First off, I'd like to point out how weird things can be when we're talking about professional sports. On the one hand, lets call it the hand of baseball, if you landed from Mars yesterday and read the comments here on Tomko you'd think he was basically a bum off the street, little better than a contest winner or a good high school pitcher. And to be sure, he's definitely one of the four or five least essential members of the roster at this point (although that could change). So, all told, as we say now, he is what he is, a back of the rotation retread who might possibly turn into something adequate in the bullpen, and one of the blandest transactions a general manager can make. But, on the other hand, lets call it, the hand of reality, Tomko is far from a replacement level dude on the fringes of existence. He's turning 35 in the spring, and in those 34 years since he was born in Cleveland he's attended college for free, and already earned, thanks to his latest payday, over $20,000,000. He's not a six zero man, he's a seven zero man. Then there's the matter of his marriage, aka to Ms. February 1998. So, in the real world, he's a total success, baller, badass, cool guy, or whatever you want to call him. There aren't even adequate decimal points around to quantify how elite he is, how high up on the pyramid of society he's reached. But, in the field that actually earned him all that clout, he's actually not a baller... There is no point to this, just that I think its strange. Lastly, I was thinking last night, is there really an analog to being Tomko-level in other fields. You know, someone who doesn't push you to a higher level, but who does, at least potentially, keep things from being 5% more terrible than they might otherwise be? I'd love to hear your suggestions.
Now, a baseball note.
I do think that we've all been right to point out that Tomko is moving to a tougher pitcher's park as well as a tougher league. Moreover, since he's been bouncing around the NL West exclusively the last few years, its worth noting that he not only gets to pitch in his pitcher-friendly home park (be it in SF, LA, or SD), but he's also gotten to pitch in those other friendly parks in the division a disproportionate number of times.
California Dreamin' Tomko Style
2004. 194 IP total: 79.2 in SF, 11 in SD, 22.1 in LA, 112.3 total in CaliWest, 58% of total
2005. 191 IP total: 88 in SF, 10.2 in SD, 17.2 in LA, 115.4 in CaliWest, 60% of total
2006. 112 IP total: 2 in SF, 20.1 in SD, 53.1 in LA, 75.2 in CaliWest, 67% of total
2007. 131.3 IP total: 4 in SF, 20.1 in SD, 46.1 in LA, 70.2 IP in CaliWest, 54% of total
Of course, there's also the mitigating factor, to an extent, that he also should be pitching in Denver and Arizona a little bit more than a non NL-Wester, but its a weaker factor here, since he never was a Rockie or D'Back. Ohh, and there was that one season when Coors was a neutral park too. Since 2004, he's pitched a total 33.2 IP in Coors, but, again, 14.2 of those were in the weird 2006 year of the humidor, which was also coincidentally his busiest season in Denver by far. As for Arizona, his total since 2004 is 36.3 innings (16.2, 9, 3, 8.1).
So, make of all this what you will.