Searching for Mr. March

In the future, everyone will be world-famous for a couple days in March.
(Photo: slgckgc)

 
Two people walked into a bar. They settled every debate in the universe. Then they discussed baseball.

“Who is Mr. October?”

Reggie Jackson. What my elders taught me anyhow. Read it was sarcastic at first, then Reggie grew into the role.”

“Mr. November?”

“Ain’t Jeets that’s for sure? Can’t take a crown because you were first in line when a calendar flips.”

A swig.

“Randy Johnson won Games Six and Seven of the World flippin’ Series. That boy never needed to grow, of course. Just found the right circumstance. We should all be so lucky and talented.”

“Sounds good to me.”

Peace in our time.

“What about Mr. March?”

Oh no.

“All the databases have ‘Mar/Apr’ in their splits. There have been 70 regular-season games played in March. What are we saying here? Beginnings don’t matter? Without a beginning there is no end. An ouroboros. With no March there is no October. There is no November. There’s no Christmas. I like Christmas.”

“Chanukkah is also…”

“It’s got to be Benny Agbayani! Hit a grand slam in his one March at-bat. Extra-inning game. Mets 5, Cubs 1 in Tokyo, Japan.”

“That’s not bad but…”

“Maybe Randy Johnson is also Mr. March. White Sox and Mariners faced off on March 31, 1996. First March game that fattened up a W or L column. Because of the added Wild Card round. Randy’s line: seven innings, two earned runs, three hits, 14 strikeouts. No decision. The No. 9 hitter that night hit a walk-off single. Alex Rodriguez. But he was 1 for 6 that night. So Randy.”

“Sure, Randy…”

“Aw hell, there was March 31, 1998. Had a 5.2-inning, five-run, 11-hit crudshow. That won’t do. Benny all the way.”

“Benny only had one at-bat.”

Nomo! Looked Randy right in the eye March 31, 2003, and scared him off like a Joel Sherman looking at a ballplayer with his cap backwards. Complete-game shutout.”

“There you have it: Hideo Nomo.”

“We don’t got nothing.”

A walk outside. A deep breath.

* * *

“How did you get this number?” David Appelman barked while grinding his axe, sweat reallocating on his face.

“David, listen…”

“It’s Mr. Appelman to you.”

“Mr. Appelman.”

“Want some lumber? Got hundreds laying around. An axe not used is no axe at all.”

“I know, Mr. Appelman.”

“Do you still work for me?”

“Yes.”

“Hard to tell sometimes.”

“Sir, do you have March regular-season statistics?”

“Now you want me to do the work you don’t do, for you? Is that it, Cormier?”

“Well…”

“Check your fax. Appelman out.”

He opened the email.

“Fudge…”

* * *

“Numbers!” he shouted.

“Do I know you?”

“March numbers!”

“Oh… oh okay.”

“I put it together! Look at this! Minimum 10 March plate appearances and 1.000 OPS!”

