While I wish I could take credit for it, I can’t. My friend Michael was the creative genius behind both the Aaron Miles’ Fastball name and the logo above. He e-mailed me a version of the logo without mentioning his suggested name. When I opened it, I laughed. Loudly. And knew it was the perfect name.
Not that I have any particular fascination with Aaron Miles. Sure, I loved him during his first go-round with the Cardinals from 2006-2008 – who didn’t? Scrappy grittiness is always admired. (Could there be a more perfect picture to capture the Miles essence than this one?) But his return in 2010 was unnecessary and one of those many things that made last season such a disappointment. Despite that, the two times he pitched were awesome.
I actually saw the first performance in person on Aug. 3. It was our reward, so to speak, for being among the few who stayed until the end of an 18-4 loss to the Astros on a night when it was 90-plus degrees at game time. We’d been hoping to see him once the game got out of control. We even talked about how the chance to pitch was something Aaron likely was wishing for as he stood there at third base for pitching change after pitching change. And, finally, in the ninth inning, all of our wishes came true. He got three outs with 10 pitches, only allowed one hit and was of course the most effective Cards pitcher of the night. In the bottom of the ninth, he came to bat – introduced as “pitcher Aaron Miles.” We cheered loudly. Then he grounded out.
I recently watched the game again, as I still had it on my DVR (among the “Chris Carpenter win collection” of 2010 games). He looked so tiny out there on the pitcher’s mound. Yet his determination showed on his face, pitch after pitch. No grinning like Scott Spiezio in 2007 or Felipe Lopez last year. Aaron had been there before.
But hopefully he won’t be back with the Cardinals this season, which means I hope to not be writing about him. (Sorry, Aaron.) But his pitching prowess (a 3.60 career ERA!) and grittiness will live on as legend, which is why that 70 mph fastball deserves recognition with the blog’s name.
Hopefully 2011 will be a better season to write about than 2010 was, but I’ll write about it regardless. It’s going to be an adjustment to actually like Lance Berkman and Ryan Theriot now, after hating them for years. But I’ll learn. And my expectations for the season ahead are high. It’s January – how can they not be?
Thanks for coming along for the ride, wherever the 2011 season takes us.