By Jim Moore
If you follow the Mariners, you know that Danny Farquhar is the new closer, going from a guy who had the worst ERA on the team to a devastating shut-down pitcher. Since taking over for Tom Wilhelmsen, his strikeout-to-walk ratio has been off the charts.
I love his bulldog approach, the way he gets the ball, gets the sign and goes after hitters. In a couple of interviews with him on “Wyman, Mike and Moore,” we’ve discovered that his drink of choice is Jack Daniel’s and Coke. We also learned that he’s not into dogs, which is the only thing that stops me from having a full-on case of Farquhar Fever.
“Dogs are kind of a pain,” he said. “They’re just so high maintenance, and I don’t enjoy taking care of animals. Cats are just a little easier. I’d rather have my free time.”
In another interview on the “Golf Show with Jim Moore and Shon Crewe,” Farquhar told us about his golf game. He shoots in the 80s and drives the ball anywhere from 250 to 320 yards “depending on how good my swing is.”
Aside from a 10th-inning balk that led to a loss to the Rangers earlier this week, Danny Farquhar has been lights out since taking over as the Mariners closer. (AP)
His favorite part of the game?
“Hitting that one (perfect) shot that gives you an adrenaline rush,” Farquhar said. “That excitement alone makes you want to come back.”
He’s a Tiger Woods fan, saying: “I grew up watching him. What he did for the game, to make golf as popular as it is … I don’t like how he handles himself off the course or the way he throws his clubs, but there’s something about him. I just love the guy.”
So those were some of the Farquhar snippets, but I wanted to find out even more about him, which prompted a trip to the Mariners’ clubhouse before Wednesday’s game against the Rangers.
Twelve hours after home-plate umpire C.B. Bucknor called a ridiculous balk on Farquhar that gave the Rangers a 4-3 win Tuesday night, I met Farquhar at his locker for a 15-minute interview.
To his credit, he shrugged off the balk.
“I’ve flinched worse than that before and never been called for it,” Farquhar said, admitting that he technically did balk. “I wasn’t super-bummed about it. You can’t pout about it; you have to get over it and go on.”
Farquhar, 26, grew up in Southwest Ranches, Fla., and has been playing baseball since he was 5.
“My dad told me the first time I didn’t want to go to practice or a game, I’d be done with it,” Farquhar said. “But I loved it. I never had an issue there.”
In high school, he was a catcher, center fielder and pitcher. He could hit, averaging in the .400s.
Calling himself a “grindy little fellow,” Farquhar saw a velocity jump in his junior year of high school.
“I was throwing 92 (mph), and I thought: ‘Man, I’ve got a pretty good arm,’ ” he said.
During his senior year, he had a 0.89 ERA, attracting interest from Louisiana-Lafayette, where he went on to play college baseball for the Ragin’ Cajuns.
He and his high-school sweetheart maintained a long-distance relationship and got married four years ago after Farquhar went old school, proposing to her on one knee on a Jacksonville beach and asking her dad for her hand in marriage.
They’ve bounced around together – Farquhar has been in the Blue Jays’ organization twice and the Athletics’ organization twice. The 10th-round pick in the 2008 draft ended up in Seattle as part of the Ichiro trade with the Yankees.
Their daughter, Madison Rose, was born two years ago.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” Farquhar said. “The hugs and kisses … the ‘Daddy, I love you.’ I love it. It’s crazy how fast she’s growing up.”
On an off-day, you’ll probably find the Farquhars at Remlinger Farms in Carnation, where Madison Rose knows the names of all the ponies she rides – Bumbleberry, Coconut and Apple.
When there’s down time, he enjoys watching HGTV shows such as Property Brothers and House Hunters – he and his wife are closing on a house in Lafayette next week and are planning to remodel the kitchen and bathroom.
As is typical in an interview I’m involved in, we went all over the place.
“What happens more often: your name getting misspelled or your name getting mispronounced?” I asked.
“Mispronounced for sure,” Farquhar said. “All the time I’ll get: ‘Mr. Far…, Mr. Farq…, how do you say your name?’ “
Farquhar is a Scottish name, and Farquhar cites the Farquharson clan that has colors, a shield and a kilt.
Fellow reliever Charlie Furbush said that he and Farquhar have a great relationship.
“For one thing, we both have unique last names,” Furbush said. “He’s hilarious. Farquhar-isms always come out. He says brutal a lot. And with him, it’s always, ‘broooooo-tullllll.’ “
Said Farquhar: “I picked that up in Triple-A in Vegas in 2011. That was the word we always used on that team. I hung onto that.”
The balk call?
“That was broooooo-tullllll,” Farquhar said, laughing.
Farquhar thinks of himself as a light-hearted guy.
“Be kind to others and don’t take yourself too seriously,” he said.
Retirement is a long ways off, but Farquhar admits to thinking about it every day.
“Ideally I want to be a high-school coach and teach high-school math,” he said. “I enjoy math, and high-school kids are at that age where they’ll listen to you and respect you, and I’d like to make a difference in their lives.”
The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, jimmoorethego2guy.com, and kitsapsun.com. You can reach Jim at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.