March Mashers
NAME PA H AB R RBI HR BB IBB SO HBP SF AVG OBP SLG OPS
Jeff Kent 10 7 10 3 6 2 0 0 1 0 0 .700 .700 1.400 2.100
Tino Martinez 12 5 10 5 4 2 2 0 2 0 0 .500 0.583 1.200 1.783
David Wright 10 5 9 2 5 1 1 0 1 0 0 .556 0.600 1.111 1.711
Gary Sheffield 23 6 11 6 5 1 11 0 1 1 0 .545 0.773 0.909 1.682
Xavier Nady 11 5 11 5 4 2 0 0 2 0 0 .455 0.455 1.182 1.637
Chase Utley 10 5 9 2 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 .556 0.500 1.000 1.500
Jim Thome 16 6 14 5 6 2 2 0 2 0 0 .429 0.500 0.929 1.429
Kenny Lofton 20 7 16 4 5 1 4 0 2 0 0 .438 0.550 0.875 1.425
Corey Patterson 10 4 10 2 7 2 0 0 1 0 0 .400 0.400 1.000 1.400
Jose Cruz Jr. 13 4 10 2 2 1 3 0 0 0 0 .400 0.538 0.800 1.338
Luis Gonzalez 12 6 12 2 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 .500 0.500 0.833 1.333
Frank Thomas 14 5 12 2 4 1 2 0 3 0 0 .417 0.500 0.833 1.333
Karim Garcia 10 3 9 2 3 2 0 0 1 0 1 .333 0.300 1.000 1.300
Jay Buhner 10 3 8 1 3 1 3 1 3 0 0 .375 0.583 0.750 1.333
Mark Grace 15 4 10 2 1 1 4 0 1 1 0 .400 0.571 0.700 1.271
Shane Andrews 10 2 7 1 3 1 3 0 4 0 0 .286 0.500 0.714 1.214
Toby Hall 10 5 10 0 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 .500 0.500 0.700 1.200
Rafael Furcal 14 6 13 2 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 .462 0.500 0.692 1.192
Carlos Gomez 13 4 11 3 1 1 2 0 4 0 0 .364 0.462 0.727 1.189
Russ Davis 10 3 9 1 3 1 1 0 2 0 0 .333 0.400 0.778 1.178
Tony Clark 11 4 10 4 3 1 1 0 3 0 0 .400 0.455 0.700 1.155
JT Snow 11 2 8 2 1 1 3 1 1 0 0 .250 0.500 0.625 1.125
Nate McLouth 12 3 9 2 4 1 2 0 2 0 0 .333 0.455 0.667 1.122
Victor Martinez 10 4 10 2 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 .400 0.400 0.700 1.100
Manny Ramirez 18 6 17 3 8 1 1 0 5 0 0 .353 0.389 0.706 1.095
Adam LaRoche 16 4 13 4 2 1 3 1 2 0 0 .308 0.471 0.615 1.086
Miguel Cabrera 13 3 10 3 2 1 2 0 3 0 1 .300 0.385 0.700 1.085
Ellis Burks 14 5 12 0 2 0 2 0 1 0 0 .417 0.500 0.583 1.083
Derek Bell 15 6 15 0 2 0 0 0 3 0 0 .400 0.400 0.667 1.067
Freddy Sanchez 11 4 9 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 .444 0.500 0.556 1.056
Justin Smoak 14 3 13 4 4 2 1 0 2 0 0 .231 0.286 0.769 1.055
Brandon Inge 12 4 10 0 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 .400 0.455 0.600 1.055
Dustin Ackley 14 4 13 3 5 1 1 0 4 0 0 .308 0.357 0.692 1.049
Yunel Escobar 14 4 11 2 3 0 3 0 1 0 0 .364 0.500 0.545 1.045
Miguel Montero 14 5 13 2 1 1 1 0 1 0 0 .385 0.429 0.615 1.044
Edgar Renteria 16 5 13 2 2 0 3 0 5 0 0 .385 0.500 0.538 1.038
Mike Lowell 13 5 11 1 0 0 2 1 1 0 0 .455 0.571 0.455 1.026
Casey McGehee 10 3 8 0 6 0 1 0 2 0 1 .375 0.400 0.625 1.025
Orlando Cabrera 10 2 8 4 2 1 2 0 1 0 0 .250 0.400 0.625 1.025
Ryan Braun 14 4 12 5 2 1 2 0 1 0 0 .333 0.429 0.583 1.012
Sammy Sosa 20 5 14 5 2 0 6 1 2 0 0 .357 0.571 0.429 1.000
Paul Goldschmidt 14 6 14 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .429 0.429 0.571 1.000
Minimum 10 plate appearances, 1.000 OPS

“Uh uh. Look.”

