A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. A Richard Lovelady who goes by Richard still could be a Dick Lovelady, if he so chose, and that’s good enough for baseball Twitter. Among the Royals’ 19 non-roster Spring Training invitees, is a relief pitcher by that name who spent the better part of Friday evening favoriting tweets about his name after he started trending at about 4 p.m, the first documented case of not-weird name searching.
Lovelady is a left-hander who “throws hard” and moved from advanced A ball to AA in 2017. This particular transition is one of the more difficult in the baseball hierarchy, and Richard held his own in AA with a K percentage of 26.3 percent and a could-be-worse 9.5 percent BB percentage. There will be a bit of a wait until he faces enough batters for other stats to stabilize, but throwing our good friend sample size to the wind, his 1.62 ERA across both leagues impressed. Plus, he’s got an 80 grade name.
Based on Lovelady’s favorites, this is not the first time the internet stumbled upon his name. On July 6, 2016, there was a similar, smaller barrage of tweets paying the appropriate honor to Dick Lovelady. It didn’t have the reach or joy that was there this time around. Maybe it was beause there was baseball being played, and now all that’s left is a hole into which we’re trying to smoosh whatever kind of looks like baseball. Maybe we just weren’t ready. David Ortiz was still on the field for the Red Sox and Giancarlo Stanton had not yet been threatened by Derek Jeter; it was a different time back then, after all.
The 22-year-old is a ways from a big league mound. The Royals drafted him in the 10th round. There are few of those who make it. But not every 10th rounder has so much (the happiness of baseball-name lovers) riding on his success. Even if we never hear about Dick Lovelady again, the Lovelady fiasco is an example of the gifts of a uniquely vast, though flawed, baseball minor league system. When there are 247 affiliated minor league teams, both the talent pool and the name pool are high.
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