My friend and former colleague, the estimable Gus Garcia-Roberts, did a brief stint here at Scene that overlapped perfectly with the brief stint one Jorge Julio made with the Cleveland Indians. Now, there's no earthly reason for anyone to care about that, except it seemed, from the very beginning of the 2008 campaign, that Gus had a certain affinity for Jorge Julio. In fact, he knew more about and had witnessed more Julio-esque implosions that just about any other baseball fan that I knew.
The journeyman reliever, skilled at being just below mediocre in almost every regard, has now played with eight teams. Now that he has been released by the Milwaukee Brewers, there's bound to be a ninth on the horizon somewhere. This is what he does. In a league starving for relievers, Julio is a commodity. He catches on. Pitches disastrously. Gets released sometime around June 1. Catches on with another team to finish the season. And repeats. The suggested use of Jorge Julio is just like the suggested use of shampoo.
Anyway, Gus, now plying his unique brand of humor in Miami, penned an ode to Jorge Julio that you should read, if for no other reason than to get in the mind of someone so thoroughly and bizarrely obsessed with a middling major league "talent."
Here's just part of the oddities:
"For a few years, I've harbored a strange obsession with Major League journeyman reliever Jorge Julio.
Not because he's very good, mind you. In fact, the current Milwaukee Brewer is one of the most consistently awful players to make a big-league roster every year. His career is a testament to the severe shortage of quality arms in an era of relief-pitcher specialization: When you use four relievers every game, that's gonna create constant job opportunities for the severely out-challenged such as Julio. In the past five seasons, including this one, he's played on a remarkable eight teams. His beach-ball fastball was booed out of all but a couple of those towns.
And that's why I like Julio: You gotta respect somebody who somehow stretches a career from subpar ability by skating along the margins and keeping a thick skin. That's pretty much what most of us are trying to do in our professional lives. "