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Livan Hernandez: “I want to be the Jamie Moyer of right-handers”

Feb 21, 2011, 9:00 AM EDT

Washington Nationals starter Livan Hernandez pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the third inning of their National League baseball game in Washington

For as often as I’ll curse Livan Hernandez‘s name because of the infamous Eric Gregg game in the 1997 playoffs, I don’t really hold it against Hernandez. He was just taking what the umpire was giving him, and how on Earth can a fan of Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux fault anyone for that?  Eric Gregg can take a flying leap off of whatever plane of existence his soul currently inhabits, but Livan Hernandez is really hard to hate.

And indeed, after today’s most excellent feature story by Tom Boswell, it’s absolutely impossible not to like the guy. He’s never missed a start. He gets guys out with an 84 m.p.h. “fastball.”  He throws 100 warmup pitches before a game. He called a home run he hit last year and then gave his bat to the Braves fan he was taunting about it. In the middle of an outstanding 2010 season he bypassed his agent and told Mike Rizzo that he’d pitch for a million bucks in 2011 because he was happy where he was and didn’t want to mess with a good thing.

I love pitchers, and the pitchers I love the most are the laid-back ones who don’t seem to over-think stuff. They just throw the ball, don’t really get too worked up about anything and want to pitch until they’re old and gray. Hernandez is like that. He says he wants to be “the Jamie Moyer of right-handers.”

I’d be shocked as hell if he lasted another five years let alone another 11 or 12 to reach Moyer’s longevity, but you can’t not love the attitude.

  1. BC - Feb 21, 2011 at 9:06 AM

    Eric Gregg is a chipwich.
    (Figured I’d start the week off on a positive note)

  2. lar @ wezen-ball - Feb 21, 2011 at 9:13 AM

    Two things: one, ask a Giants fan who watched Livan Hernandez forget to show up in Game 7 of the World Series what he thinks about Livan’s “laid back”-ness and I bet he tells you something different. And, two, don’t you mean he’s only like 3 or 4 years away from being the Jamie Moyer of righthanders?

    I don’t have anything against Livan… I don’t think I could ever *like* him, but I like that he’s still out there, being a perfectly average pitcher (and decent hitter). Can you imagine how good he might be if he had taken care of himself his entire career?

  3. Old Gator - Feb 21, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    I used to see Livan at a certain Cafe Cubano I liked to frequent in Little Havana in the mornings. Betcha can’t guess which one, Craig. He was always being swarmed by fans, no subtext intended. They tell me he still goes in there from time to time when he’s in town. You could smile at him and he’d smile back – one of those “I know you know I know who you are” smile. Nice guy. Still a local favorite.

  4. apbaguy - Feb 21, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    OG, taunting me on a cold SF morning with thoughts of hot cafe cubano and other treats. I picked up Livan on my APBA team in this year’s draft, as a spot starter. My last roster spot, why not?

    • Old Gator - Feb 21, 2011 at 1:55 PM

      This is the time to snap up a nice house real cheap down here, bubba. You can even find one without an overgrown yard full of pygmy rattlesnakes and Taiwanese termites. And the coffee is cheaper.

  5. Brian Murphy - Feb 21, 2011 at 12:51 PM

    “… the pitchers I love the most are the laid-back ones who don’t seem to over-think stuff. They just throw the ball, don’t really get too worked up about anything… .”

    You must love Vicente Padilla.

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