Seeing Rick Porcello win the 2016 American League Cy Young award was satisfying. It may have been by the slightest of margins, but it made me happy nonetheless. On the other hand, seeing Rick Porcello win the 2016 American League Comeback Player of the Year award gave me a feeling that I can’t even describe. Why? July 1st, 2015 is why.
On July 1st, 2015, the Red Sox had a game in Toronto on Canada day. To that point in the season, newly acquired starter Rick Porcello had not been living up to the contract extension that he was given before even throwing a pitch as a member of the team. However, it was not until this day that I had completely lost all hope that he could ever succeed in Boston. On this day, he got absolutely shelled. He got torched. He got ROCKED like I’ve never seen a pitcher get rocked before. In 2 innings of work, the man whom many fans affectionately nicknamed “Porcellblow” got tagged for 7 earned runs. Not only did he allow 7 runs; he allowed 3 home runs. This meant that I was subjected to listening that unbelievably irritating fog horn they have in Toronto 3 times. Once my blood pressure receded from its sky high levels, I came to the realization that I would be stuck watching this sad excuse of a pitcher for the next 4.5 seasons. There was nothing I could do except for sit there and pray for the impossible to happen. Pray for Rick to transform from a fastball heavy 6.08 ERA guy, to the promising sinkerballer that he had been with the Tigers.
Now here we are. Approximately 1 year and 5 months after I officially gave up on Rick Porcello, he has been named the American League’s 2016 Comeback Player of the Year. Being a die-hard fan of the team, this is almost like a proud dad sort of moment. It’s like watching your son get cut from the JV basketball team his freshman year, use the next year to train and go to camps, and wind up making the Varsity team in his sophomore year. I just want to pat him on the back and tell him that he’s done a good job. This year I’ve seen fans and players refer to Rick Porcello as “Slick Rick”, “Ricky P”, “Pretty Ricky”, and even the occasional “Cy Porcello”. I guess the old “Porcellblow” nickname doesn’t seem as appropriate as it did back on Canada Day in 2015. A man whom I once dreaded to see as a probable starter is now the only person I’d want on the mound in a World Series clinching game. And now it’s his job to get us there.
P.S. I feel as though Porcello’s hat from 2016 deserves a shoutout. No matter how gross it got, he kept going with it and I believe that this was a crucial part of his performance this year. Thank you.