Thursday, January 25, 2007

A little sadness about Bellhorn

It seems that Mark Bellhorn, who helped the Boston Red Sox win the World Series, has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Cincinnati Reds.

That makes me a little sad to read that inThe New York Times transactions listing.

Bell, who only played for the Sox in 2004 and part of 2005, was an exciting part of the bearded and long-haired group of outlaw cowboys who recorded the comeback in postseason history. They also, as you no doubt remember, forced the New York Yankees, the Evil Empire otherwise known as the Filthy Swine, into the biggest choke in sports history.

Look, I know Bell was hardly a superstar. He struck out a lot. I mean a lot, and sometimes at the worst times. But he was a good infielder, especially in light of how the Sox did at second base after his departure. He had 138 hits in 138 games that year, but struck out 177 times.

But he made it exciting. He hit two home runs in the Yankees series and one in the World Series, where he batted .300. You never knew which Bell would step up to the plate, but he always was a dependable, and sometimes spectacular, fielder.

It's just a little sad that he's now in the minors.

It's also a little sad that an august columnist for The New York Times had nothing better to do than say that all Sox fans aren't the brightest bulbs in the lamp.

Murray Chass had made a lame joke a week or so ago that since San Francisco hasn't signed Barry Bonds and the Red Sox haven't signed J.D. Drew, then maybe a trade might be possible. The Sox would get Bonds, move him into left field and move Manny Ramirez into right.

Well, a couple of guys didn't get that it was a joke, got upset and sent e-mails. Look, I've been practicing journalism for night onto 40 years (yes, yes, still practicing and one day I'll get it right) and I know that you can get little of no reaction from an investigation that puts the mayor in jail, but some throwaway line will come back and bite you in the (this column is rated PG so I won't say where it will bite you). But is it worth another column? I guess for Murray, who is hardly a Sox fan, it is.

He led the column with the following: "You would think that when the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, it would have liberated their fans, enabled all of them to smile and laugh."

Well, Murray, perhaps after the 2006 season, the Best Team Money Can Buy would be happy and laughing, but not the Sox. We have tasted Victory and We Want More.

Look, my friend, I know how tough it cab be to come up with a sports column a couple two three times a week. After all, there's nothing going on except the Super Bowl, the NBA all-star game, hockey season, pitchers and catchers in a few weeks, Beckham coming to the U.S. to play soccer...nothing going on.

But a whole column about a flat joke? Surely, you jest.

1 comment:

Mike Olkin said...

Don't be too sad for Mark Bellhorn. He'll be playing in the major leagues this year, probably with the Reds if they are smart. If not, he'll be with another team. If I were a betting man, I would put money on it.

I do agree that Mark Bellhorn doesn't get the credit that he deserves. There is still a bias against batters who strike out a lot, although it's not as bad as it used to be. Once upon a time, there was a big strong outfielder named Rob Deer. Rob Deer liked to hit home runs and not much else. He also didn't feel the need to waste swings on pitches that he didn't like. The result? Here's a typical Rob Deer season: .230 batting average, 30 home runs, 20 doubles, 120 strikeouts, 85 walks, .350 on-base percentage. The on-base percentage alone is better than some leadoff men (which shows how little walks are valued & how greatly batting average is over-valued). Unfortunately not many of the traditional baseball geniuses running the game at the time (1986-1993) could get past the huge strikeout totals that Rob Deer had every year.

Rob Deer was lucky enough to play for Sparky Anderson until almost the end of the 1993 season when he was traded to my beloved Red Sox. Sparky Anderson understood Rob Deer & he just let him do his thing (Sparky Anderson also didn't have much of a choice because his Detroit Tigers in those years were not very good). The Red Sox, to my delight, picked up Rob Deer to play right field for the last month of 1993. Do you remember the Red Sox back then? They were not good. They were pathetic. They had no farm system & they had no right fielder in sight for the 1994 season. What did they do? They let Rob Deer go & brought in Rudy Pemberton, who never struck out nearly as much as Rob Deer, primarily because Rudy Pemberton never made it in the big show.

So, there you go, Mark Bellhorn. May you have a good spring training & may there be no Rudy Pembertons blocking the way for you!