Saying Good bye Is So Hard To Do

Postby DOUGHBOYS » Sun Dec 24, 2017 9:23 am

For some reason, we love round numbers. Fans will actually buy a ticket to a baseball game, when otherwise they wouldn't, to see Albert Pujols hit his 600th home run or to see Derek Jeter get his 3,000th hit.
Broadcasters and the media fan the fire by mentioning it every time a hitter comes to the plate.
When the moment happens, there is a huge celebration, and a day later, it is gone from most of our minds.
Other then being a member of a 600 home run club or the 3,000 hit club, the event means little.
Pujols and Jeter were wonderful players and have their tickets punched to the Hall of Fame any which way.

This year, Pujols will go after his 3,000th hit.
When playing out the string as modern players usually do, other statistics fail.
At one point in Pujols career, he was in the top 20 ball players of all time in batting average.
No small feat.
Only one player who has played during the 21st century, is in the top 25 of batting average lifetime.
That player was Tony Gwynn.

Pujols and Ichiro are different hitters, but have followed career patterns.
Pujols played his best years for St. Louis.
He was the toast of the town and took baseball by storm.
Ichiro was the same for Seattle.
Pujols played many years for St. Louis and only hit below .300 once for the Cardinals, his last year.
Ichiro played many years for the Mariners and only hit below .300 once for the Mariners, his last year.
Both, never hitting .300 again.

Modern players who 'hang on'are driven by money and the baseball lifestyle.
Ichiro wants to play till he is 50.
He probably can.
He has kept himself in great shape and can hit as well as, say, Adam Engel of the White Sox, who received 301 at bats hitting .166
Likewise, Pujols will hang on for 3,000 hits and beyond.
And, the Angels are willing to let him hang on because no club likes to admit that they gave out a bad contract, even though Pujols earns nowhere near the money paid to him.

In the past, players were driven by money to be sure, but after that, loyalty to their team was paramount.
The Yankees wanted Mickey Mantle to play longer. Even though he was hobbling and a shell of himself.
It cost Mantle a lifetime .300 batting average.
Mantle lists that as one of his top regrets.
Again with the round numbers. :)
The Dodgers had a trade in place at the end of Jackie Robinson's career.
Robinson retired rather than be traded.
Today's player will play for any team willing to pay him enough.
Willie Mays would have played for nothing at the end of his career.
Unfortunately, Mays had nothing left in his tank and paying him nothing may have been an over payment.

By today's standards, Pujols has something left in his tank.
He can hit 20 homers, as almost everybody in this day and age.
He has a hard time getting around the bases and makes my own feet hurt when he runs.
He only scored 30 runs last year, when not scoring on his own homers.
Ichiro started his career as Ichiro and will end it as Adam Engel.
He'd be much better suited as a coach, but wants to play.

Baseball fails in this regard to other sports.
Golf has a Senior Tour.
A place for old fogies to continue playing.
Olympic events have qualifying events.
Old fogies would know they couldn't compete with the younger bodies.
Baseball has no such messages.
The Angels will continue letting Pujols 'earn' his contract.
Some team may sign Ichiro in hopes of putting fannies in their seats.
For us fans, we're torn.
We like seeing the older players because they bring back memories of when they were good.
At the same time, it is like seeing our Dad's not do the things he once took for granted.
A baseball life can be painful at the end for both the player and followers.
On my tombstone-
Wait! I never had the perfect draft!
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