Before it even dawned on me that the decade was coming to a close, every website and blog started peppering me with "Best/Worst of the 2000s" retrospectives. No less an authority than ESPN gave an infamous Oriole a very great honor in their own look back at the past ten years.
ESPN.com writer Jerry Crasnick tabbed the one, the only, the soused, Sir Sidney Ponson as the Least Valuable Pitcher of the Decade. That's one hell of an honor, when you consider the 6.00 ERA posted in the 'aughts by Jose Lima. Crasnick also gives mention to the money for nothing crowd headlined by Mike Hampton, and of course fellow Birdland favorite Daniel Cabrera. I think D-Cab was disqualified because he is not technically a pitcher.
But it was the cavalcade of extracurricular disasters that pushed the husky Aruban over the top. We've been over this before, but no baseball player that I am aware of ever punched a judge. No, not even Billy Martin. The 10.3 hits per nine innings that he allowed over the course of the decade (including a staggering 265 in 215.2 innings in 2004) are just the icing on the crap cake. When you put it like that, it's hard to believe that the Orioles (twice), Giants, Cardinals, Yankees (twice), Twins, Rangers, and Royals all washed their hands of him, isn't it?
So congratulations, Sir Sidney. Give us the mailing address of the cardboard box where you're currently living, and we'll be sure to mail you your can of SPAM.