FIRE JOE MORGAN: It's Like He Didn't Even Know This Guy Was A Hockey Star In High School


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Friday, March 02, 2007


It's Like He Didn't Even Know This Guy Was A Hockey Star In High School

Writers, please. If you compose a gushing Darin Erstad piece, do not neglect the fact that he played hockey in high school. Don't you know hockey players are tough?

Erstad connects with his new club
Ex-Angel likes Sox's chances, happy to play center field

The way he's been hitting, he should be happy to play anywhere, honestly.

Experience is a cherished commodity in every clubhouse.

Cherished, maybe. Overrated, certainly.

Few players are bringing more of it to a new team this spring than Darin Erstad did when he arrived at the White Sox camp almost three weeks ago, typically running early.

In Erstad, the Sox signed a guy only 12 years removed from playing football

(as a punter)

for a college powerhouse.

(that he punted for)

They also have the first guy selected in the 1995 draft, a player picked ahead of Carlos Beltran, Todd Helton, Roy Halladay and Kerry Wood, among others.

This matters not one bit. The thing to take away from this is that whoever drated Erstad (the Angels) made a pretty big mistake not taking Carlos Beltran or Todd Helton or Roy Halladay (Wood, not so much). By the way, here are some gentlemen taken ahead of Beltran in that draft: Ben Davis, Ariel Prieto, Mike Drumright, Ryan Jaroncyk, Mike Pasqualicchio, and Mark Bellhorn.

Other than Bellhorn, you'd rather have Beltran than those guys, am I right?

The point is, Phil Rogers, who cares when Darin Erstad was drafted 12 years ago? That was dumb to bring up.

During his decade with the Angels, Erstad had some seasons when he felt like he couldn't get comfortable at the plate.

2006, 2005, 2003, 2002, 2001, 1999 ...

The nominee for "Most Charitable Way Of Describing A Guy Sucking" goes to ... Phil Rogers for "Some Seasons When He Felt Like He Couldn't Get Comfortable At The Plate"!

At first glance, it seems Sox general manager Ken Williams is asking for too much in looking for Erstad to improve the uncertain outlook in center field. He hasn't played more than 66 games in the outfield since 2002 and spent the winter recovering from surgery on his right ankle. But Erstad is a man on a mission and you wouldn't be advised to stand in his way.

He might punt you with his college football-playing punting foot if you don't get out of his damn way.

Witness his first at-bat in a Sox uniform during an intrasquad game—going down to rip a Jose Contreras fastball onto the warning track in left-center and then steaming around second base and into third when Pablo Ozuna mishandled the hop off the chain-link fence. He hardly looked like a veteran on his last legs.

"That's the way he always has played," manager Ozzie Guillen said about Erstad's all-out approach on the back field. "That's the type of player we want, we need."

A player who hasn't slugged over .400 since 2000. Is the kind of player you need.

Assuming his body doesn't fail him, Erstad seems likely to get 400-plus at-bats for the Sox


Guillen pictures him batting second, which would allow Tadahito Iguchi to slide into the sixth or seventh spot, or possibly even leadoff when Podsednik is not in the lineup.

Look, Tadahito Iguchi's not going to win any awards for OBP. Last year he posted a .352. Darin Erstad has not exceeded that since 2000, when he was 26.

Don't be surprised if Erstad's play is bigger than the headlines given his signing.

At this point, he basically has to have an MVP season for that to be true.

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posted by Junior  # 2:39 PM
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