Happy Rickey Day

The setup is to see Rickey sized up by the choir invisible hand have really worried. Walks off the teams, get the best hitter, Rickey stole second straight Outta Town.

~ From a randomly generated Catfish Stew article

The paragraph above, I think, sums Rickey Henderson up quite well.  Like the splotches in an impressionist painting or the words in a Rickey Henderson speech, it makes no sense if you look it at too closely.  But let it flow over you, and you can comprehend it–the divine talent, the opposition’s fear, the walks, the hitting, the stolen bases–Rickey Henderson was a Hall of Fame baseball player like no other.

And today, it becomes official. Here’s my best old Rickey story: watching an aging Rickey as a San Diego Surf Dawg.  I wish I had some great new story to tell about him, but all I can think of are snapshots.  Going to a game with an out-of-town friend and betting him that Rickey would take the count to 3-2 in the first at-bat, and winning the bet.  The way he’d freeze and stare straight down at the ground and mutter if he disagreed with an umpire’s strike call.  Watching him lead off both ends of a doubleheader with home runs.  The fingers dangling as he eyed a pitcher, waiting to steal second.  The headfirst slide, through the bag, not to the bag, as if he were trying to steal second straight Outta Town.

Jason Giambi Returns To Oakland

Ken Rosenthal says the deal is done, pending a physical.  Buster Olney says it’s for $4 million in 2009, with an option for $6.5M in 2010, or a $1.25M buyout. 

It sounds like a bargain for a free agent who hit over 30 home runs last year.   Keith Law agrees.  It gives the A’s positional flexibility:  if Daric Barton struggles as he did last year, Giambi could play first base, with Jack Cust DHing.  If Barton hits, but Cust or Travis Buck struggles, Giambi could DH while Barton covers 1B, and either Cust or Buck roams the outfield.

It’s almost a perfect fit…except…it’s kinda like taking back the old girlfriend who dumped you for the richer, handsomer guy so many years ago.  You loved her so much while you had her, then you hated hated hated her after she betrayed you.  And now, taking her back?  There may be some benefits, but I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t be healthier for the soul if everybody had just moved on, for good.

That is, if baseball teams have souls.  Maybe they don’t.  In which case the analogy is flawed.  And so is our fandom.