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Why Julian Tavarez signed with the Nationals

Boy Howdy

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"Why did I sign with the Nationals?" Tavarez said told a group of reporters. "When you go to a club at 4 in the morning, and you're just waiting, waiting, a 600-pounder looks like J. Lo. And to me this is Jennifer Lopez right here. It's 4 in the morning. Too much to drink. So, Nationals: Jennifer Lopez to me."



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Wow, that is incredible.

"I would like to be a starter, but it's like my father said: 'You want Jennifer Lopez, but does she want you? No.' You just take whatever she is giving to you. So I just take whatever they give to me," Tavarez said. "They give to me as a long man, I take it as a long man. Set up man, I take it. Starter, I take it. I can do whatever."


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I still think Tavarez got screwed by the umpires/league when he was fined and suspended 10 days for a dirty hat. Associated Press, Sep 24, 2004: Tavarez's penalty reduced by two games

Tavarez was ejected from a game Aug. 24 against Pittsburgh when umpires inspected his grimy hat. After the game, crew chief Joe West said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa "as much admitted" it was pine tar on Tavarez' cap.

... La Russa was livid, not only because Tavarez won't return until Oct. 2, with just two games remaining in the regular season, but because he doesn't think the penalty is appropriate for the transgression.

"Every year, there have been some hot competitions all over the league, and there have been some eruptions involving players, umpires, all of which are so much worse for our game ... and those things routinely get penalized with two, three, five games. And this is an eight-gamer? For something they haven't even proven? What kind of message is baseball sending there? The message I get is a bad one," La Russa said.

My recollection is that the hat somehow got tossed into the stands after the home plate umpire inspected it and rendered his verdict. The Cardinals had kind of a competition that year between Tavarez and Steve Kline as to which one could have the dirtier hat, and apparently Tavarez must have "cheated". There was never any claim by the umpires that he was going to the hat between pitches, as far as I can recall. In my opinion, it was another case like the Brett pine tar bat, where an umpire decided to inject himself into the game inappropriately.

LA Times, August 28, 2004: Tests Show That Tavarez's Cap Is Simply Dirty

Umpire crew chief Joe West inspected the hat and said Tavarez and Manager Tony La Russa "as much admitted" to the presence of pine tar, which could be used to improve a pitcher's grip on the baseball. Tavarez was ejected and as he left the field he tossed the cap to a fan in a box seat behind the St. Louis dugout.

But Gene McNary, a former St. Louis County executive who is running again for the county's highest office, said the cap was guilty only of being filthy. Aides paid $140 to the fan who caught the cap, then gave it to McNary.

At the urging of a local television reporter, McNary took the cap to St. Louis Testing Laboratories, where substances on it were analyzed.

McNary said the lab tested specifically for both pine tar and resin and results revealed dust and dirt, but nothing illegal.

A story which MLB apparently ignored. But it wasn't Julian's first altercation. Scout.com

In 1996, defending teammate and one of the most disciplined players ever, Albert Belle, led Tavarez to his first suspension. It was for body-slamming an umpire. Of course, from Julian’s perspective, it was an unfortunate accident.

Belle was angry at getting hit by a pitch. He took it out via a forearm to Milwaukee Brewers’ second baseman Fernando Vina’s face. After Belle and Tavarez spoke between innings, Tavarez threw behind Brewers’ catcher Mike Matheny, who charged the mound.

In the melee that followed, umpire Joe Brinkman grabbed Tavarez from behind and was thrown to the turf. Tavarez insisted he didn’t know it was an ump, but still served five games.

... In a September, 1998 game [while pitching for the Giants], Tavarez took exception to ball four call by throwing his glove to the turf and yelling at the home plate umpire. He flung his cap toward home plate and headed toward the ump, wildly gesturing. Manager Dusty Baker had to pull Tavarez away from his chest-to-chest bumping of the ump, Sam Holbrook. A three-game suspension ensued.

... [in 2001, playing for the Cubs] He quickly fit right in, fighting with Giant Russ Davis, and inciting a bench-clearing brawl - during a spring training game! Tavarez took a flying kick at Davis, who had charged the mound after taking exception to what he felt was Tavarez taunting him after a strikeout. Five more games on the pines for Julian.

... [in 2003] with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Tavarez came out of the bullpen to escalate a fight that was in the process of cooling off between Tampa Bay’s Marlon Anderson and Tavarez’ teammate Jason Kendall. Tavarez admitted to throwing punches, but accused an unidentified Tampa player of choking him from behind. Seems like it is a bad idea to come up behind him. A three-game suspension ensued.

Tavarez was another of the many players whom La Russa had problems getting along with, and he wasn't asked to return after his 2-year contract ended. However, his problems didn't end there.

The Boston Globe, March 28, 2006

... for the new Red Sox reliever to invite yet another suspension for punching Tampa Bay's Joey Gathright after a tag play at the plate yesterday, just six days after appearing in his first game in a Red Sox uniform and only a week before the start of the regular season? Considering that the Red Sox only in January awarded Tavarez a contract that ranks among the best in the game for a setup man

Quite a character, that Julian!

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  • 2 weeks later...
"Why did I sign with the Nationals?" Tavarez told a group of reporters. "When you go to a club at 4 in the morning, and you're just waiting, waiting, a 600-pounder looks like J-Lo. And to me this is Jennifer Lopez right here. It's 4 in the morning. Too much to drink. So, Nationals [are] Jennifer Lopez to me."

Haha. Great Quote.


That blogger also comes up with some pretty funny comparisons with other teams.

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