If you didn’t follow me on Twitter last season (@KikiWrites) or did follow me last season, but didn’t pay any attention to my inane ramblings, then you probably have no idea what I’m talking about when I mention the Beard Twins.
This duo became one of the highlights of the 2010 season for me and since it’s me, for none of the right reasons.
The Beard Twins are so named because a) they both had beards and b) Lou Pinella used them together so much I was convinced he couldn’t tell them apart.
(To be fair, I don’t think that was just Lou. If you do a Google Image search for one of the Beard Twins, the other one always pops up on the first page. If you search for them both together, you get Neal Cotts. I don’t know how that works out.)
They’d be up in the pen together, sometimes throwing at the same time which was kind of neat since Russell is left-handed and Berg is a righty. They looked like bookends. They’d get used in back to back innings, or sometimes the same inning. Usually it went Berg and then Russell, but sometimes Lou mixed it up. Not often, though.
I don’t know why it amused me so much, but it did. I started to look forward to those guys warming up so I could announce it on Twitter. When referred to as individuals, they became the Left-Handed Beard Twin and the Right-Handed Beard Twin. I had a lot of fun with the Beard Twins last year. Maybe they weren’t always the most effective rookies (though they both have their good points; Russell has a nice K/BB ratio and Berg’s a ground ball pitcher when his pitches are working), but I enjoyed them quite a bit.
Mike Quade didn’t use them together as much once he took over. In fact, Berg got sent down not long after Quade became interim manager. It made me sad that the Beard Twins were broken up.
It only lasted until September, though, then Berg was back. Quade still didn’t use them together much, but it might have been for the best as they both improved.
The last game the Beard Twins made an appearance was one of the last games of the year, in Houston against the Astros. They were used back to back, Russell then Berg. It was like old times and I was filled with glee. They didn’t warm up together, but that was okay. Just using them together was enough.
In a funny twist, Russell hit one of the batters he faced. And when Berg came into the game next? Yep, he hit one of his batters, too.
It was like the Beard Twins were giving me a proper goodbye for the season and I appreciated that, even if it was all in my head.
I feel that I won’t be seeing too much of the Beard Twins this season. With enough pitchers to staff a whole team, I don’t think both of them will be making the big team. I’m kind of bummed about that.
But together or apart, I will always hold them close to my heart.
That rhyme was unintentional.