Tagged: Minor Leagues

Finals Edition: Abnormal Psychology

As you regular readers know, I have finals right now. I just had my first one at 3p today, and I finish at 5p on Wednesday. So until then, we won’t be seeing much. Pretty much, I have a few posts that I have in draft form that I work on throughout the day, (I started this one on Friday.) But I had the idea of trying to write one post based on each of my finals. Today we have Abnormal Psychology, which for those of you who don’t know, is basically mental disorders class. Next, we have Chemistry. Not sure how I’ll work anything baseball into that one… in fact, I’m pretty sure it will be impossible. There’s really not much you can do to tie ethylenediaminetetraacetato to Major League Baseball. Heck, even this one is a real stretch. After that comes Calculus, and then Biology. Those last two should be fun. And I’m just gonna skip the Body Building and Development one, it would be too easy. Not a real class anyway.

Abnormal Psychology
Does Barry Bonds fit the criteria for "Schizotypal Personality Disorder?" Schizotypal Personality Disorder is defined as,

A pervasive pattern of social and interpersonal deficits marked by acute discomfort with, and reduced capacity for, close relationships as well as by cognitive and perceptual distortions and eccentricities of behavior, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following…

Now, here’s where it gets tricky. There are nine such traits, of which Bonds must fit five to qualify. I’ve selected some that may be possible – ideas of reference, unusual perceptual experiences including bodily illusions, odd thinking and speech, suspiciousness or paranoid ideation, inappropriate or constricted affect, and lack of close friends or confidants other than first-degree relatives. Well that’s six. But does he really have Schizotypal Personality Disorder? No. He has Delusional Disorder, Persecutory subtype*. Think about it, delusions of persecution? "The IRS is after me. The mistress is after me. The media is after me. The reporters are after me. Congress is after me." You know what, Barry? Don’t cheat on your taxes, your wife, or your job, and you’ll be ok.
(* – Might not be correct.)

Albert Pujols is good. No, he’s really, really, good.
Albert Pujols was recognized by Congress for being good. That’s correct. Pujols, the first baseman for the St. Louis Albert Pujols, (formerly the Cardinals,) was honored by Congress
today for "receiving 18 of 32 first-place votes to capture the MVP
Title." I’m talking about the Nation’s Congress. Well, actually, The
Committee on Government Reform, but it’s the same thing. After it honored Albert, it proceeded
to honor one of his citizens – Chris Carpenter – for posting "a 21-5
record while also achieving career highs in E.R.A., strikeouts, innings
pitched, completed games and shutouts." Furthermore, because they were
so busy honoring Albert and Chris, the Congress missed attending the
groundbreaking of the National’s new stadium. "Some of us have passed up
the opportunity to be there to conduct the people’s business," chairman
Tom Davis said. I mean, there’s no way. Albert Pujols is amazing. Dude
has got a lot of pop in his bat. But to receive congressional
recognition? Perhaps a little over the top, no?

The Cubs ruined another pitcher, and his name isn’t Wood or Prior.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, (news from Larry "The Magician" Rothschild is that Mark has ‘contracted’ food poisoning, which will further slow his ‘recovery’ from a phantom injury,) it did. Seems the Cubs released one of their 2002 First Round draft picks in January, but no one took notice until now. He was the typical "promising right-hander" and received an $875,000 signing bonus. His name was Matt Clanton. You’ve probably never heard of him. Why not? In three seasons, he made just two appearances. But it goes deeper – a lot deeper. Apparently Clanton had – surprise – a very injury-riddled ‘career’. So much so, in fact, that he was "verbally abused" by the front office. He claims that the Cubs accused him of faking injury, called him a "piece of s—," and that GM Jim Hendry told him, "This organization is not a democracy. It’s a dictatorship. You shut the f— up." Clanton maintains that he was injured and unable to perform, and that the Cubs were just pissed because they had invested in a first-round pick and gotten less than nothing in return.
But wait, slow down. The Cubs accused Clanton of faking injuries? Well, I’m not gonna name names here, but I think there are some other candidates for ‘faking injuries’ on the Cubs staff. Think ‘trees’ and ‘before.’

