Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Pudge Effect

I've been a huge fan of Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez since he first broke into the big leagues with the Texas Rangers.

This guy is definitely headed to the Hall of Fame. He's the greatest catcher I've seen, including Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, and Mike Piazza in that group.

And amazingly, he's somehow not been universally acclaimed to the extent I believe he deserves.

Separately, and independently, I've been telling a friend of mine in Washington DC that although his Nationals have been pathetic, and that they were gonna continue to suck this year, that in the very near future I fully expected this team to be a significant factor in the very near future, perhaps even by next year.

Well, apparently, I was wrong.

The Nats are going to be a significant factor this year.

I'm a bit surprised.

The Nats line-up has been powerful for several years now. The pitching and defense, however, have been pitiful.

I attribute this in part to Pudge.

Pudge is an amazing ball player. He hits. He spent 12 straight years (perhaps more) as the best defensive catcher in the history of baseball. And he has demonstrated over and over again that he can lead a pitching staff to higher success.

Compare these two stories about yesterday's game between the Washington Nationals and New York Mets. I see Pudge sparkling through every comment by a Nats' player and lacking from the Mets' comments.