In April of 2005, many Cub fans will remember that night game in St. Louis when we all knew, even in April, that it was going to be a VERY VERY long season. The image of Nomar Garciaparra curled up in the fetal position holding his groin area with the look of excruciating pain on his face is burned into our memories, and I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one who felt as if we were feeling the same pain.
He was one of our stars, and he ripped the tendon right off the bone. He was done, and so was our season. But, NEVER FEAR…. RONNY’S HERE! (I hope you can sense my dripping sarcasm there… )
That was the opportunity that brought Ronny Cedeno to the big leagues. He was Nomar’s replacement, such big shoes to fill. His numbers looked good (at the time). He had batted .348 with three homers and six RBIs in 13 games. In a roster that consisted of names like Matt Murton, Jose Macias, Mike Fontenot, Ryan Theriot, Jody Gerut, Ben Greive, and how could I EVER forget Neifi Perez, the scrawny kid from Venezuela fit in well. I try to block the ’05 (and ’06) seasons out of my brain as much as possible. Just writing those names gave me the churning feeling in the pit of my belly with horrible flashbacks of the horrible offense and the embarrassing defense of that year. Little did I know that only thirteen years later I would experience a team even WORSE than that brutal 2005.
After Ronny was called up to the majors, we spent the next few years watching this kid strike out… a lot. We got frustrated because he didn’t know how to take a walk, unless it was intentional. In 2006, 4 of his 17 walks in 534 at bats were intentional! As a matter of fact, in 2006, he had the WORST strikeout/walk ratio in the major leagues with .16. He didn’t have power. It’s safe to say that some of the Cubs pitchers he was teammates with had better offensive numbers than he had.
He was good defensively…in the minor leagues. He tended to forget his defense in Iowa every time he got called back up to the roster. Honestly, in the majors (up until the last couple of years where he has been a bit better), he has been terrible defensively. On the bases, he had some speed, but not smarts. He was the only player I’ve EVER seen get thrown out trying to steal second base, on a walk! ….
Oh, but that churning feeling can go away, because that player who was called up to the major leagues because Nomar got injured IN St. Louis is now going to play FOR St. Louis! The Hot Stove this winter may have been “Luke Warm” at best, but as a Cub fan, this signing is definitely one of my favorite ones of the winter, just because I love to see the Cardinals take a step backwards! Granted, he will not get a lot of playing time, he’s basically there because the Cardinals are a bit concerned about the health of Furcal (back and elbow), but to be able to watch the Ronny Cedeno Baserunning Show again, and not having to feel embarrassed that he plays for my favorite team? All the better! So, Ronny, welcome back to the National League Central, and Wellington Castillo will be waiting to throw you out at second when you overrun it trying to steal as your teammate takes a walk!
And to all of my Cardinal fans who, after Cedeno’s little baserunning brain fart, felt the need to use that opportunity to further taunt myself and my fandom because of our “smart little player”, I guess the joke is now on you!