August 15, 2011
You're nobody in the major leagues until Florida Marlins manager/grandpa Jack McKeon butchers the pronunciation of your name.
McKeon joked his way through a senior moment during a postgame interview Sunday, confusing the San Francisco Giants pitcher with a product of fine German automobile engineering.
In the seventh inning, Vogelsong became visibly angry — throwing down his bat with both arms like Thor wielding his hammer — after getting plunked on the triceps with a pitch by Marlins right-hander Burke Badenhop(notes) (speaking of fun names).
Coming into the game, both teams carried memories of the Buster Posey(notes)-Scott Cousins crash that cost Posey his season. Vogelsong getting hit had nothing to do with that, probably, but instead had everything to do with a pitch simply getting away from Badenhop. In the heat of the moment, Vogelsong got upset. It probably hurt.
After the game, McKeon — who is listed as being 80 years old but might have managed before cars — evoked the memories of great intimidators of days gone by analyzing Vogelsong's emotional reaction.
"Guys get carried away," McKeon said. "Vogel … Volkswagen … whatever his name is — he's lucky he didn't have to face Drysdale or Gibson or one of those guys. You would get a shave and a haircut real quick."
And by haircut, Jack doesn't mean a trip to Sportclips. Don Drysdale and Bob Gibson used the seams on baseballs like McKeon's barber uses a straight razor.
As of this writing, Vogelsong at leads the NL in ERA at 2.47 through 20 starts. That's better than Roy Halladay(notes) (or anyone on the Phillies), better than teammate Tim Lincecum(notes), better than Clayton Kershaw(notes) — you name him.
Vogelsong's advanced statistics reveal a pitcher who's not quite in that league, but then again, the rest of the league has been waiting for Vogelsong to regress ever since his first start. So far, the 34-year-old refuses to tank. And that's where we can find the real value of Vogelsong's amazing breakthrough of a 2011 season.
On Sunday, he matched a career-high with eight strikeouts and retired 17 straight batters at one point.
"Every win is significant," he said. "To me, the road I've been on, they all mean something."
It also means something for Vogelsong to be inducted into McKeon's Hall of Malaprops. It means he's made it.