Andrew Chafin’s Cult Hero Status Growing By Memes and Bounds

Andrew Chafin looks like a character John C. Reilly would give life to in a parody of For the Love of the Game and he carries himself as if he knows it. He’s a real-life mashup of Cal Naughton, Jr., Chet Steadman, Kenny Powers, and Rod Beck. He’s apparently got a little George Nada thrown in there as well.

Injured when the Cubs acquired him via trade from the Diamondbacks at the deadline last season, the burly southpaw pitched only three innings over four appearances with his new team. Other than having a name that lends itself to a Gold Bond endorsement, Chafin’s initial run wasn’t particularly memorable. The Cubs clearly saw something, becuase they guaranteed him $2.75 million at a time when they weren’t otherwise spending anything.

He’s been worth the money in Twitter memes alone already this season, but his pitching has also been outstanding. Through four appearances, Chafin has yet to allow a run while striking out eight of the 14 batters he’s faced and giving up just two hits with one walk. Beyond that, it’s the overall look and swagger that have really captured fans’ imaginations.

Heck, even his teammates and manager are picking up what he’s putting down. On a team becoming famous for vibes, Chafin is coming off like a 24-karat gold Gwyneth Paltrow recommendation (I won’t link to it, but if you know you know).

“The look in his eye when he takes the ball from me on the mound, the way he comes off the mound staring at me like he wants to fight me makes me smile,” David Ross said recently.

Baseball has long been a game of eccentric characters, though it kinda feels like some of that has been sanitized over the last decade or two. That’s probably a good thing in most cases because a lot of cult heroes we worshipped back in the day would have been Milkshake Duck-ed into Bolivian had they been given access to social media.

One need look no further than Mark Grace, whose self-proclaimed slump-busting exploits as the Mayor of Wrigleyville would not have gone over well in modern times. That’s neither lament nor celebration, just an acknowledgment that things change. So Chafin is sort of a throwback in that regard, even if we’re not likely to hear him spinning yarns about booze and sex.

We are, however, going to get some incredible images and quotes just about every time he’s on the mound. And hey, that’s pretty fun.

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