Here’s The Deal On Colorado Rockies’ LHP Yohan Flande
Jul 7, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Y. Flande (58) delivers a pitch during the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Coors Field. The Angels won 10-2. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
The Colorado Rockies’ usually-long-reliever earned his first big league win on Tuesday night, and that should make you very happy.
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The Colorado Rockies won Tuesday night behind spot starter Yohan Flande‘s five innings of one-run ball (and some good work at the plate from DJ LeMahieu).
The win marked the first post-Troy Tulowitzki win in Rockies’ history (come on, it had to happen sometime soon), but it also meant the first big league win for Yohan Flande!
That should make you happy, and if it doesn’t, you’re kind of a jerk. I know, I couldn’t be talking about you, because your Flande hate is unbiased, but… sorry. You are. You’re hating the underdog!
No, really, how do you not admire guys like Flande? I’m not talking worshipping him as a future cog in the rotation (just because I like him and get goofy about it on Twitter doesn’t mean I think he’s part of the future, y’all).
It took him ten years, and 238 professional baseball appearances, to notch his first big league win. He joined the Phillies in the Dominican Summer League as a 20-year old, and then played at professional stops in Clearwater, Florida; Reading, Pennsylvania; Lawrenceville, Georgia; Jackson, Mississippi; Colorado Springs, Colorado; New Britain, Connecticut; Albuquerque; and three places in the Dominican Republic, too.
That’s a long, lonely road for a Dominican kid, who according to some interviews folks have done on his behalf, still doesn’t appear to speak very good English. Flande’s not the only one who’s taken that path, of course, but how do you not admire that journey?
As a long-reliever-turned-spot-starter-because-the-Rockies-suck, Flande is player number 750. (Here’s what I mean by that.) Constantly on the cusp of being sent back down, maybe to oblivion, after every game.
Surely one day in the coming weeks, when Christian Bergman returns from his rehab assignment, or Jon Gray is called to the big leagues, or Chad Bettis or Tyler Chatwood or any other number of potential Rockies replacements comes around, Flande will be sent back down to Albuquerque, maybe to never return to a big league mound.
I think we all assumed he was done after last season, but the Rockies brought him back for Spring Training and then assigned him to AA New Britain. From there, he earned (yes, earned) another shot in Denver. This year, thus far, let’s be honest: he’s got decent numbers for who he is and what he does on the team. He’s making the most of his opportunity.
Flande doesn’t factor in to the Rockies’ long term plans. He probably won’t be here longer than game 162 of this season. Considering the nomadic existence of relief pitchers, it’s likely you’ll see him pitching in AAA for some other organization next year. Hey may never get another shot in the big leagues again.
If we sat here and talked Tulo and prospects literally all day every day, you’d pull your hair out.
Enjoy Flande, and the idea of guys like Flande, for whenever he’s here, as long as he’s here. Guys like him — the nomads, the 25th man, the ones on the brink — are what give baseball such an undeniable quirkiness and character.
Random guys like Flande make baseball and our collective baseball communities just weird enough to be quirky and cult-ish (but in a fun way, a fun cult!).
Nobody’s asking you to make Flande your favorite player. You don’t have to worship him (but I might!!). But if you’re hating Yohan Flande, you’re missing a huge part of what baseball is all about.
Flande may be about two roster moves from tossing mop-up innings in the independent Atlantic League, but right now, he is a Major Leaguer. (Sorry y’all, facts are facts.) And now, he has a Major League win to his name that nobody will ever be able to take away. Lord knows he put in the time to earn that one.