But anyway, it gets better. Clanton quit on his team in his senior year of high school. Also, in Clanton’s last game as a collegiate player – in the playoffs and with the season on the line – "things got interesting," in the fourth inning, according to his coach. Interesting because Clanton, who had started, was nowhere to be seen. He was seen, however, in the bullpen, taking off his cleats and saying he was done pitching. After the game, his coach confronted him and was told that he was "unwilling to jeopardize his arm or his future for this team." After hearing "a hundred times" that everyone else was selfish, the coach informed Matt that he was selfish. Matt responded by telling the coach that "you’re f—ing selfish." I have to side with the coach on that one. After this incident, Matt’s coach received calls from "about a dozen teams" asking what happened. "Those teams basically withdrew his name from the draft," he said. Obviously, the Cubs were not one of those dozen teams. But that wasn’t the first time the Cubs had wasted a first round pick on a player that was "removed from the draft" by most of the other teams.

In 1999, the Cubs used their first round pick to draft Ben Christensen. While playing for Wichita State University, Ben deliberately threw at an opposing batter. Not the batter in the box, but the batter in the on-deck circle. While Christensen was warming up, he threw a 91mph ‘practice pitch’ that ‘sailed’ 25ft away from the target. The throw "shattered" Anthony Molina’s face, knocking him unconscious and fracturing five bones, while leaving a 1-inch gash above his left eye. Molina was permanently blinded in his left eye, ending his baseball career. So why did Ben do it? He believed that Molina was timing his pitches. Did he apologize? No – he said he was just trying to brush Molina back. Did his pitching coach apologize? No. His pitching coach said, "If the on-deck hitter is standing too close to home plate, you brush him back. I teach that." Nevermind that the game hadn’t even started yet. Christensen finished his college career with a 21-1 record and received a $1 million signing bonus from the Cubs, who’s scouting director at the time was – Jim Hendry. Christensen was last seen with the Mariners in 2004. I don’t think he’s ever been past the AA level; in fact, he may be out of the game entirely. Good choice, Jim.

Just in case you’re wondering if the Cubs have a pattern of making bad first round picks, this should help you decide. I looked through the Cubs first round draft picks, all the way to 1970. You want to know how many players I had heard of, besides Christensen and Clanton? Four. Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, Corey Patterson, and Jon Garland. Needless to say, only zero of those players are still with the team. What? Kerry and Mark still play? Right. More on the Cubs in a few minutes.

What would a day at BHGM be if we didn’t make fun of the Royals?
Well, kind of boring. That said, PFC Grudzielanek’s Royals did go on a 2-game winning streak, beating the Twins 1-0 on Thursday and the White Sox 5-4 on Friday. Of course, they dropped Saturday’s game 2-9. But you have to give the squad some credit, because they’re still ‘battling’ it. But as big of news as that is, it’s not our story tonight. Rather, one lifelong fan is "saying never." 34-year-old Chad Carroll has sold his loyalty to the Royals on eBay. That’s right. For $278.47, ‘magdawg69’ was able to purchase the sports fan loyalty of Chad Carroll.

I did 25 years. That’s enough time. I’m paroled. I’m gone. I’ve been released on good behavior… I don’t see it getting any better in my lifetime. People tell me never to say never. Well, I’m saying never… I can’t be seduced back. There’s no way.

Seriously? Could I have asked for a better quote? This guy has been following the Royals for 25 years, and now he’s so sick of it that he refusing to follow them anymore. And think about it; he’s 34 years old, and he doesn’t see it getting any better in his lifetime. Dude’s going to be around for about another 50 years, and he thinks that when he’s finished, the Royals will still be fighting Mark’s War. Can you imagine Geoff auctioning off his loyalty to the Yankees? Uh, no way. First we’ve turned the Royal’s Season into a military campaign, and now being a fan is a lot like going to jail. I guess I can see how ‘being a Royals fan’ and ‘spending 25 years in the hole’ could be confused with each other. Just add that to the list of things that the Royals will never live down. Recall that it was just yesterday that we bashed on the Royal’s slogan, "Your team, your town." Funny because I talked about how bad it would make someone feel to realize the Royals are "their team," and how they would consider moving to St. Louis because of it. Or, just auction off "your team" on eBay. Either one works.

