Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Why He's Wanted Now
In many respects, he was The Last Man Standing. Ronnie Belliard was the Starting Second Baseman for The 2006 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals. And, NOBODY WANTED HIM. A decent, if unspectacular player growing up in The Majors as a Milwaukee Brewer--Belliard became an All Star in 2004 with The Cleveland Indians. A dependable fielder, clutch hitter--and well liked by all his teammates.
When The Indians decided to reload for the future--Ronnie became expendable. Cleveland was going with many of their talented youngsters--The Cardinals were looking to win The Championship. Having never played in any Playoff or World Series Game in his entire career---Ronnie Belliard got his greatest wish. He was traded to St. Louis. And, he WON IT ALL, wearing that GORGEOUS RED, WHITE & GOLD of The Cardinals.
Ronnie Belliard had reached The Promised Land.
At a time he was, most likely living--The Happiest Baseball Moments of his Life--he was not resigned by St. Louis. Told to go shopping. Find a job on your own. November passed, then December--followed by January. Three Full Months--No One Called. Not One Single Major League Team wanted Ronnie Belliard.
With Spring Training already underway, Our Washington Nationals finally came calling. No Team in Baseball had an All-Comers Meet, like Our Team, this past February & March. Our General Manager Jim Bowden played Ronnie's Savior--and on February 18--signed Belliard to a one year, $850,000 contract. No strings attached. If Ronnie was going to continue earning a living playing Major League Baseball--he would have to resurrect his career in Washington.
That VERY FIRST DAY of Training Camp for him--in Viera, Florida--I just so happened to run into Ronnie--moments before he took the field. Kind enough to speak to me--you could tell he was a little disgruntled with the business aspects of the game. But, once he crossed that threshold--walkway to playing field--his personality turned to that of fun loving child. Greeted by many of his new teammates, Ronnie Belliard was back in his comfort zone--again playing baseball. Once more, playing the game he loves.
He didn't stop there. From the very first game of 2007--Belliard has been extremely dependable. Whether playing any of the four infield positions--Ronnie has stepped onto the field and contributed. Our Number 10 making many wonder--exactly what did SO MANY OTHER TEAMS NOT SEE IN HIS TALENTS? He can hit, field, run--and PIVOT at Second Base on a Double Play, as well as, any player in the game. Yeah, he's not the best looking athlete. But, He's a BALLPLAYER!!
A Ballplayer competing on a team filled with talent given a Second (Sometimes Third) Chance. That fact, the nature of Our 2007 Washington Nationals. While Dimitri Young became Our Most Valuable Player, Ronnie Belliard became Our Most Versatile. A spot starter, top bench player--and when Cristian Guzman went down for the season with a freak hand injury--Our Number 10 picked up his game. Belliard having been thrown a lifeline to sustain his career--Ronnie is now helping to resuscitate a young, ever evolving Franchise. Today, he was warmly welcomed into the fold. And, I couldn't be happier. Our Number 10, one of many points on July 15th, I wished Our Washington Nationals to address throughout the remainder of the 2007 season.
Our Washington Nationals re-signed Ronnie Belliard to a two year contract extension Monday Afternoon. 2 Years--$3.5 Million the reported sum. In today's world of ever escalating Baseball Salaries--Our Washington Nationals might well have made a steal. Yeah, "The BallPlayer" as I have so fondly come to call him--may well be More Valuable than ever now. He can still play his game, be a positive influence on Our Young Players, and help Our Washington Nationals become, not only a competitive team--but a Winning Team. Veteran Leadership on Younger Emerging Squads--Invaluable.
And, make no mistake about it. Ronnie Belliard will be JUST AS VALUABLE as a Trading Commodity--for the remainder of this year, next year & the year that follows. Everyone knows where he stands, now. Every single Major League Team that may be interested in his varying talents--will not worry that he will walk on them--at least until 2009.
By Signing on the dotted line on July 23rd, 2007--Ronnie Belliard is not only a respected, bonafide Major League Player again--but a sought after one. Our Number 10 can help Our Washington Nationals Now, Later--and Even in The Future.
How Can That Possibly Be Bad?
Our General Manager Jim Bowden deserves some credit for this move. The African Queen THRILLED that Ronnie Belliard is a Washington National--for the foreseeable future. A Player that NO ONE WANTED--now signed to a Two Year Contract Extension.
Really, Its a Good Day--to be a Fan of Our Washington Nationals.