Former Met catcher Jerry Grote, famous as the man whose arms Jerry Koosman jumped into after the Mets won the 1969 World Series, has joined the Chemung Shamans Outsider Poetry slam team for the 2017 season. Grote never left New York after his playing days, and actually lives in the Chemung area. A lifelong poet, he was intrigued when he attended a Chemung Shamans bout aginst the Rockford Pages earlier in the season, and contacted the league CEO, Dr. Millard Rausch, about joining the team.
Grote, who played with an intensity so intense that a neurological disorder, Grote's Syndrome was named after him, has led many to question if he will bring that same rage to the Outsider Poetry Slam league bouts next season, which could be a mistake in bouts against new OPSLA competitors Raven Shadmock and The Ubermenscher.
The signing has led many to wonder if the 2017 season will be a mere repeat of the 2016 season, where the Chemung Shamans went undefeated in the Eastern Division before being beaten in the Championship by the undefeated Western Division champs the Rancho Cucamonga Kookamungas. Both teams have strengthened their rosters during the off season, and with expansion to 16 teams likely to thin out the talent pool, it is probably both teams will be difficult to defeat in the coming season. Las Vegas books have Rancho Cucamonga at a 7:5 proposition, wheras the newest team, The Hell Hollerers are 750:1.
Former Met pitchers Craig Swan and Jon Matlack are quoted as saying they were intimidated by the surly Grote, and were afraid at times to shake off the pitches he called. Will Grote be calling the pitches for the Chemung Shamans? On a team with strong-willed poets, it is unlikely anyone will want to allow Grote to call the signals.
Grote is also no fan of umpires, once allowing a fastball to intentionally pass by and hit Bruce Froemming in the throat. Will groat attempt to intimidate the referees and judges of the OPSLA? It is hard to say.
Grote also hates the press. Which may be a disadvantage when trying to promote a fledgling Poetry Slam League. Come to think of it, Grote may just be a pain in the ass.