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Old 12-07-2004, 09:11 AM   #1
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We Laughed, We Cried (Rascoe Barahona)

It's funny, but for the last two years, this time of year has brought to mind for me a post that I read two years ago on this board, almost to the day. It was posted by a guy called Wyatttracts, and it did the best job of exemplifying up the things I love about this game that I've ever seen. It remains, to this day, my favorite post on these boards.

I figured I'd resurrect it for another round this year, just as I bumped it last year. If you haven't read it before, do yourself a favor and read it. If you have, well, it still retains its resonance.
...

Originally Posted by Wyatttracts
We Laughed, We Cried (long but worth it)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A while back I decided that I would customize a Fictional Player Solo League. This was the first time that I had ever done that. Usually I just begin with either 2002 season default players or start my solo leagues with real players. Of course the major difference was that in the custom league I got the opportunity to draft every player on my team. I spent a great deal of time pouring over these players. After all this was the first time I had actually built a team from the ground up, every player hand picked by me. Now, being fictional players, every player is a shot in the dark and how they turn out is all guess work, yet, still fun to watch. Nonetheless, I am proud to say that I was able to put a pretty solid team on the field.

On my team I drafted in my first season, in the year 2004, a 3B/DH named Rascoe Barahona. Rascoe never won a Batting Title. He never led the league in Homeruns or RBI’s. Rascoe just played solid ball every day. For seven seasons Rascoe was my starting Designated Hitter. For seven years Rascoe averaged solid numbers for us. He averaged in those seven years: .270 Batting Avg. , 25 HR, 75 RBI every season. Not Hall of Fame numbers, but surely solid numbers!

For seven years our team searched the league looking for new pitchers to give us more zing and new position players to give us more pop. We were always looking to improve somewhere. Yet for seven seasons we never looked for another Designated Hitter. Why would we? Rascoe showed up every day ready to play. Early in his career with us we signed him to a long term deal. So, season in, season out we never really put much thought into good ‘ol Rascoe. He was always there, playing his heart out. His name was inked in on the lineup card. Never a question, Rascoe Barahona…..starting DH.

Then it happened. In the year 2011, at the age of 36, Rascoe’s contract was up for negotiation. Honestly, we had gone in our pockets mighty deep to sign others who had promised to deliver. Actually a little too deep in our pockets. Finances were not very good for us. Rascoe, our ever faithful slugger‘s career with us was up in the air. What could we do? Rascoe’s asking price was not astronomical by any means, but for our financially strapped team from Norfolk, VA. It was more than we could afford.

I knew that what Rascoe asked us for was fair. Heck, even if it wasn’t, didn’t he deserve for us to look out for him? Yet, I in all my so called wisdom thought that if I offered Rascoe less, that he just might stay with us to finish out his career. In our negotiations, he politely turned my now obviously weak offer down. Rascoe was always a gentleman. My second offer to him was a little better, yet even I knew that what I was doing was no way to treat a guy that had been so faithful to us. Again I was politely turned down. Looking back now, I should have given in. I should have given Rascoe what he was asking for. He had always done that for us. Yet, something inside said, “hey he is 36 years old. His career is about over anyway.” So, once more I tossed out a figure for him to digest that was way below his asking price.

I’ll never forget that empty feeling that I felt when good ‘ol, faithful Rascoe said, “Sorry, you had your chance, I’ll play elsewhere next year.” I didn’t since anger in his statement. Disappointment maybe, but not anger. That was the last time that Rascoe Barahona answered my request to discuss his contract. For the first time in seven years, when our 2012 season began, I had to pencil in someone else’s name in the lineup as ….starting DH.

As a team, we did well that season. In fact, we went on to win the World Series. Over the past few years we had acquired a great pitching staff that for all practical purposes carried us through. They carried us through the 2013 season as well. Our power hitting lineup had been successfully replaced with power pitching. Over the next two seasons we platooned two below par journeyman as Designated Hitters. They added absolutely nothing to our team, but someone had to fill the slot. But that was okay because it was now our pitching that set the pace for us. All we needed was a run or two and we were set. 2013 saw us win another World Series!

On into the 2014 season, our Masterful Pitching led the way once more. We had pulled out to a commanding lead in our division that found us 14 games ahead after the All Star break. It was at that time that I decided to look through our farm system and see how our prospects were doing. I noticed that there were a few “30ish” guys that were clogging up the progression of my future blue chip talent so I proceeded to release them to give my real prospects a clear shot to the Bigs. After releasing them I decided to go to the free agent list and see how those that I had released compared to those still left on the list. Remember, after the All Star break, it is usually slim pickens on the FA List. As I scrolled through the FA leftovers, to my surprise, I came across a name that immediately caught my eye and my heart. Sitting right there, three years later was a 3B named Rascoe Barahona. I quickly clicked on my old friend to see what my scout had to say about him and I have to admit, it was hard chocking back the tears as I read what was said about the now 39 year old: “Rascoe has his best years behind him. There is probably no way he will regain his old form. Rascoe has a difficult time at the plate, he really seems to struggle.”

I looked at his numbers for the past three years and sure enough a huge decline for Rascoe. No where near the solid production that he had given us. He had been signed by another team in 2012 and they had placed him on the bench as a backup 3B. Rascoe never had another chance when he left us. Did he want to leave us? I don’t think so. I forced him to go. We went on our merry way to the World Series, while Rascoe slowly disappeared from the game. How sad……Then it hit me! If Rascoe is still on the FA List then he is still available? I right clicked him to see if he would give me one more chance. To my joy, Rascoe agreed to sign a Minor League Contract!

