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Son Ranto Rants

Pedro Strops Crooked Hat His Undoing

By Danny Rockett

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It's been long documented that the unconventional way Pedro Strop wears his hat, slightly to the left, has resulted in botched relief appearances and blown holds, but this Spring, Pedro's tilted hat has resulted in a far more nefarious outcome for the reliever, a calf injury.

Pedro's left calf muscle has kept him out of Spring Training action this year, and it seems years of extra unnecessary grams of pressure exerted onto Strop's left leg over his 9 year career has finally taken it's toll on the right handers calf.

Back in 2009 through 2011, when Strop pitched for the Rangers at the beginning of his career, Pitching Coach Mike Maddux levied fines against Strop for his unorthodox hat fashion. Even sending him to a local haberdashery to learn the history of hat wearing in order to appreciate the long tradition of wearing hats straight. But it was to no avail, and now we finally see the chickens coming home to roost. I liken it to a life long smoker who finally gets lung cancer. It was bound to happen.

Strop also suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee during the Cubs Championship season of 2016. It was the first sign of trouble that the extra weight from his left leaning hat was exerting pressure and weakening Pedro's left leg. The injury should have been a wake up call to Manager Joe Maddon that his motivational slogan of "If it Looks Hot, Wear It" shouldn't apply to players who are out of uniform, as Strop has been for his entire career.

Fans in Chicago have even tried to convince Strop that his hat was ruining his pitching performances as well. Complaining regularly on Twitter that the 16 home runs he's given up in 271 plus innings since he's been a Chicago Cub have been caused by his tilted and disrespecting hat. 

And though some Cubs fans have embraced Pedro Strop's crooked hat, even taking #Selfies with their own hats tilted left when Strop appears in a game, complete with the #HatsLeft hashtag in a show of solidarity with the setup reliever, the fun appears to be over. Fans that know how baseball should be played, The Right Way, also know that baseball uniforms need to be worn the right way to achieve success. It seems that the years of individuality Pedro has enjoyed up until now has finally caught up with him.

So what's next for Pedro Strop and when can we expect him back pitching for the Cubs? Famed baseball surgeon Dr. James Andrews has prescribed at least 2 weeks of rehab of throwing off a flat surface with Strop's hat twisted slightly to the right to try and counteract years of damage. This process should help even out Strop as he gets used to pitching in live games with his hat worn correctly. It's too early to tell if this method of rehabilitation will be effective, as years of wearing a hat to the left has left Strop's scalp damaged and uneven. The treatment has only been tried once before on reliever Fernando Rodney resulting in increased longevity, but with the side effect of Rodney impulsively shooting imaginary and invisible arrows when he pitches. Rodney still wears his hat crooked, but spends the off season turning his hat in the opposite direction to prepare for the new season. He sadly sometimes thinks he's wearing a hat even when he isn't. Rodney is nearly a decade older than Strop and if Pedro is to achieve Rodney's longevity, a similar hat training program should be implemented immediately.

The Cubs bullpen looked promising with the off season acquisitions of Steve Cishek and Brandon Morrow, both of who wear their hat in the traditional fashion, but Pedro Strop is a key piece to the Cubs pitching staff. It's a shame to lose such a valuable pitcher due to a crooked hat. Let's hope Pedro Strop realizes that his flouting of tradition is not only an affront to baseball, but could possibly end his career. Hat's off to the Cubs for nipping this in the bud now before #HatsLeft is all that's left of Pedro Strop.

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Sweatyetta Sails

Well. Finally we have an answer. Jake Arrieta is now a Philadelphia Phillies pitcher and will be rooted for by #TFG.

This Philly fanatic intentionally vomited on a dad and little girl, which apparently resulted in the black eye you see before you in his police photo. Read about his winning moment here.

But I'm not here to bash Philly fans or Philadelphia as a city. Well kind of...I'm writing this because I think Jake Arrieta made a huge mistake and so did the Phillies.

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Jake has been a man without a team and this signing of 3 years, 75 million, though front loaded and incentive laden, is not as good as a deal as Theo Epstein and the Cubs offered him. If the deal Jake was offered was anywhere close to what the Cubs gave Yu Darvish, he turned down the better deal, at least as far as guaranteed years goes, to pitch for a team that is unlikely to make the playoffs. Maybe the Wild Card. But even if Jake is worth 5 WAR this year (and he won't be), that hardly places the Phillies in contention unless some of their young prospects step up and outperform expectations. 

But Jake's choice to pitch in Philly is bad for another reason. It's about sweating. We at the Son Ranto Show noticed that when Jake labored through innings in 2017, he got real sweaty. And now, Jake will be pitching most of his games in Philly. One of the most humid places in the county. I lived there during 2 different summers for 3 months at a time. And let me tell you. It's hot. With average temps in the mid to high 80s from June through August. Plus, games in sweltering places like Washington DC and Atlanta. I think you're likely to see the return of Baltimore Jake, at least in terms of sweatiness. And we all saw what that did to Jake last year.

Chicago's temps are an average 5 degrees cooler than Philadelphia, and the only NL Central road team we play where it gets real hot and sweaty is St. Louis. And though Jake has a miniscule .60 ERA over 2 games at Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philadelphia. He has a 4.40 ERA in St. Louis and a 5.56 ERA in Baltimore. I'm predicting a lot of sweat and a lot of opposing teams runs.

Add to it all the fact the the Phillies don't really have a solid catching situation. Jorge Alfaro and Casey Knapp are young and unproven, though Alfaro is a prospect, and veteran Cameron Rupp is fighting to stay the incumbent catcher. Plus Philadelphia's overall middling defense, you're looking at a possibly long and sweaty summer for Jake Sweatyetta. I mean Arrieta...

In addition, the Phillies have a pitching coach, Rick Kranitz, who was the pitching coach for the Orioles before. Remember Jake? The Orioles? Who you said ruined everything for you before you were a Cubs? Good luck when the mechanics go awry again like they did last year. 

The Phillies aren't winning anything this year except maybe a wild card lottery ticket, and Jake chose a change of scene. And though I really appreciate what Jake Arrieta did for the Cubs who over-performed in 2015 thanks largely to his efforts. He was simply not the Ace we had hoped in the championship year of 2016, and definitely not in 2017 when he was barely worth 2 wins and didn't even pitch in a 7th inning. 

Now to dog on Philly a bit. Their cheesesteaks are nowhere near as good as an Italian Beef in Chicago. They even use Cheese Whiz instead of actual cheese!

Their pretzels are not pretzel shaped. 

And they have some of the worst fans in the major leagues. Just as violent as Dodger fans but way stupider. I was accosted by Philly fans when the Mets played there in 2011, and I was with my 14 year old niece! I used to joke that when the really stupid immigrants came to Ellis Island, they sent them to Philadelphia and told them it was NYC. The morons probably didn't even figure out they were in the wrong city for half a decade. 

So....Thanks for the wonderful memories Jake. But you done played this all wrong. If I were him, I'd fire Scott Boras immediately. But maybe wait until the night the Cubs win the World Series in 2018 and Jake's sitting at home wishing he was there. 

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