A Humorous Take on the Michelle Rhee Myth

I wish I could take credit for making this up, but I can’t. It’s apparently the work of “mcstowy” and was posted as a comment on Nick Anderson’s recent article. I fixed a few typos. If you know anything at all about sports, you will probably agree with me that this is very, very funny:


To: Mike Rizzo, General Manager , Washington Nationals
Re: Pitching Coach for 2011


Dear Mike;


This is my application to be the pitching coach of the Washington Nationals. Your pitching staff has been one of the worst in the league for years, but I can make it one of the best. Let me tell you my story:


Ten years ago, I had just finished my final year of college soccer, and decided to try something different before going on to the pros. The local semi-pro baseball team was doing poorly and was in desperate need of pitching. I had never played baseball before, but I thought I could help and joined the team after working out with a high-school buddy for the weekend. He had never pitched a game, but he had written a paper about how great athletes could be great pitchers and give the fans a better game with a little training, so he was able to teach me everything I needed to know to become a great pitcher over the weekend.

My first two games were not very good. In fact, I never got out of the first inning before being shelled, but before my 3rd game, I decided I was not going to let those hitters beat me again. Then I got this great idea:


First, I noticed that all of the other, more experienced pitchers were struggling through games and losing. Yes, they would work deep into the game, but they would always give up too many runs and we’d lose. Now, many people who had been around baseball for a long time said they were not as experienced and talented as the players on the wealthier teams in the league, but if they just kept with and picked up some control and added another pitch, they could get better and compete with the more talented teams. I decided that was just an excuse to maintain the status quo and prevent our fans from seeing great baseball.


Second, I noticed that all of the pitchers threw overhand and took days off between starts. Look, pitchers have been throwing overhand for years now and the team was still losing. It doesn’t matter that all the coaches who had played and studied the game all their lives taught pitching overhand, and it didn’t matter that overhand pitching worked for the better teams; I decided it was best to pitch underhand. No one had tried it before, but the underhand reform would surely save the season (and that only pitching every 5th day, that’s just lazy pitchers selfishly protecting their arms). Well my new pitching reform worked. I threw a shutout the next day. That taught me that I knew more about pitching than all the pitchers and coaches who were trying to protect their jobs by standing the way of reform and hurting the fans. I don’t care about myself; I only care about the fans.


So naturally, for the good of the fans, I quit pitching after that game and got the NFL and the NBA to fund my pitching academy (PFF – Pitch For Fans) where I recruit the best, most talented athletes from other sports. My buddy and I teach them how to pitch: only underhanded, but pitching every day, none of this lazy “rest between starts” stuff like with more experienced pitchers. We then send them out to the lousy teams to pitch a couple of games before moving on to the NFL, NBA, NHL or whatever. A few even stay on for the whole season. I can assure you that our short-term, underhanded, pitch-every-day recruits are as good, if not better, than the more-experienced pitchers, and all the fans love our underhanded pitchers more than the old-fashioned, overhand veterans. It’s also great for advertising and media coverage. I [want you to] give me complete authority over your entire pitching staff, with no interference from the manager, and the ability to fire any pitcher that does not accept my system (I’ll replace them with better, PFF grads, for a couple of games each).


Proof?! Well, I don’t have a scorecard from the shutout I pitched, but my manger told me I had done it, so I know my way works and no one else’s does. The Sporting News wrote a story about it and I was profiled on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” at the time. I know that The Sporting News and ESPN have no record of those stories, but it really happened and anyone who says it didn’t is just trying to the hurt the fans.
Oh, I see one of the former players on the team found a local newspaper article about the game in which I said I pitched a shutout, that shows we lost 6-1, and sent it to you. Well, I never saw the scorecard, but I went with what my manager told me and he said I threw the best game of the season. The story also doesn’t say, specifically, that I was pitching when the runs were scored and it doesn’t matter that the manager and all the coaches were fired a day later because they couldn’t win, I was a great pitcher and I care about the fans.

Why are we rehashing a game that happened over 10 years ago? If you care about the fans you have to make all your pitchers pitch underhand every day because that’s what my one great game taught me. Anyone that that says it takes time and experience to develop good pitchers, by gaining control with experience and adding another pitch, is just trying to cheat the fans and save their jobs by holding back reform. They just don’t want to change and improve.


Never mind, the NFL and NBA are going to pay me to teach my pitching reform to other teams. Go back to your old, losing ways, but you’ll never win without my pitching reform and my short-term pitchers.

Published in: on February 11, 2011 at 3:39 pm  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The author of this baseball parable usually makes sadly misguided claims and goes off on weird rants in WaPo blogs. This piece, however, has some humor. He should stick to baseball parables.


  2. This is absolutely the best comment made on this subject.

    Even people who doggedly insist on defending Rhee can understand the meaning here.

    Nothing like a good sport analogy to get the message across.


  3. Mr. Brandenburg,
    Wasn’t sure how to get in touch with you other than the blog comments. Quick question: Is it possible that Rhee confused students making a 90 PERCENT gain on tests (moving from high 20th percentile to low 50s) would be about a 90 percent increase in test scores, with having students in the 90th PERCENTILE – meaning scoring as good or better than 9 out of their 10 peers?
    Sounds like an error in basic math understanding.
    Just some food for thought.
    Thanks for all that you’re doing,


    • If that is the case that she doesn’t understand basic math, Sydney, then that would mean that she is utterly incompetent to be an educator in the first place.


  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by baseballfan, WashNatFanZone. WashNatFanZone said: A Humorous Take on the Michelle Rhee Myth « GFBrandenburg's Blog: This is my application to be the pitching coac… http://bit.ly/g65ppF […]


  5. Thanks for the notice and sorry for the typos. I was writing off the top of my head in a rare moment of creativity.

    To Jawaralal: Identify one misguided claim I have made and I will show you the research to back it up.


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