There are few players I find more loathsome than Sidney Ponson. He’s really the worst of all worlds as a pitcher and a human being. If you’re going to be a drunk, at least be an amiable one. If you’re going to be a jackass, don’t be a drunk. No matter what you do, at least try to care about your job and your appearance and stuff. Ponson has failed on each of these metrics throughout his career, and it drives me nuts. I mean sure, not everyone can be an all-star, but at least everyone can have a little pride, ya know?
Which makes me happy to see Ponson getting the honor he deserves: the anti-Cy Young Award for the 2000s, as bestowed by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick:
The people closest to Ponson have always characterized him as more of a wayward rogue than a bad person at heart. Because of his immense talent, he grew accustomed to finding a new opportunity around every corner.
“If teams keep calling my agent, then I have a chance,” Ponson said during the spring of 2007. “The day the phone calls stop, then I don’t have a chance anymore.”
Just a hunch, Sidney, but the phone has probably stopped ringing. In lieu of a Cy Young Award, you’ll have to settle for this.
I’m not buying the rogue business. Rogues tend to be annoying when around but they are usually spoken of warmly once they’re gone and no longer bothering people on a day-to-day basis. Rogues can be appreciated from a distance. Ponson has been hated everywhere he’s been, and I’ve never heard of anyone from his former teams telling roguish, Bill Brasky-style tales of his exploits. They’re just happy he’s gone.
Despite dealing with back trouble for five years, Adrian Gonzalez of the Dodgers recently made his first ever trip to the disabled list. Then he made another trip there. All of it has him contemplating his future. As he tells Bill Plunkett of the OC Register, his baseball future may be a short one if his health doesn’t improve:
“I want to get back this year to help the team and for me to be healthy,” Gonzalez said. “But I’m thinking more long-term about being able to play more years.
“Because if I have to deal with this next year again? That’ll probably be it. My contract will be over, that’ll probably be it. I won’t play any more. If I can heal it and my body feels good? Now I can go out there and do the things I can do. Then I’ll keep playing.”
Backs are one of those things that don’t get better as you get older. At least not without a lot of work and effort and good luck. Gonzalez is 35 now, so he’ll need all of that to keep playing beyond his current deal.
Kyle Schwarber broke into the bigs in 2015 with a big bat. After missing almost all of the last season with an injury, he reemerged as a postseason hero, posting a .971 OPS in the World Series. As 2017 began he was supposed to be one of the key parts of a potent Cubs offense.
Then the baseball games actually started and he has hit a mere .171/.295/.378. Indeed, he has the lowest batting average among qualified MLB hitters in 2017. Given that he has very little if any defensive value, he has been a significant drag on the Cubs, who are just a single game over .500.
The Cubs are also putting Jason Heyward on the disabled list, so the outfield is a bit of a mess these days. Lucky for them, they’re only trailing the Brewers by a game and a half.