I must be the grim reaper for ballplayers. After speaking of my fondness for Barons infielder Justin Fuller, the fruit of the Jim Thome trade, he was released the following day. His numbers were very poor, so it wasn’t entirely unjustified. I’ll try in the future to keep my mouth shut in regards to players whom I admire for non-baseball related things. Good luck to Justin.
On the flipside, The White Sox brought in veteran minor league infielder Fernando Cortez from the Newark Bears to take Fuller’s place. Cortez will provide a steady and productive bat to the Barons lineup. As well as make me eat my words. Why is that? Well, let me take you back to last season…what is the definition of irony? Getting the autograph of the guy who gave you the finger for heckling him…then that guy joining your home town team the following year. Here’s how the story goes: during a homestand last season in late July against the Montgomery Biscuits, myself as well as a few of my friends heckled Cortez mercilessly all week. The impetus for the heckling was that Cortez had come back to play for Montgomery five years after he had previously played for them. Now, to be fair, if I had the talent to play baseball professionally, they’d have to drag me off the field to get me to quit. I’d play low A ball even if I was 35 and washed up as long as I was getting to play.
We gave Cortez absolute hell during that homestand. He was even wearing the same exact uniform he’d worn in 2004. Minor league teams generally reuse uniform tops for years and years to save money. So, after four and half games of ridicule, Cortez was fed up and flipped the bird in our direction. He had just flown out to right and was putting his helmet up. I could see it as plain as day, because he was wearing white batting gloves. The comment that set him off was “see you again in five years, Fernando!” Which wasn’t the worst of anything said. We continued to heckle him the rest of that game, but he made no more gestures. After that homestand, I realized that I had his Charlotte Knights baseball card from 2008. So, I decided that when they came back to town in two and a half weeks, I’d try to get him to autograph it. I assumed he’d blow me off because he knew I was heckling him, but I guess he didn’t know it was me and he signed the card.
The point I’m driving at is that I feel like I should apologize to him. The Barons have been out of town since he joined the team. But, I feel that I owe him an apology and to tell him that it wasn’t personal since he’s now playing for the Barons. I always tell myself that I should be careful about heckling players, because you never know if they’ll be playing for the Barons in the future. Well, for once, it has come back to bite me. I’ll put a poll up on Soxtalk asking if I owe him an apology or not, I need feedback from you guys on this issue. Next week is the final homestand of and final five games of the first half. Until next time…