The Wei-Chung Wang development project entered a new phase Sunday. After four months stashed in the Brewers bullpen; out of sight and mind, the Wang flew to Arizona and threw out the first pitch; not as some mascot promotion to woo fans. Wang was really and truly on the mound to start the game for the Arizona League Brewers.
No more mop up clown activities in the big leagues. The Wang had returned to the nest where he belonged; the lowest level of professional baseball; the Arizona rookie league. We Brewer fans liked to think we played a pivotal role in the strategic demotion because we welcomed the opportunity to participate in the clinical study “Weeee be the Chung.”
Wires were attached to our heads and we were asked to focus on one and only one thought; Wei Chung Wang’s elbow becoming tired; very tired; even more tired, so tired, tired, but not really tired. It was hypnotic/concentrated collective deception to alter reality.
When we woke from the trance; the nurse told us “good job” and then she winked. All of our thoughts were recorded on paper; not in words; just EKG vital sign squiggles.. The study was deemed a great success because the squiggles overlapped.
It didn’t matter that Dr. Mendingo; launcher of the study was the same doctor who diagnosed Wei-Chung Wang’s sudden injury in mid July as a tired elbow. We jumped up and down in celebration of Wang on the disabled list. We ignored the possibility of conspiracy and celebrated some more when Dr. Mendingo provided a more thorough diagnosis. “A case of the old eflamation of the contortic pelvis diphrameter.”
We had swayed the Brewer powers to make a trickster move and write a fake doctor prescription or so we liked to think. Either way, the result was the same. You ain’t getting the Wang back Pirates!
Wang was a rule V draft pick and he’d been looking sexy all spring and summer; in the bullpen shadows making cameo appearances during blow outs. His cork screw leg kick; an absolute ice cream swirl; turning 12-1 blow outs; winning or losing into melting gold.
He pitched in 13 games; a total of 17 innings. He allowed 30 hits and 21 earned runs for a wholesome ERA of 11.12. He struck out 12 and walked 8. But “Weeee be the Chung” never worried about his self esteem and confidence turning to quick sand. We believed this was all for the best. This was inner NL Central dumpster diving; turning trash into treasure.
The Brewers had no choice but to keep him.. Rule V said so. Keep the player on your active roster all season long or run the risk of said player being snatched back by his original team; in Wang’s case; the NL Central rival Pirates.
The Brewers waited the required days, weeks, and months and then placed Wang on the disabled list. And there he was Sunday; pitching in the Arizona Rookie League; the shortest season of all; begins in August and ends in September; mostly high school and college draft picks; players from the Dominican Republic, veterans on rehab assignments and the Wang.
He only pitched an inning and a third, but his team won 9-1 against the Rangers. Wang allowed one hit, no runs and struck out a batter. He’s on a role. His supposed rehab assignment can be milked molasses style till the end of the season and come next spring, he’ll be free to pitch at any level; beer barrel Thursday softball league included. Mission accomplished.
The Brewers had the day off Monday; still sitting on 61-51; one game in front of the Cardinals and a game and a half up on those very Pirates.