I love Rick Ankiel and I know that you do to! That's why the Washington Nationals MUST bring him back for the 2012 season. He personifies everything you'd want in a player on your team, in society, and the US of A as a whole - a modern day Rocky Balboa who has never let the man tell him what he can or can't do. A true American Hero in the mold of the founding fathers. Five logical reasons below from someone who does not understand the fancy stats that have developed over the fifteen years and also owns a Rick Ankiel (43) Nationals jersey direct from our friends in the Far East. After the Jump!
1. Walk out music - Black Betty (Artist: Ram Jam) - The first time I heard our man Rick stroll out to this classic all time Rock Jam I almost fell off the Red Porch on to some unsuspecting visiting pitcher in the bull pen. For both ethical and legal reasons I will not share why this song shares such a profound place in my heart - but I must assume it shares a similar place in Ricks!
2. The most awesome, intimidating, bionic arm - IN THE GAME!!! Find me one other outfielder with the surgeon like precision of Mr. Ankiel. If there was a throw off from center in any park to home I would take Rick against Satchel Paige, Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays, and Mickey Mantle - Hands Down!!!
3. Rick is the man - he does not have to start every day - he will play where you need Rick - because Rick understands the team is more important - even more important than Bionic arms and rocking walk out music! Nyjer Morgan (Wiener), BJ Upton (Dugout Fight with Evan Longoria), Barry Bonds (Cheater), etc. etc. etc.
4. Bombs.. Rick may not hit for high percentage (.239 good for 17th - right behind Upton), he may not hit a load of bombs (9 good for 17th - ahead of Bourn, Span, Morgan, Crisp), and he may not have the most hits (91 good for 23rd) - but by god: Rick RAKES! He will swing, and he will swing hard, and if he hits it, he will run Fast!
5. Perseverance - Rick is chocked full of this stuff.. Check Wikipedia if you don't know the story... There is no stop, give up, or quit in Rick. Jayson Werth not hitting (Did Rick learn to hit?), Storen not closing (You wanna be Rick?), Harper not making the adjustment (Rick makes adjustments) - think of the leadership and personal experience and inspiration oozing from this man in the clubhouse.. Other players are ashamed of themselves if they don't give 110% when Rick is in their presence - like when the Police drive by and you think 'Jesus, lucky I was going the limit this time!'
At the end of the day, Rick is a consummate professional, he can play any outfield position, and would provide tremendous depth and flexibility to the Nats! Recognize he is not the day to day answer - but who would you rather have in the platoon? I don't always weigh in on platoon outfield choices - but if I do - I prefer Ankiel!!!