Joining with all of Twins Territory in honor of another member of our favorite team, I'd like to examine the parallels between Jesse Alan Crain and the famous bird that shares his last name. One might wonder what kind of similarities can be found between a Major League relief pitcher and an aviary animal. The answer? Several, if you don't mind stretching your imagination a little bit:
Cranes are renowned for their migratory habits.
- Crain was born in Toronto, Canada but spent a good portion of his childhood living in Boulder, Colorado. Playing high-school ball in Colorado and college ball in Texas, Jesse plays professional ball for Minnesota and every 3 years migrates back to his Canadian team to represent them in the World Baseball Classic. He is a well-travelled man.
Cranes usually stay with the same mate all their lives.
- This has yet to be proven in Jesse's case (I'm referring to his mate as the team he is currently coupled with). Jesse has donned the uniform of only one Major League club, and that club happens to be the Minnesota Twins. Whether that loyalty is his or his mate's trait has yet to be determined, but as it stands neither of them is ready to give up on the other despite the hard times they've been enduring over the years. That's a solid relationship.
Cranes can be long-lived. 40-60 years in captivity, but some even longer.
- Jesse will not have a 40-60 year career, but his career does seem to have a long lifespan so far, it just isn't going away! Despite the fact that his career has seemed like it might be teetering on the brink of death, it still plows along. Resiliency.
Many cranes are becoming endangered, particularly the sandhill crane, the Siberian crane, and the whooping crane.
- One can't help but feel that the Jesse Crain might be becoming endangered too. More and more when he is released into the wild from the bullpen the hunters from the other team seem to target him and light him up. It can be tough to watch sometimes. PETA should intervene.
Cranes are opportunistic feeders.
- This was particularly true in 2005, when Jesse picked up 12 wins out of the bullpen. He was what the great Bert Blyleven kept referring to as a "vulture", showing up in relief to pluck up a win.
In some myths, including one told by Aristotle, cranes were thought to migrate with a "touchstone" in their belly. (Touchstones are a tool to help determine precious metals.)
- I get a pit in my stomach whenever I see him enter a close ball game.
In Celtic mythology, cranes are often an ill omen.
- This is usually why I get that pit in my stomach.
In Asian mythology, the powerful wings of the crane are though to be able to convey souls to the Western Paradise.
- Ok, not really sure about this one. But, if Western Paradise is being on base, opponents have a career .316 OBP against him? That's not awful I suppose, so I guess Western Paradise can be a rare place to gain entry to.
Many ancient Asian cultures also saw valuable lessons in the flight trajectory of cranes, from which the young could follow and learn.
- Sign a guaranteed contract early, because if you have arm problems and end up not doing as well as you thought, you'll still make a solid salary and your team will be less likely to let you go until you've been proven completely ineffective.