13 March 2008

The Iron of Fake Baseball

MINNEAPOLIS - Recently, catcher Jose Almonte was acknowledged for his long streak of consecutive games played, which has lasted the entire existence of the league.

"Es un gran honor ser mencionado en las mismas frases con los héroes de béisbol como Stan Musial, Lou Gehrig, y Cal Ripken, Hijo. En algunos lugares, me comparan con mi compadre y mi amigo, Miguel (Tejada). Sólo intento jugar y divertirme cada día y si jugar cada día sea impresivo para los aficionados, pues, gracias," Almonte said at a recent offseason meet-and-greet with fans. "Doy gracias a mi Dios por darme tanta buena salud y al gerente por poner su fé en mi cada día durante las siete estaciones. Sólo espero un aumento de pagamiento para pagar mi cirugia en ambas rodillas durante mis años 40," he said, laughing.

Here's some more info about Almonte. His 1,134-game streak would theoretically put him in sixth place all-time compared with the real Major Leaguers. If he made it through season 8, he would pass Miguel Tejada's streak, which we all witnessed, and Steve Garvey's run in the '70s and '80s.

During Almonte's streak, it was easy to put him in the lineup the first four seasons because his durability was 100 or better. Around this time the website fixed the ratings so they never go over 100, and Almonte also got double-whammied by his age bringing down his resiliency. In season six, he dropped below 100% for the first time, and in season seven José ended the season at 96%. Almonte also walked 100 or more times each year during the streak, and his career .407 on-base percentage bears witness to why he deserves to stay in the lineup.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the streak is that he did not start two of the games in season five, coming in off the bench instead. Almonte also has played two games as the DH. Although the manager tried to work in his backup, Jeffrey Brow, in the later innings more often in season seven, Almonte played the most innings behind the plate at age 34. Brow himself has played in 130 or more games each of the last three seasons and is the first pinch hitter off the bench.

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