March 07, 2012

Rule No. 5: Never Bet on Choo

Jon Nunnally, 1996 Score

Here is a cool (?) card of baseball player Jon Nunnally displaying what appears to be mild frustration at, prolly, striking out. This is part of Score’s famous “Dugout Collection ’96,” and the reason I know this is because the famous “Dugout Collection ‘96” logo is smack dab in the middle of the words I am attempting to read on the back.

Most of the time wh

I feel like whoever made the decision to put this logo here in that font should be fired. I realize this is from ’96, and that whoever was responsible for this has most likely moved on to other things, but what I am saying is that this person, wherever he or she is, should be fired from their current job right this second. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. How am I supposed to make fun of words I cannot read?

It’s a darn good thing I own an absurdly large magnifying glass for this specific reason.

Most of the time when a player is selected in the Rule 5 draft, he sits on the bench for the year absorbing baseball wisdom or is sent back to his original team.

Rule 5 draft day, ‘95

GM1: I’m looking for a guy, ideally a baseball player, who can sit on the bench and absorb baseball wisdom.

GM2: Well, you came to the right place. Billy McNoName over there (points to blank draft board) is like a freakin’ sponge. I’m looking for a guy who we can immediately send back to the team we got ‘em from.

GM1: No doubt, no doubt. Hey, lemme ask you something: What the hell are we doing here?

But Jon, who was drafted from the Indians, is the exception to the norm.

Awesome! Why?

His first major-league hit in ’95 was a home run,

Cancel the Rule 5 draft, everyone. Jon Nunnally, Rule 5 draftee, just hit a home run in his first at-bat, putting him on pace to hit 1,000 home runs in what will surely be an illustrious, award-filled career. Who does this guy think he is, hitting baseballs before absorbing the adequate baseball wisdom?

the 70th player in history to achieve this exhilarating feat

If you have 70 fingers on one hand and it is 1996, then you can count on one hand how many players have felt the pure exhilaration that comes from hitting a ding-dong in their first major league at-bat. That is a pretty exclusive club. Let’s call it CLUB EXHILARATION; cover is $12, girls in free on Saturday night.

According to Wikipedia, in 2005, Nunnally tested positive for steroids, and received a 15-game suspension. The Cleveland Indians were like, “Whatevs. Wanna be our hitting coach?” And Nunnally was like, “Word,” (these are not direct quotes), which ultimately led to his dismissal as hitting coach in 2011, and this surprisingly lengthy piece about the firing of an Indians hitting coach. Here is my favorite part:

“I don't know what's going on," Choo said. "It's not like we're in last place; we're in first place. There's a lot of season left. I'm just sad that he's not around us anymore. This is very disappointing. I feel very bad about it. He helped me. He helped everybody."

Choo did not help Nunnally's cause this season. He entered Sunday hitting .237 with five homers and 25 RBI.

Burn! Take that, Choo! You don’t know what’s going on? What’s going is that you got your popular hitting coach fired because you can’t hit anymore. Oh, you feel sad AND bad? How do think Nunnally feels? Probably sad, bad, and maybe even mad, at YOU, for costing him his job. I hope you can sleep at night.

Here was the headline I had submitted at the time of the controversy:

Tribe waxed, Nunnally axed, Choo sad, not glad

It did not get used.

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