Welcome to the MLB Star Power Index – a weekly enterprise which determines with terrible authority which players dominate the current sports zeitgeist, at least according to the narrow perceptions of this wretched scribe. While his presence on this list is often celebratory in nature, it can also be for purposes of lament or ridicule. The players listed are in no particular order, as is the phone book. To this week’s winners…
Nestor Cortes, Yankees
Nestor Cortes certainly deserves a place in these August pages for his pitching excellence in the 2022 season so far. Or it could rightly be added due to the lush, fully sprouted tickler resting above her upper lip like a passed out duchess. Instead, however, we honor him for this, his soiled tunic:
Major League Baseball fortunately and belatedly has Universal DH, which means pitchers no longer charge spectators with their hitting and base runs unless absurd circumstances prevail. Of course, the DH has been in Cortes’ own American League since 1973, when pensions still roamed the earth.
Why this narrative departure and this discussion of the DH rule? We indulge in it to establish the mystery that has us gripped by bespoke lapels and slapped us through our chompers. Given that Cortes doesn’t hit or run bases, how did he come to mess himself up in such a way? Note that these are not the grass patches, which would suggest an ill-advised dive for an infield pop-up. Rather, it’s the beam clay marks, which temptingly suggest Cortes fell face first on his own mound or attempted to hobble an opposing runner by executing Jimmy Snuka’s finisher on base paths. .
Whatever the specific cause of dirt on a pitcher’s uniform during the DH era, the end result – i.e. dirt on a pitcher’s uniform during the DH era – should be exalted and celebrated. When we see something like this, we know something has happened that wasn’t supposed to have happened, which is kind of a signature of youth and young manhood that Nestor Cortes, as puckish as he is he is mischievous, embodies. It won’t surprise anyone that Mr. Cortes has a long history of off-label uses of his time and inclinations. A partial list:
- Nestor Cortes and Gus Bustard snuck out of her house on a slumber party and sat on her roof and talked about what scared them. This turned into a fight, and they fell off the roof and into Gus’ father’s hosta bed. The dirt was on the pajamas. “Oh man,” he said.
- Nestor Cortes was dared by Jimmy Bubbabuoli to skateboard down a waterslide during peak summer hours, and in accordance with ancient laws of honor, Nestor Cortes did so, resulting in an accident in the snack bar and a Frito pie application on his denim shorts. . “Oh man,” he said.
- Once, while building a fort in a tree high in an ancient maple tree, Nestor Cortes thought a squirrel had called him an asshole for no reason. His lead hook missed the squirrel and caused him to lose his balance and fall 25 feet into an active anthill. His shirt was stained with a noxious stew of blood, mud and discarded charcoal briquettes. “You are the asshole,” he says to the tangle of branches above somewhere in the twisted heap of his body on the ground.
- A friendly round of slap-boxing after church in the backyard between Nestor Cortes and Gus Bustard turned into a remorseless ground-and-pound session on freshly laid turf, all prompted by unspoken grievances from to have to go to church. Even Borax couldn’t spare the pleated khakis. “Gus started,” he said.
By implication, this explains how Nestor Cortes, mounding in a DH league, could end up with a dirty uniform. For that, we thank and honor him. The day he stops following his most questionable desires is the day we become worse as a people.
Ben Joyce, Tennessee
We present to you two sporting phenomena, each of which would have actually happened.
First, Abraham Lincoln was honored by the Wrestling Hall of Fame – possibly for pioneering the choke-slam, which is the finisher of choice for those tasked with taking to the streets again:
Yes, it’s true.
Second, here’s University of Tennessee right-hander Ben Joyce throwing at 105.5 mph:
Yes, it’s true. It’s the fastest pitch ever thrown in college baseball, at least on record. When it comes to his ability to throw, oh, 105.5 (and shuffle in a wipeout slider), Joyce for top-ranked Vols this season has a 0.86 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 21 innings. .
So if during your day you regale those you meet with the story of the 105.5 mph fastball and they don’t believe your words, then present them with the following image as proof:
The scientific method teaches us that if an improbable thing turns out to be true, then any other improbable thing is also true. Everyone should know that. “A 105.5 mph fastball? Pshaw, I don’t believe it,” they say.
“Abe Lincoln is in the Wrestling Hall of Fame”, you say, at which point there is nothing more to say.