Back to the Cubs.
I’m watching the Cubs v. Padres game right now. Only because Sean Marshall had a no-hitter going into the 6th inning. Oh yeah, and because the Cubs are hilarious. That’s why I follow them. There’s no telling when Dusty will do something outrageous, or when the players themselves will pull a crack stunt. In the past few years, we’ve had Kyle Farnsworth tackle Paul Wilson, LaTroy Hawkins trying to fight umpire Tim Tschida, Scott Eyre taking out Derrek Lee, and Dusty Baker doing Dusty Baker-type things. Anyway, there’s a ton more, but we’d be here all day. Needless to say, the "What you missed" post, which is still in progress, has it’s own section devoted to the Cubs. For those of you who don’t know, the "What you missed" post will be recapping all of the obscure references we make on BHGM – from Mark’s War, to Operation Shutdown, to Chris Duffy is a Liar, to Denny McLain works at 7-11, to superstitions, to Rick James. It’s all there. It’s also taking a long time to write. Back to the Cubs. I’m sitting here watching the game, and what do I hear, circa behind home plate?

Where’s Derrek Lee!? Where’s Sammy Sosa!? Where’s Vance Law!?

Apparently, there was a Cubs fan in the crowd who had just had enough. I guess 95-some years of losing will do that to a guy. Whenever you’re looking for Vance Law, you’re in trouble. Needless to say, the Cubbies gave up a 10th inning bomb to lose the game. Surprised? Well, they were playing the Padres, who have now won eight in a row. Like I’ve said a million times before – I don’t care if the Padres win 162 games in a row, I’m still not down with a franchise that got into the playoffs with an 82-80 record, after a "hot finish" no less.

That about does it for today. I might get something out tomorrow, maybe not.

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Red Sox/Yankees, Pujols, and NL West Solutions

We’ve got a whole bunch of things to cover at BHGM today. Basically, it wasn’t a busy day for me on the school front. So this is what you get. Doug Mirabelli, Minor League Umpires, Albert Pujols is good, the Royals/Marlins/Pirates are not, and finally – how do we prevent a repeat of the 2005 Padres making the playoffs? But first – don’t miss the game tonight. That’s right, the Cardinals and Reds are duking it out for first place in the NL Central. Must see. Wait, that is happening, but so are the Yankees-Red Sox. Let’s make bets on how many punches Kyle Farnsworth gets in on Julian Tavarez. Oh yeah, and Sox Fan? Here’s a little reminder:




Not again…
Apparently the Rangers are in 1st place of the AL West… it looks like we now have two non-divisions – both coincidentally located in the Western third of the country.  Interesting, because we just talked about the Padres going over on the Dodgers in stunning fashion last night. My response to Geoff’s comment is a little long, so I’ve moved it to the end of the post. But basically, know this – the Rangers and Padres have no business being at the top of any division now.


The Great Doug Mirabelli returns to beantown.
The Red Sox reacquired Doug Mirabelli. I guess it is kind of difficult to catch one of those dancing knuckleballs. I told you so? …Duh. They couldn’t have said it in a more powerful way – "man, we effed up." Mirabelli could probably demand five million a year and he’d get it. Of course, the best part is that the Yankees tried to acquire Mirabelli first – just to keep the Sox from getting to him first. Good stuff.


Minor League Umpires still not working
In other news, Minor League umpires are on strike. Now, I’m all for minor league umpires making more money and being happier. But hey – you watch baseball games for a living. Also, why should MLB pay you more money? There’s already stiff enough competition for umpiring, and so it’s economically a bad decision. And besides, what are you going to point to as your body of work? Possibly screwing up the World Baseball Classic with a few blown calls?


