How inspiring -- and shocking -- it was to see Podsednik drive Astros' closer Brad Lidge's 96-mph fastball over the right-center field fence and into White Sox lore. His 408-foot blast gave Chicago a 2-0 lead over Houston, and helped the Sox sweep the Astros for their first championship in 88 years. As Fox broadcaster Tim McCarver said after the homer, "These things aren't supposed to happen."
It wouldn't have happened if the White Sox hadn't traded Carlos Lee's power for Podsednik's speed last December.
Maybe not. Podsednik had an amazing postseason wherein he slugged over 200 points higher than he did during the regular season. 200.
If Carlos Lee had done that, he would have slugged damn near .700 in the playoffs. It's probably just as likely as what Podsednik did.
I'm just saying.
Podsednik proved that smaller, tenacious, fundamentally sound ballplayers are just as exciting and valuable as sluggers, and for that he should be recognized as Sportsman of the Year.
Hold on. First off, there's a word in there I take issue with.
You're lumping in exciting and valuable, Mitch Getz, and the two have nothing to do with each other. Podsednik proved nothing of the kind this year. During the regular season, he was more valuable than a replacement player primarily because of his defense in left field, not his performance at the plate. And who says sluggers like Albert Pujols and Derrek Lee aren't tenacious?
Second, and this pains me to write, but Podsednik does have a legitimate claim to Sportsman of the Year -- but not for proving anything about smaller guys being equally valuable in baseball. He did well in the playoffs. He helped a moribund franchise win the World Series for the first time in many decades. That's a fact. But Getz would rather talk about how small and tenacious he is. What's next? Grittiness? Chone Figgins? David Eckstein?
With a crackdown on steroids this season, I renewed my appreciation for little rascals such as Podsednik, the Cardinals' David Eckstein and the Angels' Chone Figgins.
Plus, calling them "little rascals" is so demeaning.
All three led their respective teams to the playoffs while combining for 16 homers during the regular season.
I'm going to make a chart.
Cardinals ... Albert Pujols
Angels ... Vladimir Guerrero
White Sox ... Arguably the Best Pitching Staff in Baseball
Okay, so it's not a pretty chart, but do you know what the names of the two columns are? That's right:
Team Name ... Who Led Them to the Playoffs
I'm going to miss people talking about you, Scott Podsednik. Thanks for the memories.
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