Monday, December 6, 2010

On Santo, Werth, Jeter

Baseball lost one of its most devoted and lovable icons this past week when Ron Santo lost his battle with bladder cancer on Dec. 2 at age 70.

In fact, his cancer had come back several months ago, according to longtime teammate Glenn Beckert, but he swore his family not to tell anyone.

Widely known as one of the top 3 third-basemen during his generation (after Mike Schmidt and Eddie Matthews), baseball's Hall of Fame has continued to pass over Santo.

While this blog could be devoted entirely to reasons why Santo should be in the Hall, that drum has been beaten to death and frankly, the Veteran's Committee blew it. No post-death induction will make up for that.

Forget Ernie Banks, Santo was Mr. Cub. His blood quite possibly was Cubbie Blue, although it can't be proven.

He played for 12 years with Diabetes before anyone found out, then later had to have both legs replaced because of the disease. Yet, year after year, I'd see him walking out to his car after a Cubs spring training game in Mesa, using two prosthetic legs.

But besides all his on-field contributions, Santo endeared himself to Cub Nation -- if that's such a word -- with his ultra-homeristic calls on WGN radio. Thanks to XM radio, I was fortunate to share many of the Cubs' heartbreaking moments with Ronnie.

It's not just your typical hometown whining with Santo. He feels every bad play deep within the recesses of his soul to a point where you as a fan don't feel nearly as bad about it.

Ohhhhhhh, noooooooooo. Jeeeeeeeeeee, whiiiiiiz!!!!!! Oh my Goaaashhhhh!!!

I'm convinced that at least 10 times a game, Cubs broadcaster Pat Hughes has to hit the cough button on Santo's mike, as the bemoaning would just be too painful for a mainstream audience to hear.

Here's a classic call from Sept. 23, 1998 as the Cubs were in a Pennant race and OF Brandt Brown dropped a routine flyball, giving the game to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Here's another one against the Phillies that is self-explanatory.

Lastly, a nice Ron Santo tribute, including many celebrities talking about what Santo means to them. Worth a watch.

Is he Werth it? Jayson Werth signed with the Nationals for 7 years and $126 million dollars. What?!?

Are you kidding me? A guy who turns 32 in May, who has only had a regular gig for three years -- and was platooned at one point in 2009 -- is worth $18 million a year?

I only have one word for this: Boras. Actually five. Boras is ruining the game. He's driving up prices to a point where teams have to raise ticket prices to a point that an average family can no longer afford to take in a game.

Ironically, Barry Zito and Vernon Wells signed exact same contracts. Oh, and both have the same agent.

To steal a joke from a Twitter post, I thought Washington was trying to reduce the National deficit.

Jeter signs with Yankees: This is a day or so old, but still newsworthy. Derek Jeter signs with the Yankees for 3 years and $51 million.

This is a rare situation in sports where both the player and the team desperately need each other. Jeter certainly needs the Yanks, but what would the pinstripes be without their "Captain."

It's a little much for the production Jeter brings to the table, but this contract is far more than just the numbers he brings to the table. At least half of it is for Jeter's star power, image and marketability he portrays with the Yankees.

If the Boss was still alive, Jeter may have pocketed an extra 10 or 15 million on this deal. But in the end, not an unfair deal on either side.