beyond being tall and left-handed, there is little similarity between Andrew Miller and Chris Sale. Obviously. But this was a diagram born out of an inside joke and the frustration of watching a classically ineffective lefty warming up for my favorite team.
As Cee Angi so eloquently explained in The Platoon Advantage yesterday, she sympathized with my plight in having to watch Miller pitch, and countered that she was taking the opposite experience, watching Chris Sale pitch for the Chicago White Sox at whatever they’re calling Comiskey Park these days.
So, of course, that led to this Venn diagram, comparing the two when there is no comparison. But I’d like to explain why, exactly, Miller gets under my skin as much as he does.
Sitting in the centerfield bleachers on Sept. 2, 2011, Cee and I sat down to watch the Red Sox host the Texas Rangers in Fenway Park. What we saw instead was Miller walk batter after batter, looking completely hapless against the defending American League champs. Watching a pitcher struggle and give up hits is a kind of failure I can tolerate, as much as any fan can tolerate watching failure. But watching a pitcher continue to miss the strike zone, to walk batters and drag the game on while sinking his team is something for which I have no patience.
So, there’s Miller, taking his time as he serves up ball after ball, putting Rangers on the base as slowly as he can without actually getting any outs. And there I am, sitting in my seats with a friend who had travelled a good distance to take in a night at Fenway, and we’re watching madness on the mound.
Did Andrew Miller really ruin my evening? No. I still got to hang out with my friend at the best park in the Majors, had a drink and a laugh, and went home having watched a baseball game, in the loosest sense of the word. It will also go down as the last time I ever watched Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield play baseball, two favorites who will remain as such forever.
But that doesn’t mean I ever want to see Andrew Miller’s scraggly beard and floppy hair in a game for the Red Sox again. So in the face of improved stats and usefulness in the bullpen, whenever I see him warming up, I get mad. I don’t want to see him warming up. I don’t want to see him in a game. In that healthy sports sense, I hate Andrew Miller.
It rails against logic and evidence, but what’s a little irrationality but a part of the fan experience?