Albert Pujols is good
Albertpujols
–And finally, the NL seems to have caught on to this guy, ‘Albert Pujols.’ Maybe you’ve heard of him. He’s supposed to be pretty good. Now, lately the entire NL has been plodding along blindly, much like 2004’s LaTroy Hawkins. This is a story that bears repeating:

In 2004, LaTroy Hawkins – then the Cub’s ‘closer’ – was brought into the game to protect a one-run lead against the Cardinals, better known as Albert Pujols. As it happened, Pujols had already hit two Home Runs that night, and was by all means a Triple Crown contender. And now, LaTroy has allowed two of Pujol’s citizens on base, and Pujols is up. LaTroy pitches him a fat one, and Albert goes yard. After handing the St. Louis Albert Pujol’s a 10-8 victory, Hawkin’s began to fight Umpire Tim Tschida, for a still-unknown reason. Why? He didn’t give up Pujol’s third jack of the game, much less tell you to pitch to the triple crown contender. Sit down, LaTroy.

Back to Albert. This is how the entire NL has been playing Albert – until last night. Finally the Washington Nationals – of all teams, the Nationals! – realized that this Albert guy must have a little pop in his bat. In other words, he’s swinging a big stick. He’ll jerk it out of the yard. He’s really strong. So, Nationals got together, brainstormed, and decided to walk Albert. Four times yesterday. Which means his firestorming days in the NL are effectively finished, unless Walt can come up with someone besides Jim Edmonds to protect him. Surprising that the Cubs didn’t figure out that it was better to let Pujols "clog" the bases than clear them.

There are some very bad teams playing this game
The Royals are really bad, but unless you haven’t looked at the standings in seven years you know this. In fact, they’re what you would call
–"the worst," with their 5 wins, and 17 losses. Now that the team is officially having "a bad season," the Mark Grudzielanek War has begun. The Marlins are the
–"second-worst," with a lowly 6 wins. The Pirates have 7. The still owner-less Nationals have 8. My favorite team, the Padres, have a
–comparatively enormous, (nearly twice as many as the Royals) 9 wins, as do the Twins. On the other hand, the Devil Rays and Reds – pretty much synonyms for "really bad" recently – have done a fairly decent job of not embarrassing themselves. The Reds have been the most remarkable, and actually have the best record in the League right now – good for you. Now, don’t get me wrong, the Rays are still in last place. They’re 11-14, and that’s probably the strongest whiff they’ll get of .500 until Opening Day 2007. But still – keep it up the good work, guys! If it takes the mirage of a rivalry with the Red Sox to get you fired up enough to win, you do what you have to do. Last night the Rays beat the Red Sox on a miracle from Scott Kazmir. I say miracle because, c’mon, how many times will a guy that walks 100 batters in 186IP, (last year,) go 7 innings and only walk one dude? He also struck out 10. Nice.


Padres_3No one wants to see a .500 team make the playoffs again.
I can’t get enough of last night’s Padres-Dodgers game. Check out the details here.
–I can’t describe in words how ridiculous the entire NL West is. I
–mean… I can, but not until the end of this post. The Padres scored
–more runs in the bottom of the 9th and 10th innings, (6), than they had
–done the entire previous week. Seriously, how bad can you be?
–And to think that this is essentially the same team that won the NL
–West last year? No way. Geoff left a very insightful comment to said post. Basically, Geoff says he begins to doubt the division system when teams like the 2005 Padres make it to the playoffs. Well, obviously. Of course, you can see my whole NL West hate-mongering right here; it’s probably my 2nd favorite post behind the Greatest Play of All Time. Anyway, Geoff says that teams like the Padres make the playoffs when you start allowing more teams in. And he asks me for a solution. Here are my ideas for a fix. If you want to get to the only plausible idea, just go ahead and skip to number 5.


