Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Welcome to the Great Abyss of Organized Baseball

A few years back, my father brought my brother and I to a Newark Bears baseball game for the sole purpose of seeing future Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson. What I didn't know that night was that I had uncovered a land mine filled with ex big leaguers who I thought had fallen off the face of the Earth. Can anyone guess the starting pitcher we saw for the opposing Long Island Ducks that night? If you said Bill Pulsipher, you are 100% correct. And yes, it was that Bill Pusipher. You know, the one from Generation K, who was so mishandled by beloved Mets that he suffered arm injuries and his career never got on track. Pulsipher fared no better in the game that I went too, lasting less than an inning and never really looking comfortable on the mound (he did however ask my brother and I for our peanuts, which we happily threw down to him...true story).

Anyway, what struck me about the game was that by the end of the night I found myself almost depressed. These were the flame outs and washed up players who were playing baseball either because they wanted a shot to play or because sadly, they had nothing else to do. Think about it, for a guy like Pulsipher who had so much potential and opportunity, pitching for the Long Island Ducks is not exactly mind blowing. Most of these guys know nothing else besides baseball and winding up playing independent league ball has got to be upsetting.
However, with all of that said, one of my favorite pastimes since my first meeting with Independent league ball has been every year to scour each team's website to discover which players had entered the abyss of organized baseball. And every year, there are a few guys who I thought had simply fallen off the face of the Earth, but had actually wound up in the Atlantic League.
So without further ado, Jorge Says No! proudly presents:

Oh My God! He's still around! Stars of the Atlantic League

Randall Simon, 1B, Newark Bears:
Randall Simon! Ok, seriously, who here remembers anything this guy did besides hitting a sausage mascot over the head with a baseball bat and getting arrested for it? No one. Good.

Edgardo Alfonzo, 3B, Long Island Ducks: This one is especially hard for me as Fonzie will always have a place in my heart for being the stalwart on the 1999 and 2000 Mets. If you wanted a big hit, Fonzie was the guy you wanted up. They always say that baseball is a game that humbles you, and if you had me that Fonzie would be playing for the Ducks ten years from now in 1999, I would have said your nuts. He fell very very far.

Carl Everett, OF, Long Island Ducks: Wow. Wasn't it just 3 years ago that Everett won a World Series ring with the White Sox? Everett had a very successful career, but he will long be remembered by me for exploding at umpires, denying the existence of dinosaurs, and telling Maxim magazine that, "Gays being gay is wrong." Nuff said.

Richardo Hidalgo, OF, Long Island Ducks: Parlayed a big season in 2000 into a 4 year $32 million dollar deal (44 HR, 122 RBI, .391 OBP). Never came close to the success of that one season. He could always hit for power, but declining average and OBP proved to be his downfall.

Nook Logan, OF, Long Island Ducks: Nook was bad last season (.265 BA, 0 HR, .304 OBP), but he should have received a big league offer. Anywhere. Looks as though his name being mentioned in the Mitchell Report has blacklisted him from baseball. Oh, and by the way, his name is Nook. How cool is that?

Bobby Hill, 2B, Newark Bears: Involved in the Aramis Ramirez to the Cubs trade in 2003. Out of MLB two years later. Nice job, Mr. Littlefield.

Jose Lima, P, Camden Riversharks: LIMA TIME!!!!! Gives me a reason to post this. Classic.

Matt LeCroy, C-1B, Lancaster Barnstormers: Anyone who is a Twins fan will remember this notoriously slow, but very lovable catcher. But again, does anyone really remember anything about him other than making manager Frank Robinson cry? Seven steals and two errors? Yikes. I would have yanked you in the middle of an inning as well.

Rich Garces, RP, Nashua Pride: Ex Red Sox great. EL GUAPO!!! He famously planted tomatoes in the back of the Red Sox bullpen and is even more famous for being fat. Really fat. He must've been like 275+. No joke.
Shea Hillenbrand, 1B/3B, York Revolution: Another ex Red Sox great and clubhouse cancer. Famously wrote on Blue Jays board "this is a sinking ship" and ripping off his Canada patch off his hat. Classy move. Also mouthed off about being traded away from the Sox. "They don't know what they have with me. If they get rid of me, they'll know what they have. You've heard of Jeff Bagwell?"

Red Sox 1 Hillenbrand 0

Other Notables: Former closer Dave Veras, Former Met great Alay Soler, Former Met Juan Padilla, Former Reds 3B prospect Brandon Larson, OF Curtis Pride

So as you can see, if Rickey can do it, then so can they.

In the words of Eagles:
"You can checkout any time you like,
But you can never leave!"

1 comment:

Evan said...

EL GUAPO!!!!!!!!