Andrew Hamm: the Bipolar Express

Ruminations on theatre, music, and just about anything else that crosses my bipolar brain.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Rick Ankiel Returns with a Bang!

In a comeback like nothing I've ever even heard of, St. Louis Cardinal Rick Ankiel returned to the majors last night. He last appeared in the majors in 2004 as a pitcher and re-appears as an outfielder.

And damn it if he didn't launch a three-run homer in the seventh inning.

I'm just amazed. It's one thing to lead the Pacific Coast League with 32 homers in AAA Memphis, but making it all the way back to the majors as a position player after working your way up as a hot-prospect pitcher and losing it all to inexplicable control problems is just astonishing. If you don't remember the playoff game in 2000 when Ankiel turned instantly from hot prospect to wild-pitching train-wreck, it's probably for the best; that may be the saddest and most instantaneous disintegration of a career since Joe Theisman's leg was broken.

I think this may be the best comeback story since Kurt Warner in 1999.

Is it possible that Rick Ankiel has what it takes to make a career for himself as a major league outfielder? I think he does. Can he give the sub-mediocre Cardinals the shot in the arm they need to make a run in the NL Central? Hell, it's the NL Central; no one else seems to want to win it. Why not St. Louis?

Mad props to Rick Ankiel, and to Tony LaRussa and the Cardinals organization for having his back for three years of re-development in the minors. This is just a great story, and I hope he keeps slugging.

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