If you’ve been following the Cleveland Indians’ trek to their second consecutive American League Central Division championship, you may have noticed a few mini baseballs popping up from the crafty hands of Trevor Bauer.
In case you didn’t, or in case you’ve been wondering where all the old ones went to, the Indians were nice enough to categorize it all on what they are calling the #MiniTeamCLE2017 page.
Every mini ball is included*, from the original Jose Ramirez to the more recent ones like Yandy Diaz curling and Tyler Olson with his many arm slots. Some are pretty basic — like Jason Kipnis, Austin Jackson, and Roberto Perez just kind of being there — but some have been crafted with a keen eye for the player and a lot of great references. Even the Kipnises and Jacksons of the collection are detailed as hell; if anything, Kipnis is the most realistic-looking one, even though it’s just his face.
There are Michael Brantley and Yan Gomes with their Silver Slugger Awards, Brandon Guyer being pelted by baseballs, Trevor Bauer with a drone hat, a cybernetic Corey Kluber with his Cy Young Award, Bryan Shaw studying on his iPad, Josh Tomlin with his cowboy hat and shakin’ boots, and Joe Smith holding a microphone with a picture of himself and his wife, Allie LaForce.
They’re all great in their own way. Well, all but one. That Bradley Zimmer ball — sweet jesus that thing is a nightmare. I get it, Zimmer has a freakishly long face, but if we’re assuming that the skin of the ball is the skin of the player, Zimmer’s ball was made by ripping his neck skin and stretching it into his chin. That may not be completely inaccurate in real life, but it’s nightmare fuel in baseball-form.
*Almost every one. Andre Knott talked about it during Sunday’s win against the Kansas City Royals — it was the one ball that the Indians dugout didn’t want put on television: Lonnie Chisenhall in a wheelchair.
It’s one of the best, IMO, and it’s a shame he didn’t make it into the Mini Hall of Fame with his friends.