1) My favorite, and the one I think would be most viable, is also the simplest. Probation. According to the NCAA, some guys gave some other guys – who happened to play for the University of Michigan Basketball team, specifically, the "Fab Five" – some cash. Well, about 11 years after the fact, the NCAA intervened with a, "hold it right there ,you cant do that!" Does anyone remember the National Title game against North Carolina in 1993, when UM’s Chris Webber called a timeout he didn’t have which probably cost them the game, as they were behind 2 points with 11 seconds left at the time? Well, you probably do. According to the NCAA, you must be imagining things, because that game never happened. The records have been deleted. "What," one of Webber’s teammates responded, "I was there. Sure it happened." No it didn’t. But let me get back to the point. Not only did the NCAA use the Memory Eraser for seven years, they also put Michigan on probation in 2003. Critical step. Imagine if a couple guys who happened to play for your team 10 years ago screwed up, and because of that, you’re out of the postseason. Even if you run the table and go undefeated. Do the same thing to the entire NL West. You don’t get into the playoffs with an 82-80 record, and if you do, you don’t get to go back for a long time. Nor do your associates, (the people that let you get there, by way of their own *******.)


2) Kind of an extension to #1. If you remove the NL West’s playoff spot, you have an odd team out come October. Now, we can’t just give them a bye. So, transfer the NL West’s forfeited playoff spot to the AL East (Toronto,) or Central. Heck, you might even be able to give it to the NL East. Make it fair.


3) Institute a BCS-like system in the NL West. I’m guessing that the combination of playing most of your games against bad teams, losing about half of them, outscoring your opponents by 42 runs all season, and having an expected win-loss record of 76-86 would keep you out of the playoffs.


4) Nevermind, because we all know Bud will never make such a rational decision. It’s not ok for guys to run around with crack slipping out of their pockets, (1980’s Mets,) but I’ll be darned if I keep a team that was micrometers from slipping below .500 out of the playoffs.


5) A serious solution. So maybe all the previous ideas were too wild to be accepted. Hey, people called Copernicus crazy in his time too. Turns out he was right about that whole "sun in the center" idea after all. Anyway, the only solution is to turn the whole thing into a wild-card type race. Here’s how it will work; four playoff spots will be given out per league, with no more than two going to each division. Best four records win! This plan is entirely foolproof – entirely. It allows no more winners per division than the wild card does, but it’s also a fail-safe against teams like the 2005 Padres. Again, as long as Selig is at the helm this is unlikely to happen, (especially with the whole non-scandal steroids issue,) and especially until someone raises a stink about it. I’ve done that just about every single day here. Maybe one day someone will hear me.


That’s all for today. Might be back with a Red Sox – Yankees recap. PS: If whoever runs RxSN Baseball is reading this, can you fire me an e-mail?

Barry Bonds, Canada over US, and… Rick  Ankiel?

I had some formatting problems. Namely, all proper nouns received a return in front and behind them. This may have been a problem that resulted from the HTML in converting the post from a copied word document to the interface. Who knows, it’s working for now. Anyway, our neighbors to the North are Canadia, we’re the States, etc. For some reason, the formatting error does not apply to Barry Bonds’ name, but it did care about Jason*Bay.

First off, I try to stay out of all the mainstream blogging topics, thinking that we have all heard enough of them. Such a belief would preclude me from talking about Barry Bonds, and Canadia over the States. I have some thoughts on both, however, plus a special piece. I’m sorry I haven’t been posting lately, but tomorrow is the last day of classes before spring break. Then I’ll have more than enough time to watch baseball and write. Besides, it still tires me to simply walk from bed to computer.

Barry Bonds 

I’m assuming everyone here has heard about the book. I have the SI article in front of me. Anyway, first off, is it true?

A1_book_1Apparently, the book is based on two years of research that includes hundreds of interviews, court documents and affidavits, and confidential memos from federal agents. The authors, Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, are investigative reporters – not a former MLB Player with a grudge named Jose Conseco. Besides… does the fact the Bonds has been pumped full of dope really come as a surprise? I will now precede, assuming that the allegations in Game of Shadows are true. Frankly, Bonds doesn’t have a lot of credibility on the issue anyway.