Quickly I signed him up. I went to my Transaction Screen to see where he had been placed. Minor League level “A” without a green arrow. My scouts were sure that single A ball was all he could handle. After all they told me his career was already over. I usually pay attention to my scouts and coaches, but this time was different. This time it was personal. Just as quickly as I had signed my old friend, I had given my Single A coach the call, “Send Rascoe Barahona on up!” It was as if you could hear my scouts and coach saying, “this is a mistake!” Nonetheless, I said “We are playing in Philly tomorrow, I want Rascoe to meet the team there!”

I don’t know who was more surprised. The fans, the players, the coaches, the scouts, or my good friend Rascoe Barahona, but from that day on and for the last 56 games of the season, for the first time in three years I had ink written on my lineup sheet , reading “Starting at DH….Rascoe Barahona.”

Our Pitching continued to propel us to the top. And I have to admit it was a sweet ride. A ride that I took with my old friend. My starting DH only hit .189 the rest of that season, but I will never forget watching him hit the last 7 homeruns of his career. 7 more than he would have gotten if I had not found him on the FA List, But then again, how many more would he have hit in the past three years if I had not let him slip away because of my greed? Every day for those last 56 games I watched Rascoe lace up his cleets and just play hard. Just like he had always done before. It seemed like for seven years I hardly noticed him, but these last 56 games, I watched him as if he were the greatest that ever played the game. And the more I think about maybe he was…..to me.

Rascoe and I, well, we laughed and cried ……

Okay, it’s just a game and Rascoe is a fictional player, but it sure is fun isn’t it?
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Last edited by ctorg; 12-07-2004 at 09:12 AM.
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Old 12-07-2004, 09:17 AM   #2
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I just mentioned this to my wife the other day, because I had read it to her when I first saw it, and she cried then. This is definitely my favorite post ever.
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Old 12-07-2004, 09:31 AM   #3
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Excellent story. Never loses it's emotional impact.
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Old 12-07-2004, 12:36 PM   #4
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I remember reading this last year and being floored by it. It's probably my favorite ever too.
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Old 12-07-2004, 01:14 PM   #5
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I know that "there's no crying in baseball", but I teared up last year when I read this and I am tearing up right now...

Sorry to let you down again, Jimmy Dugan (aka Tom Hanks).
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Old 12-07-2004, 01:24 PM   #6
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I've decided to add a section to the new BigCityBaseball.com website for stories such as this one. Rascoe is going to be the Prologue story to the section. Any others you folks feel deserve to be included, please let me know.
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Old 12-08-2004, 12:51 AM   #7
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In my league, I would have let Rascoe Barahona retire, made a coach or MLM out of him and put him on the fast track to becoming a big league manager.
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Old 12-08-2004, 08:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Florida Tiger
In my league, I would have let Rascoe Barahona retire, made a coach or MLM out of him and put him on the fast track to becoming a big league manager.
I would probably have made him a manager, too. But then, the story's more dramatic when it doesn't address that.
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Old 12-08-2004, 08:41 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Florida Tiger
In my league, I would have let Rascoe Barahona retire, made a coach or MLM out of him and put him on the fast track to becoming a big league manager.
How does one make a retired player become a manager?
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Old 12-08-2004, 08:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abailey3313
How does one make a retired player become a manager?
I do it all the time. I just enter the player's name in the manager field of the team. I have a list of managers who get hired and fired from teams in my leagues.
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Old 12-08-2004, 09:39 AM   #11
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That's a very good story, it makes me cry.
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Old 12-08-2004, 10:14 AM   #12
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Thanks so much for posting this story again.

It perfectly summarizes the emotional attachment we develop to our long-time fictional league players.

I'll take your advice, obasig. I'm gonna print it and read it to my wife, too. Even she'll probably shed a tear or two (as will I).
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Old 12-11-2004, 08:12 PM   #13
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I don't know how I had never seen this before.

Phenomenal story, I just sat at my desk for about five minutes after reading it. An inspiration to everyone who uses fictional players.
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Old 12-11-2004, 08:20 PM   #14
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this is my favorite OOTP story as well to this day.
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Old 12-11-2004, 08:28 PM   #15
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What everyone said. I havent seen the poster around much after this- but that is a great story.
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Old 12-11-2004, 08:30 PM   #16
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http://ootpdevelopments.com/board/sh...016#post939016

btw, for those who dont read dynasties- the above might be the best one that I've ever read. Absolutely brilliant.
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Old 12-11-2004, 10:31 PM   #17
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Good stuff...I was just saying to one of the guys in one of my online leagues I'm too much of a sap....ironically...that post is pretty much why.


Gotta Aadik agree with ya...Big Six's writing and story telling in that was brilliant....
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Old 12-11-2004, 10:47 PM   #18
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I remember this post. Great story!
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Old 12-11-2004, 11:59 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aadik
http://ootpdevelopments.com/board/sh...016#post939016

btw, for those who dont read dynasties- the above might be the best one that I've ever read. Absolutely brilliant.

You like it that much? Vote for it! Click the link in my signature for details!
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Old 12-12-2004, 01:54 AM   #20
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Great little story. Up to this point, I hadn't seen the story, or even heard about it.
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