The Blade Is Back: Adventures in Bad Sequels

Coming soon to a minor league park near you!

Replacement level players are, by definition, valueless. They are available in massive quantities, so cheap as to be practically free, and so bad that they can be easily replaced by picking a random player out of a hat – in short, they’re the baseball equivalent of a Twinkie. They may look and smell like baseball players, but you’d much prefer to have your 2 TAR (Twinkies Above Replacement) Ho Ho if you hadn’t dropped it on the floor.

But despite this, replacement level players do have an important role in major league baseball. No, it’s not that they’re necessary organization fillers: it’s that they’re some of the most entertaining, likable goofs this side of Bertie Wooster. I don’t know what it is – the interminable bus rides, the copious amounts of junk food, the prolonged exposure to minor league mascots – but something has a way of making them a bit….odd. Just look at what’s happened to career minor-leaguer Dirk Hayhurst. He’s progressed to the point where he must paint himself with polka dots before every game, and he won’t trot to the mound without his antlers in place.

And that’s why despite the overwhelming un-reception that Casey Fossum’s signing received from most Mets blogs, I want to come out and applaud the Mets for this signing. Yes, Casey Fossum stinks. Yes, he has long since left his heady days of youth and effectiveness behind him. Yes, he posted a 5.72 ERA in Japan last season and got demoted to their version of the minor leagues. BUT, Fossum dominates the league in three key areas: nickname, novelty pitch ability, and pitch face.

Nickname: According to his Baseball-Reference page, Fossum’s nickname is “The Blade”. Its etymology has been lost to the depths of time, but I’m sure it’s referring to his chiseled, badass 160 lb. frame.

Novelty Pitch: It’s not every day that you stumble upon a pitcher that throws a 50 MPH eephus pitch, let alone one that calls this pitch a “Fossum Flip”.

Pitch Face: I don’t know how Fossum’s face and body can contort into such shapes, but it’s truly a thing of beauty.

So Mets fans out there, don’t despair. Even if Casey Fossum reaches your major league club and loses you every game he pitches in, he’s still a more likable player than Oliver Perez and Francisco Rodriguez combined, right?

You’ll die as you lived
In a flash of The Blade
In a corner forgotten by no-one
You lived for the touch
For the feel of the ball
One man, and his Eephus.

– The Casey Fossum Anthem, also known as “Flash of the Blade” by Iron Maiden.

Piper was the editor-in-chief of DRaysBay and the keeper of the FanGraphs Library.

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13 years ago

Another (actual) Casey Fossum tribute song