Home > Uncategorized > Parra chooses new number

Parra chooses new number

February 16, 2009

Pitchers and catchers have reported to Spring Training and the first games are just days away.

With that, comes another time-honored aspect of baseball: superstition.

Superstition has long reigned supreme in baseball clubhouses at all levels. Players avoid stepping on baselines, others purposely step on them as they enter and leave the field.

Players consistently go through the same routine when entering the batter’s box: adjusting batting gloves, tapping the plate, wiggling the bat, and the list goes on.

If a player starts hitting well, he might wear the same article of clothing as long as the trend continues. And every year, there is a dramatic increase in facial hair during the postseason.

One of the most important things to many players, however, is the number they wear on their back. For many it may simply be the first number they wore in little league, for others it may have been the number their father wore. Still other players choose numbers to honor great athletes in the past.

Numbers are not just important to the players. Choose any number and an average fan could probably name someone who wears it on his back.

For example, 24: Willie Mays, Ken Griffey, Jr. (in Seattle). Also, 8: Cal Ripken, Jr., Yogi Berra.

And of course, 5: Joe DiMaggio, Johnny Bench. 

For Milwaukee Brewers starter Manny Parra, No. 43 seemed just fine over the past two seasons as long as he got the opportunity to pitch in the big leagues.

Now that he has a full season of ups and downs under his belt, he has swapped the 43 for the No. 26 he will wear beginning this season, according to the team’s Web site.

Why the change?

Perhaps it’s the 26 strikeouts he threw in 26 innings in the 2007 season, his first partial season with Milwaukee.

Maybe it’s the fact he wore No. 26 in high school, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Or perhaps Parra chose the No. 26 because he was drafted in the 26th round on the 26th day of June.

Another reason for the number change could be Parra’s age — you guessed it, 26.

Finally, the number could be a nod to the Brewers’ postseason appearance last season, the first for Milwaukee in 26 years.

It really doesn’t matter why Parra chose a new number. The fact is the young Brewers’ starter will be relied upon in 2009 to provide quality starts on a consistent basis.

While Parra was hot in the month June, winning each of the five games he started in the month, the lefty was just 5-8 in all other months in the 2008 season.

With the departure of CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets, the Brewers rotation consists of Yovani Gallardo, Dave Bush, Braden Looper, Jeff Suppan, and Parra, in that order, according to the team’s current depth chart.

Though it could change, the Brew Crew currently have an ace who posted zero decisions last season and only one other pitcher in the rotation with a winning record. That pitcher, of course, is Parra at 10-8.

If Parra performs well in March, he could earn himself a higher spot in the rotation. Regardless of whether he remains in the five slot or moves up, Parra pitched the fewest innings last season of any current starter, excluding Gallardo who sat out much of the year.

Even if Parra posts another winning season, without increased innings pitched, he will continue to be a burden on the Brewers bullpen, which has been depleted and overhauled as a result of the departure of several Brewers in the offseason.

Hopefully for the Brewers and their fans, the number change will make the difference for Parra in terms of consistency. If not, maybe some minor adjustments and increased confidence will do the trick. Whatever the case, the Brewers’ success in 2009 will undoubtedly depend of the performance of all five starters and the new-look bullpen.

Who knows, maybe the No. 26 will lead to 26 wins for Parra. Of course, it could just as easily lead to 26 losses for the lefty. 

Categories: Uncategorized
%d bloggers like this: