That was the line on this guy when he first signed up with the Brewers in November. The sports radio jocks said he didn’t hit for power, he wasn’t really that fast and he wouldn’t throw out steal attempts. He wasn’t going to “wow” you, but you were going to love having him aboard, they said.
And for once, at least, those sports radio jocks were right.
Jason Kendall makes so many heads-up plays — and sometimes he makes plays that are more like “smart-ass” than “heads-up.” For example, Wiki says when he was with the A’s he was on base in the ninth and the Angel’s pitcher dropped the ball on the return throw from his catcher. So Kendall stole home, FTW.
When he caught for Ben Sheets in Chicago for the first game of the season, Sheets had this to say about his pitch signals: “I probably shook him off two or three times, and every time I shook him off, I wish I hadn’t.” Last week, I was listening to a game and heard Uecker say something like “Sheets doesn’t like the pitch call… Sheets shakes off another signal. And another. Boy, I’ve never seen Sheeter shake off so many calls.” Meanwhile, I’m thinking, “Wait… What is he doing? No! Throw the pitch Jason Kendall tells you!” Ueck: “Now he’s got a signal he likes. Here’s the pitch… and that ball is hit long and hard, and it’s going to be gone.” Damn it, Sheets!
I watched a game at Maxie’s last week, and it was one of the rare occasions FSN actually runs the game in high definition. They zoomed in on Kendall, and showed him flashing more signs than a Death Row Records reunion. Then he’d settle in, give a cursory glare up each foul line. In this manner, he helped rookie pitcher Zach Johnson get out of a bases loaded jam.
Kendall suffered one of the most brutal-looking injuries when he his ankle popped while he stepped wrong on first base in a game against the Brewers. He would always kill the Brewers during all those seasons with the Pirates. He played again, because he is so tough.
Jason Kendall is so tough he doesn’t use batting gloves.
I’ve been asked up come up with a nickname for him, but he doesn’t fit in the usual Brewers nickname metrics: Kendally? Jasonny?
“Scar tissue is stronger than regular tissue.”
— Henry Rollins
“My aim then was to whip the rebels, to humble their pride, to follow them to their inmost recesses, and make them fear and dread us.”
— William Tecumseh Sherman