Why did he do it? The authors allege that Bonds was jealous at the attention Mark McGwire was getting. "They’re just letting him do it because he’s a white boy," he said about McGwire’s 1998 Home Run Race. According to Kimberly Bell, Bond’s mistress – despite the fact that he had just gotten remarried – Bonds also claimed Sammy Sosa was destined to fail because, as a matter of policy, "they’ll never let him win." Great. Is there any part of Barry-Land that this doesn’t fit into? Recall his claim that there are no statues honoring Blacks, despite the fact that his own godfather, Willie Mays, is enshrined directly in front of his ‘office,’ which due to a formatting error I can’t actually name. But get this, that year, Bonds hit .303, 37 HR, and made the All-Star Team. It was the fact that no one seemed to notice that apparently pushed him into roiding up. In 1993, Bonds had signed what was then the largest contract to date. Ready for this? $43.75 million over six years. He was on the way to the Hall, his legacy was intact, and he had a solid reputation. So, it seems that McGwire just set Bonds off – he had to be better, because he believed he was better. Was he gonna hit the weights really hard in the off-season? Watch hours of tape before game time? Work on his swing? Play winter ball? Heck no. Bonds wasn’t willing to put in the time to get ahead legitimately, and so he made the decision to pump himself full of drugs.

This is what matters. Had Bonds chosen to legally get ahead and smash The Babe’s record, people would worship him just as they worshiped McGwire. We Out_1 would’ve put up with his delusions of racism and persecution, because he would be the best player of all time. Then again, without roids, does Bonds ever hit more than 40HR in a season, regardless of how hard he works? Impossible to tell, but consider this. Much has been said of the Jim Thome’s and Frank Thomas’ who, as they near the twilight of their careers, begin to hit more and more HR per at bat. I once heard a possible explanation for this; perhaps, as their legs age, these players simply don’t want to run out the double. This (unconsciously) translates into more HR, possible through the development of more of a "Home Run" Swing. In addition, experience makes it easier to sit on balls and rake the fastballs down the heart right out of the yard, as the hitter’s ‘eye’ sharpens. So, maybe Bond’s Home Run total continues to increase… but not double. Bonds doesn’t come anywhere near his present total, but he does it legally and he stays in the Hall, legacy intact.

Lastly, what’s Bond’s defense to this? He’s out of tricks. He can’t parade his little kid around, he can’t tell the media that they forced him to jump off the bridge, he can’t play the race card, he can’t say the IRS is after him, and he can’t blame it all on the mistress. So, he says, "I won’t even look at the book. There’s no reason to."

050222_petersononbonds_hlarge_8pAre you freaking kidding me? Put yourself in this situation. You’re about to break Babe Ruth’s Home Run Record, and someone just wrote a book saying that you’re a cheater, an arrogant racist, and you don’t care about a single thing besides the record. Are you gonna, A) Tell your PR man to take care of it, B) Defer all questions to your team, C) Call your lawyer, tell him to sue everybody involved, and talk to every single reporter you can and tell them that these allegations are false and defamatory, or D) Let it slide. I’m going with C. Bonds chose D. Either he is so tired of it that he just doesn’t care – because he’s guilty – or he’s guilty. Not that anyone thought for half a second that Bonds isn’t chock full of Roids, but look at the guy’s comeback! I’m sick of Barry Bonds and his antics. This will probably be the last you hear of Bonds and his roids from me, but I will still make fun of what comes out of the dude’s mouth from time to time.

Canadia over The States

If anyone hasn’t read Mike Bauman’s article yet, they should do it now. It’s great.K3northamerpolit_1 For example, "Much of the rest of American society underestimates Canad[i]a, viewing it as a vast, frequently frozen wilderness… Canad[i]a is a civilized, democratic nation."

I’m surprised the troops haven’t crossed the border yet. If Canadia going over the  States at their own game isn’t enough to start a skirmish, nothing is. What Bauman said is correct – Canadia isn’t a real country anyway, so who cares? Take it over. I’m sick of their disrespect. Does anyone remember the Home Run Derby last year, when Jason*Bay represented Canadia? If I recall correctly, dude went 0 for 10. How does this happen?

