Thursday, September 10, 2009
Chris Richard, 2001 Upper Deck Gold Glove #20
If there were any lingering hopes that 2009 would be another enchanted season for the Tampa Bay Rays, they were likely extinguished on Tuesday night, when 35-year-old Chris Richard started at first base for the injured Carlos Pena. Yes, that's the same guy who the O's acquired for Mike Timlin in 2000 and tabbed as their budding star first baseman, ignoring the fact that he'd repeated AA twice because, ooh shiny, he hit a home run every 15.3 at-bats in one 200-at-bat sample size in the majors. He's also the same guy who disappeared from the majors after 2003 and who has spent the last three seasons with the Durham Bulls, becoming the famed minor league team's career home run leader in the process (64 HR total). I don't wish him any ill will, even though he had a reputation as an arrogant guy during his time in Baltimore. I'd like to think that a six-year exile from the big leagues would humble a guy. Of course, his return has been humbling on its own: he's 1-for-5 in three games with a crucial error that sparked the Yankees' game-winning rally last night. Baseball's not easy, as it so happens.