Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
The city of Milwaukee has closed the “Soup” kitchen. When the Brewers signed Jeff Suppan in December of 2006, I was giddy with excitement. Conventional wisdom in the present day is something along the lines of:
“He’s a career .500 pitcher. What did you expect?”
At the time of his signing, Suppan was in the off-season of a stellar 48-26 three-year run with the St. Louis Cardinals. The finances of the contract aside, the burden heaped upon him was not unwarranted. He was expected to win. He was expected to eat innings. He was expected to be durable. He was expected to deliver this team to the post-season. He did none, save the last. And therein lies his redemption.
“Soup” was a cumulative disappointment in Milwaukee, but for one month in 2008, he contributed to $42 million worth of memories.
Remember 2008? The 162 game rain that quenched a 26-year thirst? How easily we recall the Braun blasts, the McClung fastballs, the dominance of CC, the “Reign of Sveum.” How quickly we forget the unblemished August of Jeff Suppan.
Suppan certainly did not single-handedly shoulder the squad in August of ’08. The team opened the month 60-49…closed 80-56. They were playing solid ball at the time. But when the Wild Card was won in game 162, the Brewers needed every one of his 5 victories that month. Of course they could have used a couple from him in September, and he absolutely blew in the NLDS, and he was so awful this year that even after being demoted to the pen, the team decided it was better to pay him to go away than to pay him to lose games.
There’s not enough track in the world to get this train to the Land of Make Believe, where the Jeff Suppan deal smells rosy. But I think it’s fair to ask, how much would you pay to get back to the post-season?