Tony Watson's wife Cassie Watson is part of the couple's leadership council. What's a leadership council, you might ask? Well, to get the bottom of that one, we have to travel to Pittsburgh and go straight into the Pirates' locker room, where only the most esteemed members of the team are chosen for the job.
According to triblive.com, this leadership council is voted on by the players. It's a small group of players, and each one represents a part of the team. So for instance, there's a guy representing relief pitchers, a guy representing starting pitchers, a guy representing regular players. The first council did not include Watson, but he's since been upgraded to councilman. They get together from time to time and talk about how to make the team better. You know, it sounds an awful lot like a coaching staff. Do the Pittsburgh Pirates not have coaches and a manager? Last I checked, they did. The whole thing sounds completely redundant and unnecessary, but I guess the players in Pittsburgh are bored and want to make seniority amongst themselves official. By the way, there is no leadership council between Tony and Cassie, in case you couldn't guess by now.
Tony's been throwing some absolute smoke this year. He's an all-star for the first time, and his record is now at 5-1 with an extremely impressive 1.42 ERA. He throws some nice heat- generally upwards of 95 and 96 mph, and he's got great placement. It was a longtime struggle for Tony to make his way into the Majors. He was drafted in 2007 but had to drudge through years of playing inconsistent ball in the minors. His first good year came in 2012. Man, if you love baseball, you stick around and play it no matter what. He played 41 innings for the Pirates in 2011 after four years in the minors, then he got sent down to AAA for 34 more innings, and then finally he was planted on the Pirates relief roster for good.
Francisco Liriano has come back in a big way. After years of tantalizing promise and nails-on-a-chalkboard irritating injury history, Liriano's name has often exceeded results. 2013 was a return to prime time for Liriano, which is lucky considering that he almost lost the entire season before it ever began.
In Feburary, Liriano was playing with his kids - ages 3 and 5 - and tried to startle them. However, something quickly went wrong, and Liriano felt a sharp pain in his arm. Francisco Liriano's wife Johanna Liriano quickly rushed him to the hospital, where he found out he broke his non-pitching arm. The Pirates tore up a 2 year agreement and negotiated a one year deal with the ace, who has gone out and earned a lot more than that second year would have earned him. What once looked like terrible news has worked out well, though I'm sure the Pirates have no issues with this trade off given what he's brought to the bump this season and in the NL Wild Card Game.
As we mentioned, Francisco and Johanna Liriano have two sons, and a third child (a daughter) due in December.
The baseball universe is a small world. We've seen it recently with Yasiel Puig's girlfriend Nicole Chaves being the daughter of a Dodgers exec. And in the case of Pedro Alvarez's wife Keli Alvarez (formerly Keli Elizabeth Murphy), the baseball universe buds romance again. Keli is the daughter of Pat Murphy, longtime baseball coach, and currently the manager of the Tucson Padres, San Diego's AAA affiliate and former head coach of Arizona State University.
Pedro and Keli Alvarez were married in January, 2011 at the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Nashville, TN. They were introduced through mutual friends while Pedro's Vanderbilt team squared off against Pat Murphy's ASU squad, which also happened to be where Keli was going to school. After graduating, Keli took an athletic training internship at Vanderbilt (one may infer to be closer to Pedro) The couple has a publicly posted wedding page where Pedro explains what Keli means to him:
I am so blessed to be with an angel like Keli. She is who i think about at all times of the day, she always manages to put a smile on my face and she is my rock that keeps me strong. I love this woman and i cant wait to spend the rest of my life with her.
Now that we've discussed this relationship a little bit, I need to ask a question about Pedro. Honestly now, raise your hand if you knew that Pedro Alvarez grew up in New York City. OK, everyone with your hand up is a liar. While Pedro was born in the Dominican Republic, he grew up in Washington Heights in New York - and I cannot actually explain why this is so off the charts shocking to me. I think it likely has something to do with Matthew Berry's impression of Pedro Alvarez on the ESPN Fantasy Focus Podcast.... "It's a me-uhhh,... Pedro Alvarez!!!" OK, I'm done rambling.