Decided to throw a little blog love toward a key guy on the Red Sox who toils most of the time in anonymity, back up catcher Doug Mirabelli. Every 5th day, Dougie comes blinking out of the dugout, much like a mole, to be the personal catcher for Tim Wakefield and the dancing knuckleball, which also goes by " I'm just chucking it up there and have no idea where it's going".
Apparently, catching this thing is like trying to catch a fly with a pair of chopsticks, which I guess explains why the only 2 people who could catch Wakefield are Dougie and Mr. Miyagi. Watching Varitek, or God bless him, Josh Bard early last year, is like watching one of those YouTube videos where some skateboarder is gonna ride the rail all the way down: you know it's gonna end up bad, but you can't help but watch anyway.
Catching Wake is not his only job: I'm sure he helps Tek in the pitchers meetings, catches in the pen, and provides wise veteran advice to his younger teammates. I hear though, that Mirabelli is a world class cut-up, giving guys hotfoots, taping rookies to a pole, and just generally causing mayhem. Can't you see him and Papi, huddled in a corner giggling like a couple of school girls, while Schilling is cussing and screaming and wanting to know "Who cut the sleeves out of my brand new suit!?"
Dougie certainly looks the part: he rocks a wicked looking soul patch, is probably 25 lbs overweight, and can most likely drink anyone not named Big Papi under the table. He's good for about a .230 avg, 8-10 dingers, and 25-35 starts a year catching Wake, with another 20 or so giving Tek a breather. You need guys like Dougie on a team if you want to win: a selfless guy who does his job, carries his lunch pail, and can come through when it counts. His home runs always seem to come out of nowhere: he comes up with guys on 2nd and 3rd, one out, and you tell yourself "go ahead and hit the head now: this is a DP waiting to happen". Next thing you know, Dougie's launched a 3 run bomb onto Landsdowne Street.
If you don't think Mirabelli should be the backup catcher, ask Tim Wakefield what he thinks: I swear, before they brought him back in May last year with a police escort to Fenway, I thought Timmy was gonna have a nervous breakdown on the mound. As long as Wakefield is pitching for the Red Sox, I got a feeling Dougie will be catching that knuckleball.
Or at least trying to.