Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Dave's experience annointing K-rod was similar--2003

From The Sporting News, June 9, 2003 by Dave Sheinin

"We fell hard for Francisco Rodriguez last October, We exalted him and exulted in the "legendary feats" of the Angels' "rising star." We labeled him a "brilliant" righthander and a "babyfaced slayer of a reliever." We marveled at his "preternatural mastery of his art" and his "breathtaking display of power and precision." We compared him to Mariano Rivera and all but handed him the American League Rookie of the Year award for this season.

And those were just from my stories.

(If you think that's bad, you should've seen the way I gushed about the Rally Monkey. I think I annointed him "the Next King Kong.")

So what has happened to our Frankie, our K-Rod, the one who, at age 20, became the youngest pitcher ever to win a postseason game; the one who struck out 28 batters, a record for relievers, in 18 2/3 postseason innings?

As he enters the third month of his official rookie season, he has an ERA hovering around 5.00, and he was passed over for the closer's job when Troy Percival was injured. It is worth asking: Did we (which is to say, I) go too far?

October truly was amazing. And by the miracle of network television, the image of Rodriguez mowing down Yankees, Twins and Giants hitters was beamed into some 58 million homes during the Angels' World Series title run, making him, for one glorious month, the darling of the baseball world.

  • Dave acknowledged K-rod's initial success was in part that he hadn't been seen by major league hitters before. In praising Papelbon, he probably should remember this.

Unfortunately for K-Rod, some 400 of those households belonged to major league hitters. Instead of thinking of how to out-adjective each other when describing him, those hitters were contemplating how to beat him.

  • But, Dave remained hopeful for K-rod...
So we will wait with our adjectives and metaphors for K-Rod to come around again, for the slider to get its tight spin back, for his fragmented arm slots to melt into one, for the ugly swings and the sideways glances from vanquished hitters to return.

Come on, Frankie. Don't make us (me) look bad."

  • Dave sounds very human. I don't know his own situation, but the average person will have a great shot at getting assignments from ESPN, MLB, or FOX if they hype a new closer. They'll have no shot at all if they tell the truth about Mariano Rivera. Check out the management & culture of ESPN--you'll see why.

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