Rik Aalbert Blijleven, (born April 6, 1951, in Zeist, the Netherlands), had a Hall of Fame career as a starting pitcher but currently serves in a far more entertaining capacity as the color commentator for the Minnesota Twins. I think off-color commentator would be more fitting, but there’s no denying he adds more than a little color to Twins broadcasts!Let’s get his impressive numbers out of the way, then we can get on with the more amusing stuff. Known for his strikeouts, Blyleven recorded 3,701 Ks (fifth on the all-time list) in his great career, to go with a 287-250 record and a 3.31 ERA. The 2 time World Series champion was deservingly inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2011.
Now, onto the good stuff. A bit of a prankster during his playing days, Blyleven was given the moniker the “Frying Dutchman” due to his propensity to set his teammates’ shoelaces on fire (an old dugout standby known as the “hot foot”). According to some sources, during Blyleven’s days with the Angels, the fire extinguisher in the Angels’ clubhouse had a sign that read: “In case of Blyleven: Pull.”
Blyleven is now known as one of baseball’s more entertaining, yet controversial, commentators due to his penchant for saying off-color remarks (including using the F word numerous times in a pre-game segment, thinking that the camera was off). The incident prompted the Twins’ television network to suspend Bert for 5 games. During this stretch, fans were spotted holding “Free Bert” signs at the ballpark. You know why? Because Bert Blyleven is awesome.
His most awesome trait is his trademark of circling fans in the audience with his telestrator. Fans at home and road games alike hold up signs saying “Circle Me Bert” in an effort to get noticed by Bert and his magic telestrator. The amusing gimmick has even helped out a worthwhile cause, as Blyleven started a website which features Circle Me Bert memorabilia and apparel. A portion of the proceeds are given directly to the National Parkinson Foundation Minnesota.
Way to go, Bert!
One of my favorite ball players (very rare for non-Yankees). I saw him play in person right at the beginning of his career, this gives you an idea how old I am. My buddy Henry Cotto–an ex-Yankee of course–once described hitting against Blyleven to me. He said that when Bert had his best curveball, he would duck out of the way of a pitch that seemed aimed at his head and it wouuld break over the heart of the plate for a strike.
Gotta love a guy who spends part of his vacation commenting on one of our posts! You’re one of the best, Mark! I’d love to see you and Rob go toe-to-toe in a baseball anecdote contest at some point during my life.
See my post on the mathematics of smart phone distraction. 😉
Oh, and considering you guys are less than half my age and probably well less than half as nuts, don’t try competing with me on anything based on past experiences!
Haha, I think I’d have to concede the anecdote contest to you, Mark. Sounds like you know your stuff. Thanks for the post!
Where do you get this stuff? I live in Minnesota and wasn’t even a tiny bit aware of R.A.B.’s existence. I’ve only been to the new Twin’s stadium for the food:-) Great job per usual, Funny Name guys!
I’ll answer this question because Rob is probably doing something “important” like calculating damages for a lawsuit or learning about the paper industry. (He has a weird job)
The truth is, I’d be willing to bet that Rob could have written almost everything beneath the photo from memory, except maybe the thing about the Parkinson’s foundation. He has a near-encyclopedic knowledge of baseball history. He probably had to look up the stats.
Fun fact (from my far less impressive arsenal of baseball knowledge) that relates to you and a neighboring state: MLB commissioner Bud Selig is from Milwaukee and is famous for his love of frozen custard, eating the stuff from Gilles Frozen Custard every time he attends a Brewers game. http://onmilwaukee.com/myOMC/authors/jeffsherman/budseligjakes.html
Looks like a road trip to Milwaukee for frozen custard is in order. Good job with the pinch hit response:-) (Baseball is not my thing, but I’m 98% sure I used the phrase correctly.)
You did use the term correctly, indeed! I also had to look up the stats and a few other details, Dave. The only reason I know this stuff is because I spend an inordinate amount of my spare time following, reading about, and watching baseball. I just love the game and its history.
Thanks for bringing some order back to the FNB universe Rob! Much appreciated … though yesterday’s picture of Arto and Ted is still burned into my brain …
Good! That means you’ll always carry a part of Arto with you. Arto and Ted.
P.S. Thanks for liking my really long *swoon* yesterday! 🙂
Oh, dear. With both Arto’s and my penchant for innuendoes, I’m just going to let that one go by …
PS: thank YOU! Pretty much made my day. I’m so blogging about that show tomorrow. Speaking of which, I have a potential post topic for you. Stay tuned.
My pleasure. I think it’s important we keep a modicum of seriousness on this blog as much as possible. (I am entirely kidding, of course!)
Had no idea that was his real name. One heck of a pitcher and worthy of the HOF.
Just returned from vacation, so I haven’t forgotten this site. Make sure you (and your friends) stop by on Saturday’s celebration.
No worries. Everything gets a bit crazy during summer. Glad to have you back!
Amb has opened up a sizeable lead in the top commenter department, so if you want to reclaim your title, you’ve got your work cut out for you. 🙂
Neat fact: Rob (who I often call Bert) and Bert Blyleven share the same birthday.
This is true. Not quite as neat as another fact though: I share the same exact birthdate as Padres infielder Alexi Amarista – which is another great name!