The starting pitcher for the Twins tonight will be a young man named Armando Gabino.
Mr. Gabino will be making his major league debut, so it’s kind of a big deal.
Here’s the deal though: He’s the starting pitcher. Armando Gabino hasn’t even been a starting pitcher in the minor leagues. (According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Gabino has made 163 of his 175 professional outings in relief.)
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that the Twins’ pitching staff is a disaster right now. They’re calling lots of people up. Most of their starters from AAA are already in the Twins’ bullpen. So I get the idea of starting someone new. I just couldn’t understand why Gabino.
Until I came across this little nugget: Star Trib
Short version of the story is that, “His wife is expecting the couple's second child, and she was hoping to be at his Aug. 16 start for Class AAA Rochester against Syracuse. But there was a mixup with her itinerary. Instead of Rochester, N.Y., she wound up in Rochester, Minn.”
Holy crap, that is hilarious! Sad and depressing, but hilarious.
Can't you just totally see it happen? She’s working with her travel agent somewhere in the Dominican Republic. She’s talking about her husband who pitches in the Minnesota Twins organization. She asks for two tickets to Rochester. Makes complete sense in a bad romantic comedy kind of way, doesn’t it?
I mean, can't you just picture this poor pregnant woman and her 7-year-old? They climb off the plane in Rochester and ask for directions to the ballpark and end up having to watch the Rochester Honkers playing the St. Cloud River Bats? And, in my mind, neither of them speaks a word of English.
Now, it’s tough to feel too terribly bad for the Gabinos because I’m sure the Twins admin people are taking good care of them now that they’re aware of the situation, don’t you think? And that’s when it hit me.
Doesn’t it seem just a little too convenient that the Gabinos have this unfortunate (though, as previously stated, hilarious) itinerary mixup. Then, during that same trip to the states, Armando gets the call to come to Minnesota and make his major league debut? See where I’m going with this?
I’m just picturing manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson sitting down for a little chat with traveling secretary Remzi Kiratli…
Gardy: "Aw geez Remzi, they flew all the way up to watch him play with the Red Wings and ended up here in Minnesota. I just feel terrible."
Remzi: “Yep. It’s a heckuva deal there Gardy.”
Andy: "So Gardy, whaddya say, as long as she's here, why don't we just fly Armando-y* out here and start him – just to give her a thrill and make the trip worthwhile?"
Gardy: “Hmmm… Heck, he can't be worse than Duensing! Let's do it! Remzi, why don’t you get the wife set up for a few days in a nice hotel. Put ‘em in that Graves 601 place that Mourney does the ads for.”
Remzi: “You betcha!”
And that, dear readers, is the way I think it went down. But no matter. Come 7:10 Central Time tonight, I’ll be an Armando Gabino fan and hoping he does his part to push the Twins toward a season-high five-game win streak.
Hey, the plan’s got a shot. After all, he can’t be worse than Duensing!
*Anyone associated with the Twins organization must have a nickname that ends in Y. I’m sure our traveling secretary is tremendously qualified, but I guarantee you that Remzi Kiratli’s name did not hurt him in the interview process. (“Carl, check this one out – he’s got a double Y!”) For a guy like Armando Gabino though, this is a terrible policy. He's going to get stuck with "Gabby". And, while that nickname has recently become available in this market, it's going to carry a lot of often-injured, prima-donna baggage with it. Maybe if he’s a particularly snappy dresser we can go with “Armani”? Just a thought.