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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.
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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.
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As the first overall pick of the 2011 MLB Draft, Gerrit Cole is the visage of optimism for a long suffering Pirates fan base whose big league debut is being met with much hype and anticipation. With enough pressure already thrown atop the 22 year old, there's probably not a whole lot else which could add to his anxiety, but it also can't help to know you'll be squaring off against a man who may be your future brother in law.
In this case, Gerrit Cole's girlfriend Amy Crawford is the sister of San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford against whom Cole squares off against tonight. Both Cole and Amy Crawford were pitchers at UCLA, with Crawford obviously pitching for the softball team. After graduating a couple years ago, Amy will be able to attend her boyfriend's debut against her brother, despite her old UCLA Bruins softball team heading off to the College World Series. Amy was a sociology major who graduated in 2011, who also listed Will Smith after favorite actor, Friends as her favorite TV Show, and Oceans 11, 12 & 13 as her favorite movies.
As for allegiances - for once, it doesn't appear to be a totally split decision. Amy didn't mind announcing by Twitter that she'll be sitting in the home section with the other Pirates wives when Cole toes the rubber for the first time. Fortunately, she can revert back to her Giants allegiance after the game as an October meeting is unlikely between the two squads for this season.