You’ve gotta hand it to the Atlantic League’s newest franchise, the Sugar Land Skeeters: not only do they have a funny name and a great logo (must…buy…t-shirt…), they also have one of the best press release headline writers in all of professional baseball.
This morning, an article popped into Google Reader, courtesy of Our Sports Central. The topic was the Skeeters. The headline was eye-catching:
Major League Pitcher Liriano Joins Skeeters
My first thought, as always when I see the name Liriano, was “Nelson?” But then, as always, I remembered that Nelson Liriano is gone now*, a mere meager footnote in the story of my childhood love of baseball, and I grew sad.
*He’s not really gone. He’s in Burlington, North Carolina, managing the Royals entry in the Rookie-level Appalachian League. According to Baseball-Reference.com, his won-lost totals in three years as a manager were 24-44, 34-34, and 24-44. That is a lot of fours.
When I stopped being sad, my thoughts turned to exactly which Liriano we were talking about here. Clearly, the Skeeters were going for the, “OH MY GOD Francisco Liriano SIGNED WITH AN INDEPENDENT TEAM WHAT A HUGE DEAL!” cheap heat, but I wasn’t falling for it. You can’t put one over on me. Not this guy.
So I decided to do some research. And by, “do some research,” I mean, “I clicked on the link to the story.”
The Liriano in question is Pedro Liriano, who pitched for the Brewers in 2004 and the Phillies in 2005, appearing in 16 games with no record, no saves, and a 6.17 ERA. He, Nelson, and Francisco are the only three Lirianos to appear in the major leagues. According to his Baseball-Reference page sponsor, he is “one of the classiest acts in baseball.” It’s always nice to have those kinds of guys on your team, especially in the Indies.
Most notably, however, Liriano was the player to be named later in the classic 2002 trade deadline deal in which the Angels and Brewers swapped Jorge Fabregas and Sal Fasano. Sal only got into two games for the Halos that season, striking out in his only plate appearance, but his mustache** was surely the final piece in the puzzle that led to a World Series win for Anaheim.
**Sal is returning to New Hampshire this season to manage the Fisher Cats. I sincerely hope to get a full interview and/or scouting report on his mustache at some point. I would have done it last year, but I was too afraid. Actually, I still am, hence the “sincerely hope” thing.
So there you have it. The new Liriano in Sugar Land is a former major leaguer and a heckuva nice guy, but he is NOT Francisco. Or Nelson.
And now, I sit, alone in my living room, and wait for the next release from the Skeeters. I hope it touts the acquisition of “Longtime Major Leaguer Guerrero”…the esteemed Wilton, of course.