This is like the mother lode for frustrated Twins fans. I mean, take both of these guys out in one fell swoop! I hardly enjoyed these two players as a fan. Blackburn was a player that I harped on repeatedly, refusing to give him credit for pitching one important game back in the 2008 Game 163 (we lost that game too, no one seems to remember that). I felt he was living off that reputation for far too long, considering his failures over the past 3 years. I did not know what to think about Nishioka when he signed, but wow, it did not take long for me to figure it out. I was not impressed with any part of his game, and I am not surprised he has been removed from the 40 man roster so quickly after his signing.
I also know that we aren't supposed to feel sorry for millionaires that get to play a child's game for a living. Each of these men will likely earn more money next year than I will make in my entire life, even if they don't play a single inning. I know that both of these men will likely get to continue to play baseball for at least a few more years, maybe just not in Major League Baseball. I also know that their lives have not ended and that both are young men with plenty of life to live.
I try to think about how it would feel to work so hard toward something that you really want, reach the highest level of your field, and then have such public, horrifying failure. Failure to the point that no organization really wants you around anymore. It is true that most do not reach this level, but that likely will not put these two at ease. They have reached the crossroads of their careers.
There aren't a lot of people that reach that point in their career at such young ages. The reality is that either man can likely stay with baseball for as long as they want to. There is really no rational reason to feel badly for them, but I still do feel somewhat badly for them.
There are plenty of minor leaguers who never get this far. I certainly don't feel badly for them. There is clearly some psychological difference here. With Blackburn, I feel like I have seen his entire career and it seems to be ending really early. He was an exciting prospect once upon a time, but in my eyes, he never really reached any sort of exciting potential. At his peak, he was average at best. At his worst, he might have literally been the worst pitcher in all of Major League Baseball. How much longer would he even be willing to keep playing at that level?
Nishioka had some success in Japan, but is unlikely to have any sort of career in MLB. In fact, his MLB career will likely not be remembered much at all, except by those fans that remember just how poorly he played all parts of the game. He left his home as a successful player to try to play in the best league in the World. To fail so mightily and have to go back to those that he left would be extremely humbling.
Who knows, maybe one or both of them will find something in their pasts that made them players that the Twins wanted on their team. If they both end up on the Twins' roster in September for some reason, please pretend you never read this. Thanks!