March Mashers
NAME PA H AB R RBI HR BB IBB SO HBP SF AVG OBP SLG OPS
Jeff Kent 10 7 10 3 6 2 0 0 1 0 0 .700 0.700 1.400 2.100
Tino Martinez 12 5 10 5 4 2 2 0 2 0 0 .500 0.583 1.200 1.783
Mark Grudzielanek 9 6 7 2 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 .857 0.875 0.857 1.732
David Wright 10 5 9 2 5 1 1 0 1 0 0 .556 0.600 1.111 1.711
Gary Sheffield 23 6 11 6 5 1 11 0 1 1 0 .545 0.773 0.909 1.682
Xavier Nady 11 5 11 5 4 2 0 0 2 0 0 .455 0.455 1.182 1.637
Chase Utley 10 5 9 2 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 .556 0.500 1.000 1.500
Minimum 9 plate appearances, 1.500 OPS

“Here are your damn pitchers. Minimum 40 batters faced.”

March Hurlers
NAME W L SV IP H HR BB IBB SO ER R TBF WHIP ERA
Hyun-Jin Ryu 1 0 0 12 5 0 4 0 12 0 0 44 0.75 0.00
Bartolo Colon 2 0 0 17 8 1 3 0 11 1 1 61 0.65 0.53
Clayton Kershaw 2 0 0 13.2 9 0 2 0 16 1 1 53 0.80 0.66
Kevin Brown 2 0 0 13.1 11 0 1 0 12 2 2 51 0.90 1.35
Kevin Millwood 1 1 0 12 8 1 4 0 8 2 5 47 1.00 1.50
Yovani Gallardo 1 0 0 12 11 1 5 0 8 2 2 52 1.33 1.50
Ben Sheets 0 0 0 11.1 7 1 5 0 9 2 3 46 1.06 1.59
Felix Hernandez 1 0 0 14 9 1 1 0 17 3 4 56 0.71 1.93
Jered Weaver 1 2 0 19 16 0 7 0 17 6 7 77 1.21 2.84
Greg Maddux 0 1 0 14 15 1 4 2 11 5 6 59 1.36 3.21
James Shields 1 0 0 13.1 10 1 4 0 5 5 5 50 1.05 3.38
Brandon McCarthy 0 0 0 13.2 12 2 1 0 7 6 6 53 0.95 3.95
Livan Hernandez 2 1 0 18.2 18 2 4 0 6 9 9 76 1.18 4.34
CC Sabathia 0 0 0 18.1 20 2 6 0 17 9 10 82 1.42 4.42
Justin Verlander 0 0 0 18 13 2 8 0 16 9 10 78 1.17 4.50
Randy Johnson 0 1 0 19.1 23 3 7 0 26 10 13 85 1.55 4.66
Jon Lester 0 2 0 11 11 2 4 0 12 6 6 46 1.36 4.91
Mike Mussina 0 2 0 13 16 1 2 0 13 8 8 56 1.38 5.54
Tom Glavine 0 1 0 8.2 15 0 6 0 5 6 7 43 2.42 6.23
Mark Buehrle 0 1 0 8.2 13 2 4 0 2 9 9 42 1.96 9.35
Minimum 40 batters faced

“Relievers. Nobody has two saves in March. Not yet. Here is everyone with one March save.”

