Last night Sean Doolittle earned his 7th save as a member of the Washington Nationals. He was aided by a circus catch by left fielder Andrew Stevenson.
The Nationals acquired Doolittle in July to fill their holes in the bullpen and push them past the Division Series for the first time since the team was called the Montreal Expos.
In fact here is an odd fact. There have been three major league franchises in Washington DC. The original Senators who existed from 1901 to 1960, the expansion Senators who existed from 1961 to 1971 and the Nationals who have been there since 2005.
Not once in the history of Washington MLB has a pitcher thrown a clinching out in a post season series. The only post season series ever won by a Washington team was the 1924 World Series. The Senators beat the Giants in the 12th inning of Game 7 on a walk off double by Earl McNeely.
So basically the Nationals are asking Sean Doolittle to do something no other Washington pitcher has ever done.
Doolittle is a talented pitcher who excelled in the 2014 season when Grant Balfour’s defection and Jim Johnson’s ineffectiveness opened up the closer role. Doolittle, who had been a middle reliever for the 2012 and 2013 AL West champs saved 22 games to an ERA of 2.73 in 62 2/3 innings. He struck out 89 and walked only 8 and helped the A’s into the Wild Card game.
It also got him a multimillion dollar contract and an All Star game berth. Injuries have hampered his 2015 and 2016 seasons but he is back as an effective reliever and one the Nats need.
Now if you follow the podcast and the blog, you know that I know Sean Doolittle.
Are we so close that we have sliced our hands, pressed our palms together and said “Our blood with flow in both of our veins”?
No. But only because it creeped him out when I asked him to do it.
Do I know him well enough to send a text of the Lego Ghostbusters Ecto-1 my kids built at Christmas? Sure. He’s a cool guy who loves movies, got my kids autographed hats and took a few selfies with my cousin Jack who is a huge baseball fan.
His fiancee, Eireann (sic) Dolan is a very funny writer and TV personality who stumbled across my podcast. She introduced Sean to my podcast and the rest is history.
When I was at their place recording a podcast, Eireann offered me lemonade with mint in it. I told her I didn’t like mint in my lemonade. She gave it to me anyway. I drank it because I am a good guest. But I swear to GOD if she ever offers me lemonade with mint in it again, there will be hell to pay.
Both Eireann and Sean are goofballs. Sean got dressed up as Chewbacca for the opening of Force Awakens and is quite funny in the A’s commercials he would appear in. Eireann was a regular on CSN California with her hair that changed color more often than a mood ring.
They are also good people. They raise awareness and money for veteran issues, making sure brave men and women who serve our country have access to the health benefits. Their work with Operation Finally Home gets many vets into housing while Swords to Plowshares helps get them jobs.
The two have done work with Syrian refugees, sponsoring a Thanksgiving dinner for 17 families in Chicago. And they were instrumental in making the A’s first LGBTQ Pride Night an unqualified success.
Good people who are goofballs. One happens to throw the ball very well with his left hand. You can guess which one.
OK, here is Sean on my podcast talking about Unicorns and Juggling.
Here is Eireann talking about the trade from Washington.
Here is Eireann as a guest on my 1,000th podcast.
And here is me and Sean because… why not?