Chris Hayes throws his fastball in the 70s, so they call him Disco. He's a Northwestern graduate with a degree in computer science, so he knows he's an oddity. He writes a hysterical blog, so we know he's funny. He knows how to use statistics to make the most of his limited physical talents, so he's a sabermetrician's dream.
And he was the focus of Joe Posnanski's brilliant last official column for the Kansas City Star, so the Omaha Royals' Disco Hayes may be about to go viral in a major way without even making it out of the minor leagues.
When Posnanski's column was published today, after some breathless anticipation on the JoeBlog, some savvy big-name baseball fans took notice. On Twitter, Fire Joe Morgan's Ken Tremendous called for his call-up; Saturday Night Live's Seth Meyers concurred with a chortle; Pardon the Interruption creator Erik Rydholm took notice and cracked wise.
Disco's name is beginning to percolate in the public as his game is nearing the major league level. And, as Posnanski's column notes, it isn't hard to make the comparisons to legendary Royals reliever Dan Quisenberry. Hayes is, as Quisenberry was, a low-velocity submariner; Disco is a smart, funny, offbeat person, much as Quiz was.
It would seem like destiny, or the cliched Disney version of it, for Disco to follow Quisenberry's eccentric orbit to the majors for the same team he did. More important, though, is that Disco's story is actually partly of his own creation. While Quisenberry played off of journalists, Disco has a part in making his own myth, via blog, Twitter, and, with his equally interesting wife, a book in the works on their minor league experience. Couple that storytelling ability with the superb story Disco can tell, and he becomes an especially compelling figure, a thinking man getting out more gifted players on guile and writing candidly about it and the rest of his baseball life. He's almost more Jim Bouton than Quisenberry.
Whether he transcends his Internet interest to become a household name is hard to say: He's fully in Rick Reilly's lane as a human interest story, but he could be the best reliever in baseball for the Royals and still remain relatively anonymous. Ask Zack Greinke about the attention that comes with quiet brilliance in Kansas City.
All I know is that I'm unabashedly a Disco fan.â†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.