I know, right? The bullpen would be struggling in a close game, one or two runners on base, and all of a sudden, Dan Baker would announce, "Now pitching for the Phillies, number 45, Chad Durbin." And, like clockwork, MLB Gameday would follow that up with "In Play, Run(s)." Every. Single. Time. Chad Durbin inherited 329 runners in his short 2013 stint with the Phillies, and 448 of them scored. I mean, that doesn't even seem possible.
Of course, I'm exaggerating slightly.
He's pretty much equally bad at either one, so don't bother.
There was a time when Chad Durbin was a decent pitcher. That doesn't seem remotely true, even today, but archaeologists have unearthed Viking runes indicating that Durbin pitched for the Phillies once before, and was even involved in something known as the "WFC." Apparently, he was successful enough in those long-lost halcyon days, assembling a 2.87 ERA and one whole WAR over 87.2 innings. One noted runeologist described these numbers as, "da-yum."
After Durbin was granted free agency in days of yore, he signed with a succession of minor tribes, where he showed intermittent success. In January of 2013, then, he re-signed with the Phillies.
Now, keep in mind that the 2012 Phillies had been a rather shocking embarrassment, sinking so low as to sell off such noted fan favorites as Stumbly Wumbly and The Richter Scale. After an 81-81 finish, though, management was quick to avoid any signs of a lengthy rebuilding process, and doubled down on veterannyness, signing Ice Road Truckers and, of course Rawhide. There were many who thought this a good move, but others were skeptical. In any event, he was back. And, really, how bad could it be? He had been decent in recent years, after all...
No, it was a bad idea.
A very bad idea.
You know, like, when you're all, "wrestling bears? how bad could it be?" and then the bear comes out and bites your arms off in three seconds? Well, this was like that.
Dustbin Durbin re-debuted as a Phillie in the season opener, assembling the following line in a 7-5 loss to Atlanta: 0 innings, 2 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts. After Cole Hamels had been roughed up for five runs in five innings, Durbin entered in the sixth, down 5-3. He walked Dan Uggla. He allowed a double to Chris Johnson. He allowed a single to Gerald Laird. He was relieved. Johnson later scored on a double-play induced by a real pitcher.
Things didn't get much better over the next few weeks, until, mercifully, with the Phillies something like a thousand games out of first, Durbin was released. Of course, it was only then that it turned out there were other problems with the team!
On to the interview!
Editor's Note: This is a transcript of the actual exit interview between Ruben Amaro Jr. and Chad Durbin. Any accounts or descriptions of this interview may not be disseminated without the express written consent of Major League Baseball. Seriously. We've got ninjas.
1. Ruben: This season has been an unmitigated disaster. How did you contribute to the disaster?
Durbin: Well, shit, Rube, you're the one who signed me. I'd say it's pretty much on you.
Ruben: No, no, that's not how you're supposed to answer. I (phone rings)--Hey, Scotty B, thanks for calling me back. So here's the deal. I want Jackie. How can we make this happen? ... What? No, whatever, Jacob, fine. ... Jacoby? What the hell kind of name is that? Whatever. How can we do this? I... Uh huh...
Durbin: Uh, excuse me, I'm still here?
Ruben: Shut the hell up Nine Point Oh. No, not you, Scott, sorry. Anyway, what? ... Ok. ... Uh huh. ... Yeah, yeah I think we can do that. Call me next week when... what? No, no, that'll be fine. Call me when the Series is done and we'll sign off. Oh, are you still here?
Durbin: Well, yeah, you were asking me a question.
Ruben: Yeah, whatever. Go talk to Proefrock; he'll finish up. (walks out of the room)
Durbin: Finish up what?
Scott P: (enters room) So, Dubee, here's the deal, man. We can't keep you on for next year because...
Scott P: So, yeah, we valued your time here, but we can't keep you on for next year, Dubes, because Ryne wants to start from scratch with his staff, and that's his prerogative.
Dubee: No, it's okay, I understand. Hey, Chad, what are you doing here?
Durbin: Rich? No, I... I don't understand.
Dubee: Neither do I, man, neither do I. Hey, you able to pitch a few more innings tonight?
Scott P: Anyway, Dubes, look, Ryne wants to interview for new pitching coaches, and you're of course welcome to apply, but we aren't going to renew your contract at this time.
Dubee: Yeah, no problem, I get it. My arm's been bugging me for the last few months, anyway. (leaves the room)
Durbin: What's going on? I thought you were interviewing me?
Scott P: Oh, yeah, yeah, ok, so, who are you?
Durbin: I'm Chad? I wore number 45? Chad Durbin? (sudden thunder as the sky turns dark)
Scott P: Oh god.
Durbin: In play, run(s). (an image appears in mid-air)
Scott P: Please go away.
Durbin: IN PLAY, RUN(S)! (the image gets bigger)
Scott P: (cowers in fear)
Durbin: IN PLAY, RUN(S)! (the image is huge)
Scott P: (runs screaming from the room, as furniture starts to hover and fly around)
Durbin: IN PLAY, RUN(S)! (the image fills the room)
Utley: (enters room, points at Durbin)
THE POWER OF CHASE COMPELS YOU!
Durbin: (disintegrates into a pile of dust, flying furniture falls to the floor)
Utley: Hey, Scott. Clean this shit up. I've got a poker game tonight. (leaves room)
Scott P: (enters room) Yes sir, Mr. Utley. Absolutely sir.