Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Does This REALLY Surprise Anyone?

This is and has been a troubled man. Deep down we all knew, despite our hopes, this was the only logical ending to a nightmarish 4 1/2 years. We were all hoping for better, and I can't say I am not severely disappointed. It is not often that I hold the following belief, but the Cardinals royally screwed this kid up. In starting him so young in the big leagues and in the playoffs. In trying not to make a big deal about his wildness problems, and ending up actually making a big deal about it by the way they treated him with kid gloves. It got in his head. The next to last straw had to be the total lack of confidence shown to Rick last fall. The Cardinals are never (probably) going to be as far in front of their division as they were last September. And yet, the Cardinals could not even bear to use him more than just a small bit at a time with a 15 game lead. We who were thinking about Ankiel being a fill in starter or a bullpen fireman this year were just kidding ourselves.

The real back breaker came last week, when the Cardinals had to go and yank him from a throwing session, in other words, practice. Being yanked from practice has got to damage the strongest psyche, not to mention a man who has gone through what Ankiel has. The Cardinals never gave him a chance, to sink or swim, to succeed or fail. They just wouldn't give him any leash. Thinking back, I think it would have been better had Ankiel been thrown out there to the sharks and wolves. Because, in the end, if he hadn't succeeded, at least he would have known he gave it his best shot. I don't think the Cardinals allowed Ankiel to give it his best shot. And I believe Ankiel just got sick of it.

Now I can only pray for his success as an outfielder. This hurts. But in a way, maybe this is Rick's way of getting his independence. Because he is out of options. Meaning, if the Cardinals wanted to send him to the minors again, he would have to be exposed to waivers. And another team could take a chance on him. Which would be good. I think it is best for Ankiel and the Cardinals that they part company very soon.

Blessings, Rick. Try not to think of what might have been. And thanks a lot, Cards. This was a big muff up.

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