Mike Bates comes to both (gently) bury Rick Ankiel and to praise him. Mostly praise, though. For while he has struggled mightily so far for the Astros and may very well be getting his last chance as a major leaguer, Bates reminds us that his story is ultimately one of triumph:
Ankiel had never really worked on his hitting against professional players. He was raw and had atrocious (and poetically appropriate) strike zone judgment, but he had tremendous power and was a decent fielder with, of course, an amazing arm from right or center field. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but that is so much more of a career than the vast majority of players who have ever played the game. Rick Ankiel not only endured, but he persevered. Regardless of what might have been, he deserves accolades and celebration for what he is.
Good read about a guy that I think almost all of us thought we’d never see again after he stopped pitching. And who, because he has spent seven years on seemingly borrowed time, in many ways beat a system that is supposed to chew up guys who get derailed the way the young Ankiel did. Even if he never gets another hit in a big league uniform again, Rick Ankiel won.