“I gotta funky, funky rhyme with a funky style;
I gotta funky, funky rhyme with a funky, funky style;
I gotta funky rhyme…wit a funky, funky style;
I gotta funky rhyme…wit a funky, Bfunky style.”
— Greg Nice, Hip Hop Junkies by Nice & Smooth
If there’s one thing you can say about New York Mets ’ pitcher Marcus Stroman; he’s got style.
He’s one of the most exciting pitchers in baseball. He’s a fashion icon.
Shout my dawg @spidadmitchell. Thank you thank you my bro. Sending you blessings and healing vibes. Can’t wait to see you back on the court shortly. Wishing y’all luck in the playoffs! @utahjazz pic.twitter.com/ge8mU4UQb8
— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) May 24, 2021
He’s also an anomaly. At 5 feet 7 inches tall, he doesn’t strike an imposing form when on the mound. Since 2000, he’s one of only six pitchers under 5’10” to even make a start in Major League Baseball.
But every time he takes the ball, you can’t tell him he’s not the biggest, baddest, man in the stadium.
He has no fear; not of opposing lineups, and not of big moments. And right now, he’s entering one of the biggest moments of his career.
The Mets’ pitching staff has been hit hard by injury. Jacob deGrom just returned from the injured list, but New York is currently without fellow Black Aace Taijuan Walker, and Carlos Carrasco, and Jordan Yamamoto. The latest depressing news surrounds Noah Syndergaard, who will be shut down for another six weeks due to right elbow inflammation.
Through all of it, Stroman has taken the hill every fifth day.
Thursday afternoon he pitched six scoreless innings against the Colorado Rockies, giving up only three hits as New York scratched out a 1-0 victory in Game 1 of a doubleheader. Stro picked up his team-leading fourth victory while dropping his earned run average to 2.47.
“I feel like I’ve always taken pride in taking the ball every fifth day and putting my team in a position to win,” he said after the game. “Since we have a lot of the guys on the DL, I just feel like it puts a little more pressure on the guys who are in the rotation to carry their load while those guys are out.”
If deGrom is the unquestioned ace of the Mets’ rotation, Stroman is its glue.
Six shutout innings for @STR0
Stepping up when the Mets need him most ? pic.twitter.com/kA3wQ4Bpjj
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 27, 2021
Stroman’s allowed more than two earned runs in only two starts so far, and his 58.1 innings pitched are 13 more than anyone else on the roster.
“We’ve had some absences in our starting rotation, and this guy’s given us length,” said Mets manager Luis Rojas. “For me, what he’s done repeatedly, is that he’s helped our bullpen stay fresh…I think you have to give a lot of credit to him because he’s worked really hard, since last year when he didn’t pitch. He’s worked really hard to get into this position.”
The work is paying off for Stroman and the Mets, who continue to cling to first place in the National League East even with one of the worst offenses in baseball. Until the Mets’ offense can find some consistency and its pitching staff is once again whole, Marcus Stroman can be counted on to hold it down.
If you doubt him, just ask him. He’ll tell you.
“I don’t beg cause cause I’m not a begonia;
I dress warm so that I won’t catch pneumonia;
My rhymes are stronger than ammonia;
I’m a diamond, you’re a cubic zirconia.”
- — MC Smooth B, Hip Hip Junkies
Marcus Stroman has always known he was a star. The rest of baseball is finally coming to that realization as well.