Joey Gallo has been promoted to the big leagues. This is gonna be a ton of fun. Of course I've heard the message this is a temporary assignment; Joey's a seat filler until Meryl Streep comes back from the restroom. Doesn't diminish my joy one bit and it shouldn't knock even the slightest dent in yours.
I figure I've seen Joey play about 60 games in person and never once have I been bored or ambivalent towards an at-bat. For that matter, I've never slept on him at 3B or 1B or LF or running around the pads either. He's one of those rare birds who radiates electricity and magnetic watchability. He'll be 0-4 in an 11-3 blowout, and you'll still wanna watch that 5th plate appearance in the last of the 8th. And if I had any advice for watching him during this hastily scheduled dress rehearsal, it's to just enjoy it.
Suffice it to say, there isn't a single person who's read this far who is expecting Joey to come in and light up the big leagues. He might still do it, but if you're honestly certain it's going to happen, I'd like to ask you a few quick questions about this Saturday's Belmont Stakes. Often, a minor leaguer is called up for an audition, of sorts. A polished guy who's paid his dues is inserted into the big parks to try and find a suitable place for him to contribute. This isn't one of those situations. This is more like an orientation. "Here's your schedule, there's your locker over there, classes begin everyday at 2:30 and the tests are every night at 7:05". That's why I'm cool with the idea. Obviously, Joey's not quite ready to battle it out everyday against the laser-sighted accuracy of big league starters and the double-dosage of nasty plus pitches served up by most MLB relievers. At least we don't think he is. Maybe he is, ever thought about it? Anyway, that's why this isn't as drastic a call-up as one might initially think. It's an orientation, not an audition.
The final concern I can allay is any lingering anxiety about what this might do to Joey's psyche. The big leagues have chewed up and spit out even some of the most mentally tough kids, but I'd be more than shocked if Joey was someday amongst them. I've watched (read: 'stalked') him from pre-game BP to signing autographs on the way to his car after a heavy defeat, and I just don't see anything that happens during this orientation getting the best of him. Not mentally, not physically, not emotionally. Joey's a bright kid and although he's probably been peeing his giant pants for the last 24 hours or so, he'll be ready to handle whatever happens to him on the field.
So my advice? Just enjoy this. I'll give us, all of us, the same advice they probably gave him, "Just enjoy this because whatever happens in the next couple of weeks is not going to change what we think about Joey Gallo." He's probably gonna be a bit tight for the first few games. He wants to be a big leaguer real, real, reallll bad. And he might press a bit. Will he swing and miss? Will he rush a throw to 1B? You betcha. But I'll still be watching. You'll be watching. Everyone will be watching. We watch baseball, not because we've already seen it, but because we haven't seen it yet. Up until now, no one's seen what happens when a big league pitcher, in a big league stadium, leaves a ball low and over the plate in a 2-0 count against Joey Gallo. That's gonna happen, and when it does, you'll wanna say you saw it.
Congrats to the development team, and Todd Guggiana, the scout who popped him with the 39th overall pick in 2012. Congrats to Jason Giambi and Frisco hitting coach Jason Hart and hitting wizard Josue Perez and Hickory manager Corey Ragsdale. Congrats to Joey's first hitting coach, Mike Bryant, whose son Kris is no slouch himself. Congrats to Joe Mikulik, who once benched Joey last year for not breaking up a double-play. (That was the right thing to do. Joe is the shit) Congrats to everyone who had a hand in molding an obscenely talented young lump of clay into a baseball player ready for even a temporary closeup. That doesn't make sense, so it means I should stop now.
Enjoy Joey, everyone! Even the kid's swings and misses are more exciting than most players' doubles.
As always, enjoy baseball! Love Ya!