The Futility Infielder

A Baseball Journal by Jay Jaffe I'm a baseball fan living in New York City. In between long tirades about the New York Yankees and the national pastime in general, I'm a graphic designer.

Friday, June 22, 2001


The Hint of Greatness

Ray Ratto's columns for ESPN have made him one of my favorite writers. His satire tends to be wittier and less ham-fisted than many of the other ESPN writers (Jim Caple, I'm looking in your direction). This piece on Jose Canseco isn't satire, though.

Canseco's ups and downs since his salad days with the Oakland A's have made him an easy target every time he goes on the DL or switches teams. Road rage, 'roids, and that awful haircut are usually the first places to start. But rather than roasting Canseco, Ratto cuts to the heart of his appeal: "[S]ome folks are just naturally gifted enough to convince others that their gifts can still be mined... All he needs is to get untracked, to find the swing that launched a lot of pitchers' next careers. At least that's the theory the White Sox are clinging to..."

There is something incredibly magnetic about Canseco, like Darryl Strawberry before he reached the Last Straw phase. Both were humbled by health difficulties and the consequences of their arrogance. Both went down to the minor leagues to prove that they still had the ability, on a good day, to hit a baseball further than most of us can even dream about. Both have the charisma to make you believe in them again, even when the rational part of your brain tells you otherwise.

It remains to be seen whether Canseco can do for his new team, the Chicago White Sox, what Darryl did while wearing pinstripes (emphasis on wearing, please). For what it's worth, Canseco did manage to get a hell of a lot more out of his talent than the Straw--his failure to get into the Hall of Fame would set a new benchmark for the most homers without enshrinement (he surpassed Dave Kingman's 442 last season, and is holding at 446). And his life is nowhere near as tragic as Darryl's, a lesson I'm sure is not lost on the man after his tour of duty with the Yankees.

So, cheers to Jose Canseco if he can hit a few more big flies without getting a swollen head. And cheers to Ratto for taking a thoughtful high road when the low one would have been so easy.

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


June 2001   July 2001   August 2001   September 2001   October 2001   November 2001   December 2001   January 2002   February 2002   March 2002   April 2002   May 2002   June 2002   July 2002   August 2002   September 2002   October 2002   November 2002   December 2002   January 2003   February 2003   March 2003   April 2003   May 2003   June 2003   July 2003   August 2003   September 2003   October 2003   November 2003   December 2003   January 2004   February 2004   March 2004   April 2004   May 2004   June 2004   July 2004   August 2004   September 2004   October 2004   November 2004   December 2004   January 2005   February 2005   March 2005   April 2005   May 2005   June 2005   July 2005   August 2005   September 2005   October 2005   November 2005   December 2005   January 2006   February 2006   March 2006   April 2006   May 2006   June 2006   July 2006   August 2006   September 2006   October 2006   November 2006   December 2006   January 2007   February 2007   March 2007   April 2007   May 2007   June 2007   July 2007   August 2007   September 2007   October 2007   November 2007   December 2007   January 2008   February 2008   March 2008   April 2008   May 2008   June 2008   July 2008   August 2008   September 2008   October 2008   November 2008   December 2008   January 2009   February 2009   March 2009   April 2009   May 2009   June 2009   July 2009   August 2009   September 2009   October 2009   November 2009   December 2009   January 2010   February 2010   March 2010   April 2010   May 2010  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]