In Which We Review: Gerald Laird, Catcher (2.47)

2012 Stats Fangraphs | Baseball Reference | MLB.com

 0.9 WAR, .282/.337/.374/.710, 2 HR, 7.3 BB%, 11.0 K%, .309 BABIP, 191 PA

So, the Detroit Tigers and Gerald Laird. I suppose you wouldn’t expect me to write much about him, you know, seeing as how he signed a two year deal with the Atlanta Braves back on Thursday but this series is focusing on each player who laced up a pair of cleats for the big boys in Detroit last year and I also feel a bit nostalgic about Laird so I was actually really looking forward to writing this eulogy for the bloodthirsty traitor. Hugs. Hugs!

Laird’s 2012 season was a complete flip of his previous seasons in Detroit. Perhaps some of that had to do with the fact that it was the first real season with the Tigers with the backup label assigned to his name. The baseball term backup, in general, means one plays with much less frequency than a regular player does and therefore the fans see him less frequently on the playing field. If you were to ask if that means that Gerald Laird is a bad player I would respond to you in question: Would you feel good about a competitive baseball team if Gerald Laird were the primary catcher? I don’t think I need to answer that, nor do you.

Gerald Laird had a very respectful 2012 season because he played in a third of the team’s games and therefore his incredible foot speed, his megabuster bat, and his charming grace spent most of the time in the dugout rather than at or behind the plate.

And so, Laird had his moments and we are now able to remember him fondly, rather than unfondly which is a weird word but that’s what we thought of him back in 2009 and 2010 when he was basically the full time starter. This is all something we’d like to forget.

Laird had four separate three hit games in 2012. They occurred on the 15th of April, the 17th of June, the 7th of July, and the 18th of September. Of those four games, none of them can be called his most memorable of the season. That award belongs to a game on the 18th of April:

In the top of the 9th, with the gargantuan Jonathan Broxton on the mound for Kansas City, Gerald Laird stepped to the dish and tapped his bat on the edge of the plate. He had that devilish little grin on his face. Maybe he knew he owned the element of surprise (not to mention a half-giant on the mound). Maybe he just ate a bit of seafood sausage and realized that he may be required to run the bases. Who knows. Only Laird knows. And Laird squared to bunt. Not only did he square to bunt but he actually bunted and he laid a perfect pop up over the mound. Broxton was so surprised he nearly fell over.

By the time the Royals recovered the ball, Laird was heaving on first base and onlookers everywhere were beside themselves with laughter.

I wish I had a GIF of that. I don’t. I do have a GIF of Gerald Laird but it’s of Gerald Laird being Gerald Laird and not Gerald Laird in him most memorable at bat of the season. Since I can’t give you that, I will give you a GIF or two of Gerald Laird being the ultimate actor, Showman Laird.

 

Some say memories are always better in comical fashion. I agree. And that’s what Laird was too many of us. He certainly wasn’t an excellent player but his final year in Detroit was above average and that’s always better than producing like a number of the team’s corner outfield solutions.

In the end, the only thing sadder than the fact that I wrote a post totaling 652 words about Gerald Laird after he already left the team is the fact that you knowingly read this.

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