Jul 29, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen (54) pitches to the Kansas City Royals during the 9th inning at Safeco Field. Seattle defeated Kansas City 7-6. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

MLB Network Intentional Talk: Tom Wilhelmsen

Sometimes we forget where baseball players come from. Most of us read about the signing of Tom Wilhelmsen with a form of mild curiosity. We read about Wilhelmsen’s back story, giving up baseball to escapade through Europe, and his days mixing drinks at the local bar. We stored it away in some compartment in our brains to be accessed at some later time. Most of us then forgot about him, we had other things consuming our attention at after all and Wilhelmsen wasn’t exactly a premiere prospect.

The Mariners were attempted to catch lightning in a bottle, hoping they were getting what they now have. But Wilhelmsen’s ascension was not free of a few lows. Upon his original promotion, Wilhelmsen didn’t preform all that well, in fact he was bad… really bad. So the Mariners demoted him back AA for a while until they decided to give him another shot late in the season. The results couldn’t not have been any different and he’s been running away with it ever since.

It’s strange to think that our current closer didn’t even come into spring training with a guaranteed roster spot. The majority of the bullpen was up for grabs and Tom was going to have to prove to be the caliber of  pitcher the Mariners needed. The rest has been a blur. While Brandon League began the season as closer, he soon faltered leaving the position wide open. Wilhelmsen seized his opportunity taking the “closer by committee” decision out of Wedge’s hands. The Mariners have suddenly stolen a closer out of the reclamation bin. I’m not sure how easy that is to grasp. Tom Wilhelmsen gave up baseball to backpack through Europe and become a bartender. He gave it up completely, no practice, no soft toss with Grandpa, he makes it sound as if he didn’t touch a baseball throughout his entire five year hiatus. His comeback alone is incredeble, and to ascend to one of the leagues most dominant closers–it’s almost unfathomable.

The Mariners have been very good at creating a cost effective bullpen pieces this past decade, but this is even beyond that. The Mariners gave a pitcher a second chance and he has done everything to capitalize on his opportunity. To take a quote from Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, “Sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded.”. The recent life of a Mariners fan has not been easy, we deserve what ever reward baseball feels fit to give us.

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Tags: Mlb Network Tom Wilhelmsen

  • maqman

    He didn’t even have an invitation to spring training. He got in shape with a semipro league and called Jack Z and asked him for a chance to show what he had. Jack knew him from his Brewers gig, he’ drafted him, so he took his call and gave him a look during spring training. He was impressed and signed him to a minor league contract with an STI. I saw his workout for Jack, he looked impressive.

  • A. Purist

    When is MLB Network going to use the Intentional Talk time slot to actually cover baseball? I love the network but always throw up a bit in my mouth when I have to endure those two 12-year old co-hosts, Rose and Millar. It’s obvious that they have been sent to their room, but do we have to listen to crap about haircuts and tattoos when there is real baseball going on? They are condescending to one another and to their audience when they act like kids for 30 minutes on national TV. I don’t care who has a mohawk or what music a player has on his iPod. I care about baseball. Why not put these two ridiculous talking heads on for a half hour on Saturday morning with the rest of the cartoons?

    • http://twitter.com/Mariner_Melee Bryant

      I’m sure they are doing as instructed. Either way, sometimes people like to know a little bit about the person they are rooting for. I could think of far worse things to watch.