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Game 105: Twins at Royals

Time to start a new winning streak. Or not. Vote your preference now!

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World Series - San Francisco Giants v Kansas City Royals - Game One
This is actually from Game 1 of the 2014 World Series. Yes, somebody bought World Series tickets, and wore this.
Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Time: 7:10 Central

Weather: Hot sticky icky there, too, 99° at first pitch

Opponent’s SB site: Royals Review

TV: BSN. Radio: Nothing compares 2 it

MLB team record for strikeouts: 1596. Twins’ current pace: 1659

You should know Brady Singer by now. The nice kid who paid off his parents’ debts after he got drafted (for Christmas, no less). The reasonably solid back-of-the-rotation guy who throws a sinker/slider/change. For some reason batters have been nuking that sinker this season (just as with a new Twins pitcher!). Digits:

So, the other day on my phone’s news feed thingy, I saw this:

Amusing, sure. (“News,” no.)

I was curious, though… how much did Dennis Leonard resemble his Hollywood doppleganger? Was he known as a Pineapple Express, Sausage Party-style vulgar, funny leaf enthusiast?

Well… no. I confess myself to be sorely disappointed. Leonard doesn’t even LOOK like Rogen from most angles.

Born in 1951, he was technically a child of the sixties. But, I suspect, not much. Per this thorough SABR article by Gregory H. Wolf, his dad was an NYC cop and his mom a crossing guard. And his wife ran a Hallmark card store. Leonard probably spent the 60s rocking out to Pat Boone and has multiple posters of kittens “hanging in there.”

From 1975 to 1981, Leonard pitched more than 200 innings every season (nobody else did) and “won” 120 games (more than anyone except Steve Carlton), posting a fine 3.50 ERA. He’d be on five Kansas City playoff teams, making 10 postseason appearances with an ERA of 4.32. Basically, half the time in the playoffs, he was dogged and effective. The other half of the time, he was bombed. The Royals lost a World Series to Philadelphia in 1980, and won over St. Louis in 1985 – when Leonard wasn’t on the roster.

He tore up his knee in a 1983 game, and underwent four surgeries to repair it, finally returning to the Royals in 1986, pitching a shutout in his first full game back. He called it his finest baseball memory, and retired after that year. (A little like Chien-Ming Wang, who retired after proving he could make it back from injury. The team he played well for in his final season? The 2016 Royals.)

Leonard lived in the KC area, and regularly attended the team’s offseason meet-and-greets. Wolf writes “wildly popular in Kansas City, Leonard came across like an average Joe to whom fans could relate, a sentiment that grew exponentially during his comeback.” As Bradford Lee at Royals Review put it, “Not bad for a walk-on from Long Island.”

Yeah. But still, it’d be more fun if he was a cussy smokehound.

(If you read one article linked here, make it this one Lee wrote recently about ballpark organists.)

Reading about Leonard made me think of Brad Radke a bit. Each played 12 seasons for one team, a team that was often in the playoffs, but didn’t win a championship. Leonard’s career WAR? 25.7. Radke’s, 22.1. Both had a SO/9 of 5.4 for their careers. And Radke was never a party animal, either. Unless you consider fishing to be partying.

BTW, the last manager Leonard played for, Dick Howser, sadly died at age 51 in 1987. And current team owner John Sherman thinks it would make his widow happy if taxpayers built a new stadium. Aww....

Today's Lineups

Carlos Correa - SS Maikel Garcia - 3B
Edouard Julien - 2B Bobby Witt - SS
Alex Kirilloff - 1B MJ Melendez - LF
Max Kepler - RF Salvador Perez - 1B
Jorge Polanco - 3B Freddy Fermin - C
Matt Wallner - DH Michael Massey - DH
Willi Castro - CF Kyle Isbel - CF
Ryan Jeffers - C Drew Waters - RF
Joey Gallo - LF Nicky Lopez - 2B
Sonny Gray - RHP Brady Singer - RHP

Making room for Polanco is Cole Sands, sent back to AAA. Polanco has only played nine games at 3B, all in 2016, but I do vaguely recall that being mentioned as a possible move for him way back when he was scuffling defensively at shortstop.