A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Andre Ethier

Andre the Giant, he's not. He's about a foot too short, and he's not French. On top of that, he just doesn't have the hair. He doesn't have the strength to last a full season either. He's also not the kind of guy that can scare the beejesus out of an in his prime Hulk Hogan. However, he's still one of the greats of the game of baseball - still coming into his stride and deciding what kind of player he wants to be.
For example, last year, Andre Ethier lost his .300 average on July 28th. He battled to bring it back, but by August 26th it was gone. For an average that was as high as .394 after 30 games, he lost it all only to go 7/10 in a meaningless final weekend against Arizona on the final weekend to take it back to .292.
Tonight, Ethier attempts to be the 54th player in baseball history to get to a 30-game hit streak. Seeing as he sat out against Carlos Zambrano on Wednesday night, one has to wonder if it's still a record if we pick and choose who we face in getting our hits. Alas, unlike Terrance Mann, we have to go with the idea that a record is a record. Joe Dimaggio didn't get to pick and choose his 56 games. Hell, he didn't even choose to sit out after the streak was over. He went right back to hitting in 19 straight games, but alas... players today are wusses.
Eric Chavez is a perfect example. As a player that isn't shy about expressing how he sits out against tough pitchers like Randy Johnson, he stands as a player that is over-rated, over-paid, and over-exposed - especially now that he is in New York - though currently injured like Derek Jeter who isn't really injured, but he isn't playing and he is replaced in the lineup, Chavez's opposite in every way. Despite this, in 2006-7, he made $9.5mill each season. This increased to $11.5mill per and went to $12.5mill in 2010. What did the A's get? He went to the field 137 times and earned a Gold Glove in 2006. Nevermind that Gold Gloves are a way of giving love to a popular player from years past as opposed to rewarding CURRENT defensive awesomeness, but yeah... After that, he played 90 games, 23, 8, 33, and 17 games. He went from a .240 batting average in 2006 to a .241 the next year, but seeing as it was over limited games, it's not rerpesentative of anything - simply a bad investment on an over-hyped player.
Now, while it would be wrong to wish him into a speedy retirement, the reality is that other than a feel good story in limited at bats in the Bronx, it's hard to wonder what the Yankees were getting, but that makes us thing about Mark Prior, Freddy Garcia, Kerry Wood, (pre St. Louis) Lance Berkman, Bartolo Colon, Chan Ho Park, and Austin Kearns (who all played for the Yankees in the past calendar year).
In this, it's hard to think what they thought they were getting. Granted, when they signed Jose Canseco in 2000, it was to keep him away from Boston - smart business sense. But these guys were all considered washed up. It's not like they went into a city that would just show them love unconditionally (St. Louis does this) for what they could be and bring them back to life.
Los Angeles still has hope for its stars. How long did Mannywood last after Manny Ramirez showed his true colors? The fans still believe in Matt Kemp as they turn a blind eye to his strikeouts and look only at his times connecting with the ball. And tonight, they'll have hope for Andre Ethier, but for us... we just wonder who this guy is.
But don't think anything of it... it's probably East Coast bias.

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