Simple. I mean, this is what I think. Canadia has been getting ready for months now. The States have been in Spring Training, while the majority of the Canadian team has been on their own schedule. Midp13807130259_3Actually, that’s probably 10% of the problem. 90% of the problem is Dontrelle Willis and Al Leiter. I’m not sure if this bandwagon has formed yet, but I’ve never liked Willis. It’s not because his knee is on a collision course with his chin every time he releases, although that does bother me. I just don’t like his numbers, for some reason. He’s that guy, and you all know what I mean.

Second, Al Leiter. I haven’t liked this guy for two years. He’s abusing the game. Dude is nearly 41 years old. He’s been playing in the Majors almost as long as I’ve been alive. You’re not Rickey Henderson, so stop stealing teams’ money. Leiter’s ERA in 2004, with the Mets: 3.21. Last year? 6.13. That’s about double. So, if your contract runs out, you’re 40 years old, you got taken apart last year on the mound – wearing two different uniforms, mind you! – it’s time to hang up the cleats. I know it’s a tough choice, but you gotta make it. Your career ERA is at 3.80 right now, and if you play it right you can keep it under 4. Back on topic, my point is this – Willis gave up 3 runs and then Leiter came in and lit the mound on fire. He gave up 2 more of Willis’ runs, and then 2 more of his own. Canadia’s up, 7-0. Thanks for nothing.

Rick Ankiel

Before I start, let me say that Rick and I share the same birthday, so it’s really tough for me to talk bad about him. That being said, Ankiel used to tear it up on the mound. I’ve done a little research, and my reconstruction of his career goes a little something like this:

Struck out 19.7 batters /9IP in his Senior Year of High School. Attended 2uqyo5jo_3UofMiami and was the "Best Pitching Prospect" in 1999, when he made his MLB Debut. In 2000, as a 20-year-old Rookie, he pitched 175 innings, struck out 194, and had an ERA of 3.50. Then the train broke down. He suffered control problems in the postseason and the following year, did his thing somewhere in the minors for a few years, and got a Tommy John on July 16th, 2003 – three days before our birthday. Had a .76 ERA in six rehab starts in August of 2004. Now, here’s where it gets tricky. He makes three relief appearances for (The city with the big Arch – which due to formatting errors I am unable to name) in September of 2004, and everything is sunny. Then he goes to Coors, gives up five runs in 2.0IP, and basically decides to start playing Right Field instead. He said it was because, after 2004, he just couldn’t nail down his pitches. As in, he went 3 for 23 in batting practice during 2005 Spring Training. Thats a strikes out of total attempts ratio. So, instead of starting a Spring Training game, he went into La Russa’s office and told him he’d had enough of pitching. GM Walt Jocketty said, at the time, that he was "disappointed." Well, yeah. Your future Cy Young award winner just stepped off the rubber for good.

So, where does this leave us? Ankiel had 21 HR in 324 Minor League at bats last year, which is nuts. Apparently the dude is making real progress, and the Card’s "would hate to lose him." I find this hilarious, I really do. Guy comes up to the Majors in 2000 and has an insane year. Cards wouldn’t have wont the NL Central that year without him, (La Russa’s words, not mine.) Imagine if he shows up six, seven years later and starts burning through as an Outfielder… wouldn’t that be insane?

Finally… 

I have no idea if Rocket will be back this year, which is pretty wild. He knows, but he’s not telling anyone. Maybe after Son of Rocket took him deep, he Rocket_2decided he was off his game; then again, his last season was as close to inhuman as it gets. If he doesn’t come back, it’s because he want’s to spend more time with the family, not because he’s old and washed up. Or maybe it’s because he wants to go out on top. In any case, if Roger retires and Leiter doesn’t, something is wrong.

Thanks for reading. Make comments so I know you’re all still there. I’ll start covering more in-depth baseball issues throughout the next week, when I’m done with school.