March Relief Hurlers
NAME W L SV IP H HR BB IBB SO ER R TBF WHIP ERA
Ugueth Urbina 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 3 0.00 0.00
Fernando Rodney 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 5 2.00 0.00
Mike MacDougal 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 0.00 0.00
Grant Balfour 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 6 0.00 0.00
Eddie Guardado 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 0.00 0.00
Mariano Rivera 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 6 0.00 0.00
Jose Mesa 1 0 1 3.1 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 10 0.00 0.00
Joe Nathan 1 0 1 3 1 0 1 1 2 0 0 11 0.67 0.00
Tim Worrell 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1.00 0.00
Tommy Hunter 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 5 1.00 0.00
Steve Kline 0 0 1 0.2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 0.00 0.00
Brandon Lyon 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 3 0.00 0.00
Francisco Rodriguez 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 4 1.00 0.00
JJ Putz 0 0 1 1.2 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 6 0.60 0.00
Heath Bell 0 0 1 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 7 0.50 0.00
Brandon League 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 4 1.00 0.00
Matt Lindstrom 0 0 1 2 2 0 1 0 1 0 1 9 1.50 0.00
Craig Kimbrel 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 3 0.00 0.00
Joakim Soria 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 4 1.00 0.00
Trevor Rosenthal 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 3 0.00 0.00
Rick Aguilera 0 0 1 2 1 0 0 0 3 0 0 7 0.50 0.00
Jeff Montgomery 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 0.00 0.00
Joe Borowski 0 0 1 2 2 1 1 0 1 1 1 9 1.50 4.50
Jonathan Papelbon 0 0 1 2 3 0 1 0 2 1 1 9 2.00 4.50
Kenley Jansen 0 0 1 1.1 1 1 1 0 2 1 1 6 1.50 6.75
David Riske 0 0 1 2 2 1 0 0 0 2 2 9 1.00 9.00
Jonathan Broxton 0 0 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 4 1.00 9.00
Sergio Romo 0 0 1 1 2 1 0 0 1 1 1 5 2.00 9.00
Huston Street 0 1 1 2.2 3 1 1 1 3 3 3 12 1.50 10.12
John Axford 0 1 1 1.2 2 1 3 0 3 4 4 11 3.00 21.60
Minimum one save. Nobody has two saves. We talked about this.

“I forgot about Jeff Kent. When did he…”

“Ten years apart: March 31, 1998 and March 31, 2008. Went 5 for 7 with a homer and a double in the Astrodome as a San Francisco Giant the first time. Second time was the start of his final year in baseball. Was a Dodger. Played the Giants. 2 for 3 with a homer.”

Grudzielanek?”

“March 31, 2003. As a Cub. Led off for Chicago at Shea Stadium. Went 3 for 3 with a walk. Cubs won 15-2. It was horrible. That’s why Tom Glavine is second to last on the pitcher list, and in my heart. Other game was March 31, 2008, as a Royal. Went 3 for 4, stolen base and hit by pitch. Beat the Tigers in 11 innings.”

“Was he involved in the 11th inning at all?”

“Uh, no…”

“Any of Jeff Kent’s homers walk-offs?”

“No…”

“Time to start the Benny chant.”

“What about Hyun-Jin Ryu? Pulled off a 0.00 ERA in two starts, seven days apart in March 2014. Five shutout innings in Sydney, Australia, against the Diamondbacks, then seven innings in San Diego. Brian Wilson blew the save, of course.”

“So it didn’t matter.”

Bartolo Colon? March 31, 2002, complete game shutout for Cleveland in Anaheim. Against the team that would go on to win the World Series that year. Eight innings, one earned run March 29, 2014, in Oakland facing the Mariners. Won both games.”

“Did he hit a home run?”

“No, he had a designated hitter.”

“Who cares then?”

“I care.”

“That’s nice.”

A silence followed so long nobody could remember the beginning of it.

“Aw hell, kid, sure: Bartolo Colon can be Mr. March.”

“I don’t care…”

“Right. Well, the Benny homer was special, but Todd Stottlemyre had a great all-around day on March 31, 1998, as the Cardinals’ starting pitcher. Seven no-run innings. Winning pitcher. Also went 2 for 3 batting. You can’t sleep on that.”

“Right.”

“But Bartolo has the consistency. Did it more than once.”

“Yuuuuuup.”

“I don’t know.”

“Maybe a unanimous Mr. March will emerge in the coming days.”

“Yes. Very possible. I’ll drink to that.”

They drank to that.

They considered their containers of liquor. One opened their mouth while doing so.

“What about the World Baseball Classic?”





Bless his heart, Roger was reared in Brooklyn, New York. He co-founded and co-hosts the Good Fundies podcast and website. He's too busy and self-involved to hate your favorite team. @yayroger and @goodfundies on Twitter.

8 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Joe Joemember
6 years ago

Going out on a limb, but I’m guessing there will be a few guys added to the 10 PA, 1.000 OPS list in March this season.