June 20th: Yuniesky Betancourt snares a Jason Bay line drive, sewing up a complete game shutout for Jeff Weaver.
Everyone likes a flawed hero embarking on a path to redemption. And there are few heroes more flawed than Jeff Weaver.
I don't really have anything new to add to what I wrote about the game after it happened. This isn't the kind of thing that you can look at from a bunch of angles or analyze for its various story lines. You can't talk about it one day, then talk about it again the next and offer a different viewpoint. This narrative has but a solitary plot thread with a singular interpretation - a beaten pitcher pulling himself up by the bootstraps at a time when nobody believed in him but himself, and even his own confidence was unsteady. It was, in many ways, the ultimate comeback, and were one to watch video of the game with an understanding of the context, that's the only way in which he'd see it.
A lot of people might not agree with my placing Weaver's achievement so high on the list. That's fine; I don't expect everyone to feel the same way as me about everything. But as far as I'm concerned, I can say with absolute certainty that I found precious few events all season long to be as downright rewarding - in every sense of the word - as Jeff Weaver approaching Kenji with a big stupid grin. Rare are the moments that a fan feels happier for one of his players than he does for himself. But as backwards as it may seem, these are the moments that prove the most memorable.
Jeff Weaver may not have been a good pitcher in 2007, but in my book, thanks to this shutout, he'll always be one of the most beloved piles of crap in Mariner history.