August 10, 2007

He's back.: Some are calling him "The Natural." Some are calling him the next Ruth. While the doubters were eating crow, all eyes were on Rick Ankiel's glorious return last night, and he did not disappoint.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw to baseball at 10:34 AM - 19 comments

Now there's a homer you can feel good about.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 10:35 AM on August 10

Here's another good take that I meant to include in the FPP. A guy who has been running a baseball simulation game is into the year 2016 and Ankiel has 300 wins. He's an amazing kid, and easy to root for.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 10:48 AM on August 10

Nice. That is some sticktuitiveness right there. His is a great, great story.

posted by vito90 at 11:42 AM on August 10

LaRussa almost started crying last night in the press conference after the game because he had that much admiration for Ankiel's drive and determination. He (LaRussa) also was just going nuts in the dugout when Ankiel hit his home run. An rare show of emotion from a guy who is normally pretty reserved and who has been having a bummer of a year on and off the field. I would love to see Ankiel stick. Kid has great power, although he strikes out a bunch and doesn't walk all that often. He was also just extraordinarily classy in interviews after the game yesterday.

posted by holden at 12:42 PM on August 10

Love the word sticktuitiveness. It definitely fits here. I had no idea Ankiel was doing this. If he fails as an outfielder he'll come back as a knuckleballer.

posted by rcade at 12:43 PM on August 10

he strikes out a bunch and doesn't walk all that often The irony of course being that if you could describe his pitching that way he'd still be doing that. I loved the way he laughed at his own understatement in the post-game interview (from the ESPN link).

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 12:59 PM on August 10

I got to see Rick play one game at AA Springfield, MO in 2005 I believe on his way up to AAA Memphis. He made a couple of nice plays in the OF, but didn't get any hits although he hit the ball hard, just right at someone. I remember talking to my son about his story on the way home from the game and how it would be great to see him succeed in a game he so obviously loves to play. Go Rick, best of luck to you!

posted by cordlesskent at 02:10 PM on August 10

Guess it's time for me to put the Ankiel auto'd Cards jersey I bought for $40 last year up on eBay, huh? Great story and good on him -- I hope he gets a shot to show what he can do for the remainder of the season, but St. Louis ain't goin' anywhere anyhow. *sniff*

posted by wfrazerjr at 02:34 PM on August 10

Sports Illustrated has been doing an Ankiel Watch for the last year or two. It's been fun to watch. It takes a hell of an athlete to do what he's done. Good for him.

posted by louisville_slugger at 03:04 PM on August 10

Hey, it's also something positive for the Cards fans. I don't happen to be one, hailing from Cincinnati, but that's a proud franchise with loyal fans who have been through a lot of shit this season. To sit through this dismal year footnoted by tragedy, it's nice that Cards fans have a reason to cheer. Also, a welcome positive story when most recent high profile sports stories have been tending to be, oh, less than that. Nice job, Rick.

posted by tahoemoj at 03:46 PM on August 10

As a Cardinal fan I couldn't be more happy for him. And it's nice to see a pro team not cut-and-run, giving him a chance. And maybe, just maybe, this could be the thing that pushes the Cards to the top of their division. Go Cards!

posted by robi8259 at 04:19 PM on August 10

Hey, it's also something positive for the Cards fans. I don't happen to be one, hailing from Cincinnati Well, you've got your own "comeback" story to cheer on.

posted by grum@work at 04:25 PM on August 10

And now he's hit two more HR in today's game.

posted by grum@work at 05:31 PM on August 11

2? I saw the first, but wow. It's enough to make you believe in fairness and justice.

posted by yerfatma at 06:36 PM on August 11

A good story and quite a contrast from last week. Sometimes good things happen to people who are willing to hang in there.

posted by longgreenline at 03:17 AM on August 12

753+ to go. Get crackin', kid.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 09:35 AM on August 12

echoing what robi8259 said, it would be wonderful if this could give the Cards a little jumpstart. they're not out of the race yet, 6.5 games isn't impossible to make up. And hey, now if only he could still pitch, considering our nonexistent rotation. Although Wells and Piniero both pitched well this past week, it's still not much to drool over. But for now, we'll take his offense.

posted by boredom_08 at 12:39 PM on August 12

Who was the pitcher from the 1930's who hurt his arm and came back as a good hitting outfielder? Lefty Gomez? Can't remember and am too lazy to research it, but surely one of you posters know the answer!

posted by whitedog65 at 09:45 AM on August 13

I'm not registering anyone in the '30s off the top of my head, but Smokey Joe Wood did it. He pitched on the Red Sox with Ruth and, due to a broken thumb, switched to the outfield with the Cleveland Indians. His switch preceded Ruth's, but I think it's unlikely that Ruth was inspired by him for two reasons: one, Wood became a pretty pedestrian part-time outfielder and two, Wood was part of a Red Sox clique headed by Tris Speaker who really abused Ruth in his early years on the Red Sox.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 10:13 AM on August 13

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