If you happen to follow me on Twitter (and if you don't, you are missing some of the greatest in-game commentary since Bill Murray guest-broadcasted in place of Harry Caray after the stroke), you already know that I have taken the keys to the Jeff Baker Fan Bus and I am driving it through the streets of Chicago while honking the horn.
I saw that Baker was batting .107 prior to the game yesterday, and saw that he had been placed in the 7th hole in the lineup at second base. My immediate reaction was to wonder how Koyie Hill felt about batting below a guy who is hitting .107, but as I saw Baker out in the field towering above Ryan Theriot at shortstop, I began thinking that its a shame that he has essentially been worthless at the plate this year.
I mean, there he was standing there with normal human height out on the field - why couldn't he become a reasonably useful second baseman? I'm not asking for Ryne Sandberg, I'm asking for someone good enough to keep Aaron Miles as far away from the active roster as humanly possible.
Thus, I decided that Jeff Baker needed a fan (much as I decided long ago that Gary Scott needed a fan). So I began vocally showing my appreciation for Jeff Baker, or as I like to call him, Mark DeRosa II.
This, of course, embarassed Kris tremendously, as she knows that one shouldn't generally cheer for the position player with a .107 average. She asked me to please quiet down and tried to figure out how to pretend that she didn't know me. Then in the second, Milton Bradley got plunked on an 0-2 pitch to force in a run and bring up Jeff Baker with the bases loaded and 2 outs.
It was on.
With me shouting encouragement with every pitch, Baker proceeded to line a single up the middle to drive in two and provide the Cubs with enough runs to win the game. He later walked after going down 0-2 in the count, and doubled down the left-field line before striking out in the 8th.
This was not a GREAT game, but it certainly was a productive one. He had good at-bats, he got on base, and most importantly, he had a hit with runners in scoring position. His average climbed 54 points to .161 by the end of the game. Well done, sir.
(I'm going to overlook, for now, that Ted Lilly would not have given up a run at all and may have been able to finish a shutout if Jeff hadn't non-chalanted a grounder that turned into a Colby Rasmus hustling single who later scored.)
So, I have called President of the Jeff Baker Fan Club, so that position is taken, but there is plenty of room on the bus so come on aboard! If you're not sold on Jeff Baker, just think of it as the Anti-Aaron Miles Society. The Fan Club Headquarters are in Aisle 424 - I'm thinking of making t-shirts.