Monday, January 25, 2010

Like the Rick Ankiel deal after years of too-cool-for-school players; Our own Mike Kutner in centerfield even if the numbers don't add up

Now playing centerfield. Mike Kutner...

Just a quick moment to weigh in on Rick Ankiel.

You can crunch the numbers any way you want and decide, justifiably, Rick Ankiel is not a good addition for the Royals. Middling numbers at the plate and a Mike Jacobs hole in the swing. Overloaded outfield (I'd strongly argue against this idea). Too much money.

I like this deal for the intangibles. First, selfishly, I want to watch this kid play. Second, I want the Royals to watch this kid play. Third, I want everybody to watch this kid play.

Fact is, Royal's young players have had horrible examples to watch on the field. They never seem to have been taught to play hurt or play hard. The message they've absorbed through the organization and their agents seems to be to play cool. Never show emotion. Never hustle too hard. It's just another day at the office; make sure you don't get hurt in a losing effort and spoil your chances once free agency comes.

Only problem with this theory is that nobody will notice when free agency comes for some of these kids. If their agents are the authors of their attitudes, their agents may not see the paydays they're angling for.

So, I disagree strongly with Mr. Posnanski's assessment of Rick Ankiel yesterday, just as I disagree with his assessment of Brett Farve today. On a side note, are no editors available to give these guys decent advice on their blogs? To me, their blogs are still part of the newspaper; they demand, deserve and need editing. Mr. Posnanski goes on for one whole Webpage take just being cute before he finally, finally, gets around to introducing the beginning of his argument against Ankiel. This shtick is getting old fast.

I like the Ankiel pickup because the kid demonstrates for all what it means to have the gumption (old fashioned but wonderful word) to fight his way back to the major leagues as a hitter after famously imploding as a pitcher. Getting to the major leagues once takes every kind of guts. Getting to the major leagues twice? ...

But, more important than just getting to the major leagues, he plays the game hard -- full throttle -- every day. After watching Jose Gullien yawn through a couple of seasons, this will be a refreshing change for fans and teammates. Sometimes sports show you what it is to be a man. (See Brett Farve last night...) From what I've seen (just a fan's angle of view, admittedly) Ankiel does this in spades.

In fact, Rick Ankiel reminds me most of Mike Kutner. Mike Kutner is the fictional centerfielder from Man on Spikes by Eliot Asinof, who, literally and metaphorically, ran into a brick wall to chase down a fly ball in the opening pages of this fine novel. Our own Mike Kutner in centerfield? A pretty good deal, if you ask me.


The image is from the Kansas City Star Webpage, however, the Star did not include a photo credit to pass along.

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