Jason Grilli has struggled early in the 2014 season. His strikeout rate is nearing the lowest of his career and his walk rate is nearing the highest of his career. Combine that with his rising batting average balls in play and you have a recipe for disaster. None of that really matters to me though because I love watching Jason Grilli take the mound in high pressure situations.
Grilli is currently on the DL for the Pirates and even if he never closes out another game for the Bucs, he will always remain one of my favorite Pirates relievers of all time.
The dude flat out got pumped everytime he stepped foot on the mound. Need proof? Check out his recent cards for Topps flagships or last year's Heritage release.
What impresses me most about Jason Grilli though isn't the fist pumping or the Pearl Jam entrances or the funny nickname. It's how he reacts to his fans. I remember attending a 2012 spring training game he was signing autographs for fans for close to 30 minutes. A very young boy (probably no older than 4) had drawn a bunch of Pirates players and write one sentence under each of the pages in his sketchbook. The very proud father was showing it to Evan Meek, who was drawn wearing a Superman cape with the sentence "Super Meek saved the day". Jason Grilli came over and asked the young boy if he was in the book and the boy said "No. Who are you?" Jason said "I'm the Grill Cheese" The boy started laughing then told Jason how much he liked grill cheeses. Jason told him he wanted to be drawn in the boys book the next time he saw him. The boy said "Ok Mr. Grill Cheese" It was such a cute moment and a joy to watch Jason interact with this young boy. When I initially joined twitter, my first follower was Jason Grilli. He has such a way of interacting with his fans that you can't help but root for the guy to be successful.
It's because of this that I needed to add a 1/1 Jason Grilli to my collection.
I didn't want just any 1/1 though.
There was no way a Topps Blank back or printing plate would be displayed proudly when it came to finding a great Grilli card for the collection.
I needed this!