The sports schedule needs to figure out how to eliminate the couple of weeks between the Super Bowl and the spring training games starting because that void leads to boredom and that boredom leads to stuff like this from Harold Reynolds — laundered to arguable respectability by Ken Rosenthal — to bubble up to the surface:
Albert Pujols for Mark Teixeira.
And, if that doesn’t work, Pujols for Ryan Howard.
Think it’s nuts? Think again.
Rosenthal argues for it by suggesting that the Yankees need to “make a splash” and that the Cardinals would love to unload the Pujols contract headache. Pujols has a no-trade clause, but he’d agree to it, Rosenthal says. He may be right about that part. Teixeira has one too, and Rosenthal says he’d agree to it. That would make no sense. Why would Teixeira want to leave the Yankees and willingly try to fill the shoes of a Cardinals legend? A legend, by the way, who is way better and way more beloved than Teixeira will ever be by Cardinals fans. Rosenthal says the Cards could play him more to agree, but isn’t money the roadblock to keeping Pujols?
Rosenthal goes on to talk about a Howard-Pujols trade, which if I remember correctly got Buster Olney nearly laughed off the Internet last spring. Or a trade to the Tigers for Miguel Cabrera because, you know, Pujols would just love to play in Detroit. He ends it all with a trade for Adrian Gonzalez, sending Pujols to Boston. That would probably make more sense than any of the other ones but that’s damning with faint praise given that all of these are psychotic scenarios.
Which isn’t to slam Rosenthal. He all but admits that they’re psychotic scenarios at the outset of his article. I think he, like a lot of us, is just bored.
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.
A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:
No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!
Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:
It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:
I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.
And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.