As I'm still very much behind on all things baseball, for a variety of reasons, I did not find this story - which was pointed out by one of the site's more astute emailers.
The first lesson to be learned here - and it's one that I never seem to grasp - is that we Dade County folk need to read the Broward paper (the Sun-Sentinel) more frequently (yes, I know - now that they're not the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel anymore it's a completely different thing altogether).
Today's game recap (trust me, I'll get to the Todd Jones part) starts out with this gem (emphasis added):
With two outs, a runner on second and Pittsburgh trailing the Marlins by a run in the sixth inning Thursday night, the Pirates' manager chose to intentionally walk Alex Gonzalez to get to ... pitcher Dontrelle Willis.
What gall. What nerve. To get to the man closer Todd Jones has nicknamed, "Cy Cobb -- the greatest combination of pitcher and hitter ever?"
Earlier in the year Todd Jones dropped "Big Moe" (for Brian Moehler) on us. That was great. Cy Cobb for Dontrelle Willis outdoes Jones' earlier effort. While I don't know of a nickname for Jones (other than Redneck), he certainly seems to deserve one - if only because he's so good at handing them out. Regardless, and my math may not be correct here, I believe Jones is on pace to issue more classic nicknames than walks this year.
I wonder if there are other good nicknames. We all know Sea Bass (Alex Gonzalez). Others, like JP, for Pierre, are convienent, but not very clever. Nearly everyone on the team, other than Jacinto of course, should have a nickname as entertaining as Big Moe or Cy Cobb.
Digressing back to the game situation itself, who would you rather face in that situation - Gonzalez or Willis? Granted, it's a lefty-lefty matchup (Williams versus Willis), so the Pirates probably thought they had that advantage. Plus, Dontrelle hasn't hit for much of an average so far this year. In that sense, McClendon made the right call at the time. But it's no fun if you can't second-guess and play the result.
And as a final digression: have you ever wondered what a major leaguer was thinking when he stepped into the box for an important at bat? Well, it takes someone as forthcoming as Dontrelle Willis to share such a thing:
You've gotta love Cy Cobb.