While searching for inspiration after another team-wide meltdown against the most despised of opponents, I came across good ol' Eddie Rogers, a symbol of an era of overhyped, mediocre prospects. Around the turn of the century, I heard his name mentioned in breathless tones as "the next Alex Rodriguez". He was a shortstop from the Dominican Republic...and that's about where the comparison ends. He hit .298 at AAA Ottowa...in 2006, when he was 27. He topped out at 11 HR and 57 RBI. Despite his mediocre minor league record, he did make it to the majors, and played 30 whole games and batted a robust .207. His lasting legacy was an interleague game in Shea Stadium in 2006, when he was positioned in left field and had a batted ball land in his jersey.
As I sit impatiently through loss after loss, checking minor league box scores and scouting reports, I just keep reminding myself that the new batch of young players are prospects and not suspects. It's not just Syd Thrift and Mike Flanagan selling the fans their own brand of snake oil; respected baseball executives, reporters, and bloggers are sold on Matt Wieters, Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, and Brian Matusz. The less-heralded rookies are already here, and doing their best to make things interesting. Lost in last night's Chris Ray gasoline job was a strong start by Brad Bergesen, who retired 13 straight batters after Rodriguez's first-inning home run and left in the seventh inning trailing 2-1. Tonight, Nolan Reimold salvaged something from another bullpen wreck by hitting his first career home run off of that Mariano Rivera guy. The uglier things get, the less I want to wait.