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Rick Ankiel’s last stand

Apr 24, 2013, 4:07 PM EDT

Rick Ankiel AP

A couple weeks ago Mike Bates wrote a nice career — Retrospective? Requiem? I dunno yet — about Rick Ankiel. Today Joe Posnanski takes a pass at one of the more interesting careers we’ve seen in some time. He’s particularly taken with Ankiel’s all-or-nothing approach this year, wondering if Ankiel knows his career is close to the end:

And he seems to have decided, like the boxer entering the final round losing on all scorecards, like the broke gambler down to a final bet, like the golfer facing the impossible shot but needing to pull it off to make the cut — that he might as well go for everything. Maybe, just maybe, if he can hit a noticeable number of homers — strikeouts, walks, singles, all of them be damned — he can keep this crazy career alive.

And I still hope the Astros let him pitch before they release him.

  1. jimbo75025 - Apr 24, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    Meh, he has scapped out a decade long career as an OF after pulling himself off the scrapheap. Good for him. Better than many top flight prospects will ever amount to, Nothing to be ashamed of.

  2. gza385 - Apr 24, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    You only live twice.

  3. asimonetti88 - Apr 24, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    Even if this is his last year, what a career for him. He has over 10 major league seasons, a second place Rookie of the Year finish, nearly $12 million in salary earned and the respect of baseball fans for being able to redefine himself so successfully and completely.

  4. tuberippin - Apr 24, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Let him pitch; can’t be any worse than the trainwreck back-end of that rotation as it stands right now (Phil Humber: 0-4, 6.63 ERA, 62 ERA+; Erik Bedard: 0-1, 6.17 ERA, 67 ERA+).

    • paperlions - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:05 PM

      I would be fantastic if Houston would let him pitch in just one game this year. I know pitcher wins mean jack-squat….but it would be cool to see him get a win in relief in an extra inning game in which he hit a walk-off HR.

      • paperlions - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:06 PM

        * It would be fantastic….

      • historiophiliac - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:18 PM

        Kinda funnier the first way…

      • paperlions - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:46 PM

        Of course, I would be fantastic regardless. :-P

      • historiophiliac - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:44 PM

        Pitch…walk-off HR?

      • paperlions - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:45 PM

        You don’t have to use the DH on the Junior Circuit…it’s an elective

      • historiophiliac - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:01 PM

        I know you’re used to that pitcherwannabehitter ball nonsense, but in every other league, managers don’t go for the elective when they have steak on the table.

      • paperlions - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:02 PM

        Jose Tigre is the steak.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:05 PM

        Gross. You ate your dog???? (Or, gf”s dog. Whatever.)

      • paperlions - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:06 PM

        Well, it is always a good idea to make sure player are proficient in all aspects of the game. For example, if pitchers are not expected to hit, perhaps they also will be deficient in other aspects of the game….such as, oh….I don’t know….fielding their position. Then, at some important time, like, maybe, the World Series, you pitchers might prove completely incapable of fielding, leading to important runs and getting your ass handed to you in 5 games.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:04 PM

        You know you have a mean streak. It’s really unattractive. Oh, well, you bring it on yourself…

        /dresses paperlions voodoo doll in an ochre sweater and sticks it in a box w/ an MP3 player loaded w/ Bieber tunes

        he he….he he…wahhahahahaha!

      • paperlions - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:07 PM

        The Bieber hurts more than the sweater….and I usually like female vocalists.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:09 PM

        What? Turn it up? Ok.

      • paperlions - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:11 PM

        I don’t know what you think you are playing….but I am hearing “Stand Up” by Ludacris

      • historiophiliac - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:13 PM

        Whatever, Rick Ruben. I think you’ve been hanging out with drunken Blue Jays fans too much.

      • paperlions - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:21 PM

        No such thing as hanging out with drunk Jay’s fans too much.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:24 PM

        /rolls eyes

        You owe me some olives.

      • paperlions - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:25 PM

        No way, thanks to you, I’ve been picking peanut shells out of my keyboard all day (well, maybe it was because I was eating peanuts at work….who’s to say?).

      • historiophiliac - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:26 PM

        Well, you enjoy that now.

      • paperlions - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:28 PM

        Here (passes olives)…that is actually why the “t” was missing earlier…then one was under the “k”, then under the “.”…good times.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 24, 2013 at 8:33 PM

        I love that you all enjoy harassing me in my time of grief.

        /s

      • tuberippin - Apr 24, 2013 at 11:21 PM

        True. He hasn’t pitched in a decade, so taking it one inning at a time would be optimal. But again, he can’t really be much worse than the back end of their bullpen as it stands now (Jose Veras: 0-1, 5.19 ERA, 81 ERA+, 1.61 WHIP, 2 SV) and he could be used as their guy on nights when Veras isn’t available for whatever reason(s).

        That said, the back end of the Astros rotation has had trouble getting past the third inning, so…

    • okwhitefalcon - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:43 PM

      I don’t think it’s a “let” him pitch situation.

      From all accounts he has no desire to ever do so again.

      Although I’m sure the ‘Stros would welcome it, they didn’t seem opposed to a Clemens novelty start at the end of last year.

    • Cris E - Apr 25, 2013 at 9:41 AM

      If he wants to, anyway. His last experiences on the mound were not real positive and he may not want to re-live that. On the other hand, the reaper is at the door…

  5. whatthehellisansky - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    Can we get some kind of online petition going to get this guy on the mound one last time?

    Theres enough people that check this site out that we could make something happen – maybe I’m overly optimistic – but ya never know…

  6. cardsfan773 - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    I had the misfortune of sitting in stands to watch his pitching career fall apart after TLR made him the surprise starter for NLDS game 1. Very sad to see a great talent lose his mind under the pressure. I have always wondered if TLR is the reason he cant pitch anymore. Go out strong Rick. Who will forget throwing out 2 guys from the base of the wall, all while standing flat-footed in colorado.

    • vallewho - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:22 PM

      You mean the masterminds of TLR and DD could not help this guy…And may even be responsible. Say it ain’t so.

      • paperlions - Apr 24, 2013 at 5:47 PM

        You would need a rocket to jump the chasm between “TLR and DD made him the surprise starter” (it wasn’t a surprise to Ankiel, just the media) and “Ankiel’s psyche crumbled to the point that the couldn’t throw a strike.

  7. tapeterson2155 - Apr 24, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    • moogro - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:19 PM

      I could watch that over and over.

    • jwbiii - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:41 PM

      That’s something you don’t see very often. Brian Bixler on a highlight clip.

  8. albertmn - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    He may have no desire to pitch. But, how awesome would it be if he tried pitching again after his hitting days were over and he made another revival, this time as a LOOGY? His career is already unusual. If he were to transfer BACK to pitching it would truly be unique.

    • albertmn - Apr 24, 2013 at 7:03 PM

      He’s only 33, so he could have 6-10 years left if he were to become an effective LOOGY.

  9. whitdog23 - Apr 24, 2013 at 10:49 PM

    is he still married to Bonnie Bernstein???

  10. spudchukar - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    I would like the Astros to tell him he is the everyday starting RF versus righties, and use him to pinch-hit when he doesn’t start against lefties and see what he could accomplish. 30 HRs, is not out of the question. And what do they have to lose?, Certainly not games.

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