"You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." - Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight
Casey McGehee was a hero. He came from the Cubs two years ago (where they didn't think he was worthy of being a backup on their team) and ended up playing better than their much higher paid third baseman while becoming a hero to Brewers fans everywhere. His story was a good one, the kind of story that can only happen in baseball, a story of a guy who scouts didn't think much of who suddenly started hitting better than he ever had before in his whole life. He became a star and Brewers fans fell in love with Casey McGehee much in the same way they are falling in love with Nyjer Morgan today. His jerseys were everywhere and he could do no wrong in the eyes of his fans. Casey McGehee wasn't a top draft pick or the son of a former major leaguer, he was a working class guy that looked like he'd fit in great in the parking lot. Casey and the Brewers were a perfect match and love blossomed.
And then this season started.He started off okay, not as a great as the last two seasons, but nothing to worry about. Then things got worse and worse and then just when you though they couldn't get any worse than that, they did. By the All-Star break Casey McGehee was one of the worst everyday players in all of Major League Baseball and the love affair was officially over.
When Casey got an out it was inevitable. When Casey got a hit it was lucky. When Casey made an error it was "JESUS CHRIST CAN'T YOU DO ANYTHING RIGHT!?" Patience wore thin and the fans who once loved him wanted him to lose his job. People wanted the Brewers to make a trade or to call up Taylor Green or move Mat Gamel back to third or give his starts to Josh Wilson. They wanted someone else, ANYONE else as long as it wasn't Casey.
And the numbers backed them up. Casey wasn't hitting for power. Casey's month-by-month OPS was embarrassing. His groundballs were up and his flyballs were down. Green and Gamel's ZiPs projections look better than Casey's. All signs pointed to giving up on Casey McGehee, but the Brewers wouldn't do it. The Brewers believed in Casey McGehee no matter what because he earned that chance.
"I feel like the guys in here have definitely stood by me, had confidence in me." - Casey McGehee, yesterday
Yesterday their faith was rewarded as Casey McGehee hit three homeruns in a single game. In the long run of the season it's only one game and in the grand scheme of things this could only be a blip on the radar, but for one day it was awesome. Casey was back and the Brewers won. Happy day.
This was Casey saying thank you for believing in me to his teammates, but in a way he hit them for us too. We gave up on Casey when we shouldn't have and he didn't hold it against us. He just kept trying to get back to who he was, to get back to the player we all fell in love with even after we'd moved on. He didn't blame us. He did his best and he was a hero once more. We didn't do anything to earn a game like yesterday, but it didn't matter to him because Casey McGehee is a hero.
Not the hero we deserve, but the one we needed.