They almost got the band back together.
After giving another shot to Jason Kubel and Jason Bartlett, the 2014 Minnesota Twins had reunited 2/3 of the worst non-existent prog-rock trio ever: Jason and the Jasons. All that was left was to find the iconic, mercurial, drug-addled, probably-on-a-bender frontman Jason Tyner. (Picture Dewey Cox's fabled "dark period" with fewer home runs.)
Looking at the once-mighty triumvirate now—with Bartlett rocking a 25 OPS+ in 2012 and a missed 2013, Kubel's bumpy, underwhelming year in Arizona/Cleveland and Tyner's Nessy-like disappearance—it's easy to forget the halcyon days of '06, when all three became the first trio of Jasons to bat back-to-back-to-back ever. (Totally un-fact-checked, definitely true.)
It started innocuously enough on Friday, July 14, 2006 in a game against the Indians at the Dome. If you called up any of the 21,279 fans in attendance that day and asked them for their recollections, they'd surely say, "Oh, yeah, I remember that game. Edward Mujica—you know, steady reliever, won a title with the Cards last year, had him on my fantasy team for a spell when he closed for the Marlins, yeah, just juggling closers, like I do, never like overpaying for those saves, know what I mean?—lost his first major league game. Real nail-biter, 3-2, if I recall. And I remember the other manager, Gosh, what was his name? Some kind of salad. Caesar? Cobb? Jell-O? Just remember it made me hungry... Wedge! That's right, Eric Wedge. Yeah, he coached the hell out of that one. Why do you ask?" To which you'd reply, "Wow, you have a startlingly keen memory! You should be on 'Cash Cab' or something."
But what Hypothetical Baseball Fan Who I Invented To Use As A Strawman Counterpoint To My Insane Blog Post doesn't remember, probably, or whatever, is that on this fateful day, Ron Gardenhire first penciled "Jason" in, three straight times, 7-8-9.
And how did Jason and the Jasons fare? Pretty damn well, actually. Kubel went 3 for 5, Tyner went for 2 for 5 with 2 RBI, and Bartlett got beaned. (Not all Jasons are created equal.)
It went so well, in fact, that the Twins got greedy and decided they wanted a fourth Jason.
Sure, we all thought Delmon Young was the prize of Bill Smith's first major move, the Nov. 28, 2007 trade that sent Matt Garza to the Devil Rays. But Smith was really angling for the one that got away: Rays OF Jason Pridie, who the Twins selected from the Rays in the Rule 5 Draft in '05 but had to return because he wasn't Jasony enough. Pridie finally returned, ready to join the Jason-Pack, in the Young-Garza trade.
But Bill Smith didn't pay close enough attention to the "Evaluate Trade" screen on his CBS Sports account, which I'm assuming is how GMs execute trades. He accidentally traded away Jason Bartlett to get Jason Pridie. The dream of the 7-8-9-10 all Jason lineup was dead. (In the "4 Jason" scenario, Gardy would be allowed to bat ten because the Twins would have had to refund tickets if Tyner, Bartlett or Pridie was allowed to bat 7th.)
We never got four Jasons, we used to have three Jasons, and now we have two Jasons. Call them Jason and the Jason. So grab a bottle of Jameson, white out the "me" on the bottle and pour a tall glass of whisky to celebrate Jason and the Jasons.
And, if you get real hammered, you may even make up your "All-Jason" lineup, like I did.
1. Jason Heyward OF
2. Jason Kipnis 2B
3. Jason Bay OF
4. Jason Giambi 1B
5. Jason Varitek DH
6. Jason Kendall 3B (He's gritty enough; he'll make it work.)
7. Jason Kubel OF
8. Jason Castro C
9. Jason Bartlett SS
1. Jason Schmidt RHP
2. Jason Bere RHP
3. Jason Dickson RHP
4. Jason Hammel RHP
5. Jason Johnson RHP