I’d be the first one to tell you that I think highly of Rick Porcello. I can’t stop telling people, actually. Probably above and beyond what his skills suggest. Put it this way, his mother thinks I’m too high on her son’s ability. I’m a Porcello fan and believer. I have been since day one.
Porcello fits the mold of my favorite kind of pitcher. Low walks, high ground balls, tons of room to grow. And grow he did. He developed a better curve and really nice changeup. He learned to dial up with a four-seamer when he had to and found a way to finally throw a useful slider. He learned to handle the stretch and to get lefties and he did it all before a pitcher normally peaks.
Last year, he finally got the attention he deserved and my work was done. Porcello got Kinsler’s glove behind him, made a few extra tweaks, and got that ERA down to the point where no one could argue. I felt like a proud father, which is a weird thing to say, but whatever. I had been championing this guy forever and there was no one important left to convince.
Porcello debuted in the majors in April 2009. It was about about two weeks after I had a first date with the girl I would wind up marrying. He pitched on my wedding day. The first blog post I wrote that went viral was about him. Porcello’s hot stretch in 2013 catapulted New English D and if baseball blogging was subject to FEC regulations, we’d basically be a SuperPAC for Rick Porcello for President of Earth.
A good portion of my identity on the internet is as the “Porcello guy.” Go read my timeline and the number of people who made jokes about my impending sadness when the trade came down. I love Porcello as a pitcher and I staked my name on his rise.
And now he’s gone. I had come to terms with the fact that he wasn’t coming back to Detroit after 2015 given the lack of extension, but I didn’t know that our time together, watching Rick Porcello Night In America was over. Porcello was one of my favorites for a lot of reasons and it’s sad to see him go. I think he’ll have a great career in Boston, and wherever he winds up after.
This is one of those weird things about sports. We develop connections with players, but for the teams and players it’s really just a business. This doesn’t appear to be any sort of horrible baseball move and Cespedes certainly appears to be likable and such. There’s no great loss here, but it feels like a wake.
After spending 180 or so nights watching Porcello over the last six years, suddenly he’s the competition.