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.


Anonymous said...

Totally agree!

He is just so fun to watch play and seems to enjoy himself so much, too.

If I'd had to choose, I was hoping for keeping Belliard over Young. But, I like Dmitri too (modulo some discomfort over the off-field problems) and given the uncertainty over Nick Johnson (which makes me sad), I don't see how they can afford to trade Young, but I guess we'll see.

(And really, what do I know about this aspect of the game? Nada! When I came back to watching baseball in 2005 after 20 years I was shocked at how much player-trading went on... still getting used to that.)

ANYWAY, yay Belliard!

And, SBF, your 'trolls' in comments crack me up. You KNOW, don't you, that it's just a person hiding under that Screech suit?? Too funny.

Anonymous said...

I will never understand why my Cards let "Big Belly" go. I loved that man and he was a pleasure to watch. You can imagine my excitement when I found out he was coming to D.C.

I think he's a great player and the Nats are lucky to have him - just as you pointed out, he is lucky to have the Nats.

On a side note - I implore you to spread the word on his most FABULOUS nick-name..given to him by all his dearest Cardinal fans. I see no reason it can't reach out here to the east coast. Just holler "Big Belly" when he comes up to the plate and you'll make one good ol' mid western girl feel right at home - and hopefully Ronnie will enjoy it too, ha! :)

SenatorNat said...

This is a very good move by Nats brass, since it makes so much sense on every level. Now, weeks ago, I predicted that Bow-Bow could not resist attempting to procure another one of his former Reds protegees, Adam Dunn. I have no truck with adding him to the 2007-2008 roster as the 21st Century version of Dave Kingman. But it all has to do with what Nats give up for a guy who will strike-out more than anyone else in the National League, and probably hit less than 30 home-runs, unless the new Wachovia Field (sic Nationals Park) is akin to the band-box that is Cincinnati's Great American Park. Even so, the new player seldom lives up to the 40 home run tag put on him...

Would I trade Rivera and Church for Dunn: sure. Would I trade Rauch and Church for Dunn: no, unless something was thrown in that was more of a prospect than Ryan Wagner was. as the comparable throw-in in the Lopez-Kearns acquisition. And would I trade Church and Cordero for Dunn and a medium-rated prospect? Absolutely Not. How about Dunn and top-prospect - now you probably have a deal, since Bow-Bow cannot go an entire season, without one splash.

The Reds would take Church and Rauch for Dunn, for sure, as would I if I were they - then, it comes down to whether they are willing to part with anything real to seal the deal - like Gary Majewski? (Am I kidding, or might that actually work?

I still think Young stays, and is more valuable inked, perhaps, like Belliard.

Trust in Kasten. All Good.

Screech's Best Friend said...

What I also find really refreshing about Ronnie Belliard re-signing is that he wanted to be here. Unlike any other free agents in passing through DC the past two seasons--I believe Ronnie's signing is a good sign that other players WANT to be in Washington, DC. And, play for The Nationals. He could have walked on his own in two months time. He Did Not. That's significant, and should not be overlooked.

Rob said...

I really like this move, and I don't understand all of the grousing about it that seems to be coming from other sources. I don't think anyone is saying that Ron is going to play every day and hit above .300 for the rest of his contract, but I am extremely heartened by the fact that A) He WANTED to re-sign with the Nats, and B) Even if he stays in a utility role for the rest of his contract, can you come up with a better bench player than him, looking at the past 2 and a half years of Washington baseball? I mean, I only became a fan in 2005, when the team moved down here, but the bench, it seems to me, has ALWAYS been effectively devoid of talent, not to mention some real sub par PEOPLE. There were exceptions, like a Jamey Carroll, but we've had our fair share of Wil Corderos, too.

All in all, I think Ronnie brings a veteran's professionalism, but at the same time, a rookie's love for the game, to a young team that desperately needs a few good influences as it grows.

MickMcD said...


I am outraged. As one of the faithful fans of Our Washington Nationals, I read this article: http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=781 that states that Our Washington Nationals are The LEAST Popular Team in The United States. How can this be so? The Support of Our Nationals is un-wavering. We need to all write letters, emails, etc. to the Fine Folks at Harris to let them know about the Fantastic Fan Support of Our Washington Nationals. I cannot believe that Our Washington Nationals would be considered an UNPOPULAR team. Have you not seen the diehards all over the BallPark on East Capitol Street? The support for "The Most Thrilling Closer in the Game," and FLop! and SBF's Main Man!! Ryan Church? Come on. Our support is Fantastic. This is so upsetting. I hope no one tells Our Manager Manny Acta about this. Let's all send in those letter tonight. And may all your fireworks go Bang!! Zoom!!

MickMcD said...

My bad on the link...
This is the link detailing that OUR WASHINGTON NATIONALS are so unpopular


Anonymous said...

By no means am I surprise by the lack of support by our "fans." On a recent trip to Our Nations Capital I saw scads of Curly W hats but now that I see we are dead last in popularity I am starting to wonder whether any of them had ever even been to a game. Also, after attending a game on the same trip I was highly disappointed with the atmosphere at the stadium on East Capitol Street. From my visits to other parks, this is by far the worst fan experience I have had, it pains me to be a Nationals fan but I am what I am and maybe someday we will have a stadium atmosphere that will rival those in Philadelphia and Boston. I fear that things won’t be much better for us despite the new Nationals Park, yeah it's great we get a nice looking park, but it won’t change the awful non-game attractions and is one of the reasons we are dead last.

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