If you spend any time on the internet at all, 1) congratulations on having the same rusted-out punchbowl filled with Dorito dust and old shoelaces for a brain as I do; and 2), you’ve probably heard of Florida Man. What you might not know is Florida Man is not one man, nor even a man, nor necessarily based in Florida; no, Florida Man dwells in the hearts of every one of us, the shadow-self that propels our most ill-advised choices and tells us that piece of pizza from the back of the fridge is perfectly fine to eat. Like three spirits popping up at Christmastime, Florida Man appears when things are as they should not be, like today, when the Mariners woodchippered their way through the Rays’ pitching staff—a team that, and I cannot stress this enough, just swept them. Let’s break down the weirdness, Florida-style.
First two innings: Florida Man Declares to Cops “I Am Jason Bourne”
The Florida Man in this case is Brendan McKay, who is quite a good pitching prospect in his first year in the bigs, has excellent K-BB numbers, and has never had a HR/FB% over 10% in his minors career. Today in two innings of work he walked three, struck out one, and surrendered two home runs, both to players who were never considered “prospects” in their minor league careers.
Marco Gonzales came dangerously near Florida Man-ing himself when he allowed a solo HR to Tommy Pham in the bottom of the first, but pulled it together to work four scoreless innings before giving up another two-run shot in the fifth to Austin Meadows. If your name is Austin, you probably homered in this game. It wasn’t Marco’s best outing—he lasted just five innings, gave up all three runs on two home runs, and wasn’t efficient with his pitches, throwing 94 over his five innings—but with a generous lead, it didn’t much matter.
In deference to both the Florida Man/Jason Bourne and Brendan McKay, sometimes I too do not live up to being the best version of myself.
This time the role of Florida Man is being played by Rays reliever Chaz Roe, who has an outrageous 30% K-rate this season, followed by an equally outrageous 15% walk rate. Chaz Roe has one very, very, very good pitch: his slider.
Austin Nola: I’m more of a muffuletta guy?
Sometimes a golf cart is a serviceable vehicle. If you live on an island, for starters, or in an especially tiny town, or if you’re on an actual golf course. Sometimes one pitch will suffice, just like a limited number of horsepower will suffice. Until Hurricane Nola rolls through.
There are so many Rays relievers. I feel like it’s 90% of their roster. The relievers got less impressive as the game wore on—bottoming out with position player Mike Brosseau pitching the top of the 9th—and Oliver Drake found he, too, was powerless against the charms of one Thomas James Murphy.
There’s been a lot of dreck this season, but the catching tandem has not been dreck. They have been, as Murph demonstrates below, a surprising delight.
Sometimes putting on a costume is like putting on armor. It helps you feel more powerful. Oliver Drake has chosen to wear the name of an English explorer of the seas who also writes some heavily moralizing novels, for example. Unfortunately, then you make a little mistake, like leaving a fastball over the middle of the plate or picking up your trusty air rifle on your way to the flash mob, and the whole thing falls apart.
Eighth inning: Florida man clings to hood of car going 70 mph
Sometimes what being a Florida Man is about is about testing every possible limit, dancing just beyond the veil, holding deadly nightshade on your tongue for a moment, standing in the fire just to say you can.
Keon Broxton is technically a man from Florida, but he is not a Florida Man.
George Foreman Grills are not for making cookies, and position players are not pitchers. Sorry, Mike Brosseau.
Sometimes that’s just how the George Foreman Grill cookie crumbles.
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