Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Jay Gibbons, 2005 Topps Total #364

You get two entries today, to make up for the one I missed yesterday. I got home late Tuesday evening to find that my cable was out. No cable = no Internet. Let's hope that it doesn't happen again any time soon.

It's not every day that you hear of a former major leaguer, particularly one with a 28-homer season under his belt, writing a letter to all of the teams basically begging for a chance to play. But that's precisely what happened yesterday, when ESPN published just such a letter from Jay Gibbons, sent to the other 29 teams in MLB last month. As you may have surmised, he didn't get very far; news broke today that he'll be signing with a team in either New York or New Jersey in the independent Atlantic League.

It can be difficult to feel much sympathy for Jay, particularly when the Orioles are still paying him $11.9 million through 2009. But even though he played sparsely (and poorly) over the past two years, and his inclusion in the Mitchell Report embarrassed O's fans, I can understand where he's coming from. The guy is only 31, and could conceivably have some good baseball left to play. You certainly can't say that his past use of performance enhancers is keeping teams away; Milwaukee signed Eric Gagne for $10 million in December after he was exposed as a user and had stunk out loud throughout the summer and fall. Considering some of the has-beens and never-weres that are yoyoing around AA and AAA at the moment, what exactly is keeping some team - any team - from taking a chance on Gibbons?

I haven't been the biggest Jay Gibbons fan over the past year, but he used to be one of my favorites. I'll be rooting for him to find his way back to the big time, because everyone deserves a second chance. In the meantime, I'll wait to see which Atlantic League team he joins. Maybe I'll make it to a game in Waldorf or York and watch him play one more time.

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