Fantasy Fever: Jonathan Broxton's Cloudy Future From WhatIfSports.com image

Fantasy Fever: Broxton's Cloudy Future

Mike Stanton's best week ever

By Joel Beall, WhatIfSports.com
August 17th, 2010

Before it transformed into a network promoting low-brow, unwatchable reality programming, VH1 was a cable channel whose primary forte was music. At the heart of their programming was a show called "Behind the Music," a 60-minute documentary on "renowned" artists and bands in the industry. ("Renowned" is a fairly loose term for the folks at VH1. While the show started out with good intentions by profiling legends such as Tom Petty and Run-D.M.C., the broadcast evolved into narrating acts like Hootie and the Blowfish, Ricky Martin, and Creed. In a related note, "Behind the Music" was canceled in 2006.)

"Behind the Music" was notorious for two reasons. 1) The unintentional comedy thanks to the over-serious narrative tone and the pretentious self-perspectives of the artists. 2) The recurring plot premise, which goes like this: the band's rise through humble beginnings; the critically-acclaimed success of their debut album; experimentations with alcohol, drugs, and sex; the release of the follow-up record, which nets huge profits but is shredded by music critics; a stint in rehab by one or multiple band members, which leads to downward spiral of the band; the breakup; and finally, the reunion as the narrator comments on happy days on the horizon for the band.

Happier Times

Jonathan Broxton Broxton picked up the save for the NL in the ASG

How does this relate to baseball? As devout readers of this column know, Fantasy Fever has a special affection for Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Jonathan Broxton. He's been described in this space as a hybrid of Cy Young, Chuck Norris, a Greek god, and a hurricane. His dominance was unparalleled, and his badass-aura was only replicated by Patrick Swayze in "Roadhouse." Think this is exaggeration? Take a quick look at his resume:

  • 2005 - Makes his Major League debut by striking out Albert Pujols
  • From July 23, 2006 to August 21, 2007, Big 51 goes 96.2 innings without giving up a bomb
  • Represented the United States in the World Baseball Classic
  • 2009 - Broxton threw an absurd 114 strikeouts in just 76 innings, to go along with an astounding .961 WHIP.

The man is a modern day Paul Bunyan (or at least Bill Brasky).

Broxton's 2010 began like one would imagine it: mainly, with Broxton kicking ass and taking names. The Ox held batters to a meager .133 average, limited runners to an embarrasing.161 OBP, rocked a 14.00 SO/BB ratio, and whittled his WHIP down to 0.577. Besides Mariano Rivera, Broxton was regarded as baseball's finest fireman.

But as "Behind the Music" narrator Jim Forbes would say, "But as soon as Broxton reached the top, his world would start crumbling down."

Beginning in June, Broxton began to suffer from control issues. He was able to temporarily right the ship, and earned an All-Star invite. (Correlate the All-Star nomination with the 2nd album story device in "Behind...") However, since the Midsummer Classic, Ox has been a complete train wreck, blowing three saves with a 10.13 ERA in that time span. In four appearances in August, Broxton has a WHIP of 2.00. Worse, he was recently demoted from the closer's role.

Yet, as noted above, every "Behind the Music" episode concludes with a bright outlook. Manager Joe Torre mentioned that Broxton's absence from the save situation is only transitory until #51 regains his mojo. Almost every closer goes through some stage of struggle in their career, and most are able to bounce back. (Unless your name is Francisco Cordero). And at age 26, Broxton is still years away from his prime.

The haters might be piling up Mr. Broxton. But we know only fools would count out our generation's Dennis Eckersley. We still have your back Ox. Now go out there and give 'em hell.

Start 'em: Mike Stanton, Marlins. Stanton batted .583 with 4 HRs and 8 RBI for the Marlins this past week. Stanton, who was hitting just .231 entering August, now stands at .275 on the season, with 14 HRs and 39 RBI.

Sit 'em: Josh Beckett, Red Sox. The former World Series MVP has given up 13 runs in his last two appearances, allowing 11 hits to the Yankees on August 8 and 10 knocks against the Rangers on August 13. Beckett had previously held his last three opponents to a combined five runs after returning from the disabled list. Jose Guillen

Fantasy Flashback: 1895 Sam Thompson. "Big Sam" led the majors in home runs (18), runs batted in (165), and slugging (.654), and posted a .392 average and .430 on-base percentage in 1895. Hard to fathom a .392 mark wouldn't win the batting crown, considering Josh Hamilton is leading the league at .362 in 2010. Fun fact: at 6'2, 200 pounds, Thompson was nicknamed "Big Sam." Unfortunately, 6'2, 200 lbs is your typical ballplayer nowadays. Thanks BALCO.

Waiver Wire Watch: Poor Jose Guillen. The man's been dropped so often you'd think he was an intended pass for Braylon Edwards. However, with his services attained by San Francisco, Guille~n will be seeing everyday action. For those in need for power, Guille~n's your man.

Rookie Review: Chris Carter, A's. Not exactly the start Oakland envisioned when promoting one of their top hitting prospects to the big club. After getting called up on August 9, Carter has gone 0-for-19 with 9 strikeouts. However, at 6'5, 230 lbs, Carter is projected to be one of baseball's top sluggers, as he hit 27 bombs in Triple-A Sacramento in 113 games.

Big League Chew Player of the Week: Tim Hudson, Braves. After going eight shutout innings against the Dodgers on August 13, Hudson improved to 14-5 on the season. In his last five appearances, Hudson has surrendered only two runs in 36.2 innings, equating to a 0.49 ERA.

Spit Your Tobacco At: Brandon Phillips, Reds. The Cincinnati 2nd basemen claimed the St. Louis Cardinals were "little b*****s." Brandon backed up this claim by going 2-for-14 in the series against Tony LaRussa's club.

"Dumb and Dumber" Quote of the Week:

Lloyd: That's a lovely accent you have. New Jersey?

Lady at bus stop: Austria.

Lloyd: Austria! Well, then. G'day mate! Let's put another shrimp on the barbie!


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