Let me begin by saying that I really like Seth McClung.
He's a charismatic and seemingly personable player with whom fans can identify and hope succeeds. Something I like even more than Seth McClung is the concept of Seth McClung having an unfiltered medium to fire off stream of consciousness thoughts, random musings and wild interactions out into the world. Enter @BigRedBBall.
Over the winter, Clunger inked a minor league deal with the Crew with hopes of cracking a big league roster for the first time since he appeared in 41 games for the Brewers in 2009. The low-profile signing was enough to spark a collective "Oh yeah! I remember Seth McClung!" among most Milwaukee faithful. Caught up in Big Red fever myself, as well as the Kenny Powers-type storyline of Southern fried reliever taking a shot at the bigs again, I permitted McClung to join the rarefied ranks of Cinnabon, Dad Boner, adult film star Lexi Belle and CYBORG HANSON TOMMY... also known as "Things and people I follow on Twitter."
In no time, it became obvious that my decision to follow McClung was a great one. Behind the 140 available characters the fringe reliever employed, one tremendous character emerged. Each poorly-punctuated, misspelled, fucked up tweet granted insight into the inner workings of McClung's unconventional mind. In a world where 98 percent of professional athletes waste bandwidth by shitting out unoriginal tweets like "Off to the gym! lol" or typing stupid shit about God or whatever, Seth's unpolished and less-filtered take on tweeting was a refreshing change of pace. Whether tweeting covert pictures from team meetings, publicly asking companies for free shit or throwing me a retweet when I made fun of him, it was all pretty great.
Sadly, after a Spring Training spent making me laugh online and struggling on the mound, McClung failed to earn a spot on Milwaukee's roster and was sent to languish in triple-A Nashville. Around that time, Clunger also unplugged from the Twitter-sphere and went off the grid. Figuring nothing gold can stay, I had the foresight to snag a few screen caps of some particularly enjoyable @BigRedBBall gems. Honestly, some of these don't even scrape the surface of the account's quality. But like the long-extinct Carolina Parakeet, Surge, or the expectation of new episodes of The Office being funny, it's gone now. All we can do is look back on it fondly and appreciate whatever particulate residue remains from it.
I now give you the top 10 @BigRedBBall tweets (we have):
10. "Let her shine by herself Joe"
Raise your hand if you took Seth McClung to be an Idol aficianado? Not so fast, entire universe. My brain read this tweet in the same crying tone that "Leave Britney Alone!!!" dude had.
9. House for sale
Twitter can be used for a lot of things. It's part promotional tool, part sounding board, a means of trying out new jokes, a way to connect. Additionally, you can sell your own house. If I wasn't poor and petrified to be anywhere near Florida for more than 15 minutes, I'd jump at the chance to own something a marginal Brewers pitcher jacked off inside of. Maybe I can find the Quizno's where Ruben Quevedo works.
8. "I think Id play a solid bad guy."
McClung is at that weird level of notoriety where a very small and specific group of people is aware he exists. Where I would be thrilled to see him in a cameo where he's a quirky gas station employee in some road trip boner comedy, 150 percent of the rest of the planet wouldn't recognize him from any other bit actor. When he wrote this, I said "I thought you were the guy who said 'Sweet!' on those Dodger Hemi ads." He replied, "I wish!" and retweeted me. In that fleeting moment, I felt kind of famous. Speaking of, any screenwriters out there have a role for me?
7. Not a morning person.
It happens to the best of us. Just, most of us aren't wearing button down baseball jerseys when we do it.
6. "Learn from a PRO!"
Perhaps Clunger had an inkling a promotion to Milwaukee was unlikely during the spring. Hence him hocking $50 pitching lessons behind the field after practices. Still, it'd be kind of cool to get tips from a pro athlete while at Spring Training. It's times like these I wish I was 10 again and my mom's boyfriend was angling for my approval.
5. Pitchers be prayin'!!!
This is evidence of the hurler's sensitivity. Amid the chaos, Seth would occasionally sprinkle in a mention of how much he missed his wife and daughter, as well as this. Humanizing. Touching. Almost makes you forget that airplanes are exponentially safer than cars are.
4. Thank goodness the Brewers signed Jay Gibbons.
February 28th, 2012. Mark that date down as the first time anyone was happy Jay Gibbons was on their team.
3. Juggler "fore hire."
More shameless self promo. Depending on how much he charges for juggling, this could actually be a pretty good deal. My birthday is December 18th, by the way. WINK! WINK!
2. Send shoes.
"Yo, Nike. Big fan. So... I'm a professional athlete who has a standing offer on his home. I also accept untaxed income to play catch with kids. Anyway, where was I going with this? Oh yeah, send me some free shit."
1. "Saw something crazy in the sky..."
McClung's current 2-10 record an 5.17 ERA in 16 starts at Nashville makes him an unlikely call-up for Milwaukee. Plus, there are a heft of better and younger minor league options (many already on the 40-man roster) that would likely take the mound before Seth, even if he turned his season around after the All-Star break. Still, I can take the likelihood of never seeing Seth McClung pitch another inning again, if I could just see one more tweet from @BigRedBBall. RIP.