by Asher B. Chancey
September 3, 2006
Compendium of Turbo Tankings
We here at BaseballEvolution.com have a term of art that we coined some time ago, and we decided it is time to share it with the world. But first, a little explanation.
The term was coined, if you will, last season, when in one of my fantasy baseball leagues I had the good fortune of picking up Jason Johnson, then pitching for Detroit, for a start against the Minnesota Twins. I didn't want Jason for long – this was just an attempt to get a quick boost in the standings. This was a traditional fantasy league with five hitting categories and five pitching categories, and where you ranked in the league in each category determined how many points you had. I thought maybe Johnson could get me some extra strikeouts, maybe help my ERA a little, and maybe even get me a win.
What Jason Johnson accomplished that night against the Twins was truly remarkable. After retiring Shannon Stewart to begin the game, Johnson proceeded to give up a single to Jason Bartlett, a single to Joe Mauer, a double to Tim Tiffee, a single to Torii Hunter, a Jacques Jones homerun, a Lew Ford double, a single to Mike Cuddyer, and a walk to Nick Punto before getting yanked.
The line on Johnson that night was .1 IP, 7 hits, 5 runs, all earned, 1 walk, 1 homerun, no strikeouts. As for my fantasy team, well, I never recovered.
And that game was on April 13th!
The next day, I related the story to Keith who, noting that Shannon Stewart and Jason Johnson are two of Scott's favorite players, remarked, "You think you feel bad – Not only did Scott's favorite pitcher get Turbo Tanked, but the only guy he got out was Scott's favorite hitter."
At that, I began to laugh out loud uncontrollably. Every time I said the phrase "Turbo Tanked" in my head, it made me laugh out loud again. I instantly changed the name of my fantasy team to "The Turbo Tankers" and the name has stuck.
The phrase, then, is "Turbo Tanking." In short, a pitcher gets "Turbo Tanked" when he manages to pitch so poorly that he can not even get out of the first inning of a game.
I bring this up now because, just today, Baltimore Oriole hot prospect Hayden Penn, pitching in his first outing of the season, managed to only retire two batters while giving up eight earned runs on eight hits to the Oakland A's. Humorously, he was replaced in the game by Russ Ortiz, who himself managed to give up six earned runs on five hits before being pulled without getting a single out in a Turbo Tanking against Tampa in July.
So, for all you fans out there, next time the starting pitcher gets pulled before you even get to your seat, or the leadoff hitter for the other team has batted twice before the home team has taken the field, check the box-score. If the pitcher only managed to pitch 0.2, 0.1, or even 0 innings, you know that he has been Turbo Tanked!
Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Asher resides in Philadelphia, PA and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org