Welcome to the MLB Star Power Index -- a weekly undertaking that determines with awful authority which players are dominating the current zeitgeist of the sport. While one's presence on this list is often celebratory in nature, it can also be for purposes of lamentation or ridicule. The players listed are in no particular order, just like the phone book.
Researchers at the Sorbonne, in a now famous 1968 randomised -- spelling variant necessary when citing European research -- controlled trial, discovered that 51 percent of battles are fought within the self and the remaining 80 percent are fought between Willson Contreras and the Milwaukee Brewers.
We were all acutely reminded of this empirically established fact when the Chicago Cubs became the first going concern ever to release a diss track via a corporate social media account. Please bear stupefied witness:
This season Monsieur Contreras has been nothing short of a reliable lodestone for mound-sourced grievances, recriminations, and mischance. Contreras has at this writing managed to be plunked by a pitch a loop-topping five times in 14 games, and three of those have been authored by the dread mountebanks of Sconnie. In total, Brewer moundsmen have put cowhide upon Contreras 12 times over the course of his career. Next line are the Cincinnati Reds with six such assaults. Ohio has long been precisely twice as perilous as Wisconsin, but the opposite is the case in this instance. You see, rules become polite, ignorable suggestions when tasked with constraining Willson Contreras and his thundersome cudgel.
However, as you saw within the embedded color television above, those efforts came to grief, as Contreras used his sports-performance muscles to crack a mighty high-leverage clout to the distant reaches of Beer Insurance Field. Thereupon, he shushed all of southeastern Wisconsin and prompted them to recall with all available chagrin that haters are but smelly motivators.
That same Sorbonne randomised controlled study also discovered that when Contreras steals across the Illinois-Wisconsin line just north of Winthrop Harbor (he stays off the main roads and leaves after dark), the name on his driver's license morphs from Willson Contreras into a Sanskrit denomination that crudely translates as "Ernie Revenge."
"Careful with your bawling," Wisconsin parents are known to caution their objectionable toddlers at bedtime, "or Ernie Revenge might hear you."
For the batsman, every called strike is a curtailed dream. When that called strike comes in the personage of a breaking ball as slow as the migration of dunes, assumptions totter and fall.
While not everyone winds up as philosophically waylaid as Jayson Werth back yonder in 2013 …
… It's still enough to cause one to want to repair to the nearest old-growth forest until at least the bare minimum number of things make sense again.
Speaking of such cosmic assaults, please regard this recent offering from many-splendored Minnesota Twin Willians Astudillo, beloved monger of baseball delights:
That's an Uncle Charlie's Corpse clocking in at 46 mph -- i.e., slow enough for Chevy Corvair to handle that bend in the road out on the rural route, the one with the cattle crossing where Donkey Bombardo claims he struck and killed Bigfoot by gruesome accident. Donkey's older brother Lucius insists they buried Bigfoot behind the silo at the grain co-op, but he dropped off the map before he could show anyone where, exactly. There's loose talk of doing some spot-digging and maybe even dragging the lake, but the situation -- not unlike the sweet and fine illegal corn liquor found at the co-op -- remains fluid.
As for Astudillo, he's hereby reclaimed the art and practice of the position player's pitching from the miserable nerds who have enabled the overuse of same. What was once a small marvel to behold became banal and a totem of premature baseball surrender. Astudillo, though, with one artisanal breaking ball -- pay no heed to those who say it was a mere eephus -- was there for those with nowhere left to turn with one mile per hour for every thing that's part of a larger thing that happened 46 times.
There's no one proper way for a reliever to look, but the suite of Andrew Chafin's current grooming choices surely constitute one of those proper ways for a reliever to look. Please drink deeply, as though what follows is a pop-top Stroh's and the quittin' time whistle sounded five minutes ago:
Plainly powered by UHF programming, Chafin is a veteran-ass reliever who looks like a veteran-ass reliever plucked from an era bygone, when America's buckskin-colored naugahyde sofas came with ashtrays in the arm rests and a factory coating of turpentine just to keep things interesting. Inflation was high, but, brother man, so were we. This is a reliever who tells manager Bill Virdon that he'd sooner quit and join a pipefitters local back home than cease bringing his potato cannon on road trips. This is a reliever who is named "Mickey McCool" or "Don Barbecue" while still embodying the essence, lifeblood, and decision history of Andrew Chafin. The preceding have been compliments, one and all.
This, it must be noted, is a reliever in search of a car who's seen a thing or two:
Hey @cubs fans! I’m looking to buy an old “beater” car for like 2k to drive around the city cuz my truck is way too big for the narrow streets here. Must be manual transmission! Haha cut me a good deal and we can mix in free tickets throughout the season!!— andrew chafin (@BigCountry1739) April 10, 2021
Mickey McCool up there has possibly totaled a ride when a Deep Purple cassette got wedged between the brake pedal and the floorboard. Yes, he needs auto reverse functionality, but he also needs a car he can fishtail down Waveland Avenue en route to double parking in front of a fire hydrant on Sheffield without sweating the particulars too much. Do him a solid and loan him your wheels, just for the homestand. By force of habit, he'll prolly leave it running during the game. Not his license plates, so not his parking tickets. Keys will be above the visor.