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October 14, 2008 at 11:23 am ET
Guest Post: The Second Coming Of Rocco

Lloyd the Barber writes the Blue Jays blog Ghostrunner on First and is the Weekend Editor for Walkoff Walk. His one true, somewhat inexplicable love is Rocco Baldelli. Please allow Lloyd to make a case for Rocco: Comeback Player of the Year.

5-1 is good, 8-1 is better.On Monday night, the American League Comeback Player of the Year hit a three run home run that put Game 3 of the ALCS out of reach. The American League Comeback Player of the Year did so less than 50 miles from his hometown, against his boyhood team, with his kid brother braving a harsh peanut allergy (!) to be in attendance.

The American League Comeback Player of the Year missed the first four months of the season with an ailment that has been variously misdiagnosed/misreported as Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Whooping Cough, and Dutch Elm Disease. The American League Comeback Player of the Year’s entire career has been on a team that, before this incredible season, was yet to win more than 70 games.

The American League Comeback Player of the Year is not a pitcher, yet once missed an entire season recovering from Tommy John surgery.

The American League Comeback Player of the Year was not ACTUALLY named the Comeback Player of the Year.

That distinction was surreptitiously awarded by Major League Baseball to a player that had the bravery to overcome a mild abdominal strain, fight with a teammate, tip his cap to a booing home crowd, before gamely defeating the Royals 5 times to lead his team to a sparkling 81-81 record.

The American League winner Cliff Lee has nothing on the NL’s Brad Lidge, who would have been awarded the Ralph Branca Medal of Honor had his team not WON the series he almost, sort-of blew. Brad Lidge’s Comeback Player of the Year award should be known as the Donnie Moore Please Don’t Go Girl preventative strike of 2008. Lidge and Lee’s award-winning season opened the door to every single player who that ever had a great option year, signed a big free-agent contract, dogged it for three years before discovering their form in time for another free agent payday. Call me a sentimental fool, but I prefer comebacks of the Tony Conigliaro variety rather than the vaguely Saberhagenian.

The real American League Comeback Player of the Year spends 4 hours before each game stretching, taking supplements and preparing his body for a pounding it can barely recover from. The kind of pounding that leaves him feeling tired and fatigued 2 hours after scoring from first on a double. But you know this about the American League Comeback Player of the Year. He’s been the subject of many soft-focus features and tearful testimonials since the Devil Rays Woonsocket Rocketed their way into the postseason.

The thing you may not know about Rocco Baldelli is that he’s awesome. Even with his ailments and current physical limitations; he’s still a five-tool outfielder with a cannon arm and serious pop. On the field, he’s part of a platoon and his future with the Devil Rays is up in the air. Off the field, Rocco has provided a rallying point for both his young team and the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. The UMDF urges us all to “Root for Rocco”, something even Red Sox fans must find impossible to resist.

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18 Responses to “Guest Post: The Second Coming Of Rocco”
  1. Jeff says:

    Rocco blows…Mike Mussina FTW.

  2. Jeff says:

    Aren’t these awards for major leaguers not perennial farm hands anyways?

  3. Coming back from sucking doesn’t mean you are the Comeback Player of the Year. It means you had a better than the one before.

  4. David Chalk David Chalk says:

    Does anyone know what Jeff was trying to say in those comments? I’m baffled.

  5. Jeff says:

    Oh sorry, for the computer illiterate:

    Mike Mussina is more deserving than Rocco (FTW=for the win..it’s a phrase from the 21st century).
    Rocco has spent more time in the minors than the majors.

    I’m actually glad you’re baffled, now you know how people feel everyday after reading your infantile, meaningless posts.

  6. FrankDiscussion says:

    I’m impressed by what Baldelli has done but my money for AL Comeback Player of the Year is on Cliff Lee or Mike Mussina.

  7. Nothing will ever be as deep or meaningful as “FTW”, it really cuts to the core of the issue.

  8. coops2001 says:

    I agree, Mussina is the comeback player of the year in the AL. Case closed.

  9. David Chalk David Chalk says:

    Maybe I’m just dense then, but remind me again what the hell did Mussina come back from besides being old, overrated, overpaid and shitty? — and what did he come back to besides being the 16th best starting pitcher in the AL East for a team that barely avoided finishing in fourth place?

  10. Jeff says:

    What the hell did Rocco come back from besides being in the minor leagues until fucking August? And you can’t claim to be sick if nobody can name the sickness, Christ, hes been afflicted with 15 different diseases as far as I can tell. Maybe he just sucks. He’s played in 28 fucking games this year, dude. You nailed it on Mussina, last year that’s exactly what he was, this year he had 20 wins…name the other 15 guys that had more than him.

  11. FrankDiscussion says:

    16th best starting pitcher ? Mussina was 6th in the AL in ERA+ with 20 wins. Don’t throw numbers out there you can’t substantiate, Chalk.

  12. David Chalk David Chalk says:

    I never just throw numbers arounds — and to prove it, I shall substantiate:
    The Top 16 Starting Pitchers in the AL East 2008:
    1-5. Shields, Kazmir, Garza, Sonnanstine, Jackson
    6. Jon Lester
    7. Josh Beckett
    8. Matsuzaka
    9. Halladay
    10. Burnett
    11. Jeremy Guthrie
    12. Paul Byrd
    13. Tim Wakefield
    14. Jesse Litsch
    15. Shaun Marcum
    16. Mike Mussina

  13. Jeff says:

    Now, that’s funny. You should try that more often Chalk.

  14. I’m not sure if you actually read the post you’re commenting on Jeff, but Rocco’s been diagnosed with mitochondrial myopathy, a serious and degenerative condition that causes extreme muscle fatigue and exhaustion. But hey, MIKE MUSSINA WON 20 GAMES AND ENJOYS CROSSWORDS. HE’S SUCH A TROOPER

  15. Anarchist Accountant says:

    If Mike Mussina wins, they need to retire the award permanently for irrelevance.

  16. eyebleaf says:

    Mussina’s fucking garbage.

    Cito Gaston put it best: “Mike Mussina can kiss my ass. And you can print that.”

    Fuck Mike Mussina.

  17. FrankDiscussion says:

    I actually found that funny, Chalk. Good stuff.

    I’m not claiming Mussina deserves the award, but he deserves to be in the conversation. IMO it is Cliff Lee, hands down. I have nothing but respect for Rocco Baldelli, but the award isn’t based on sentimentality, peanut allergies be damned.

    Besides, the way it looks Rocco is going to have a World Series ring…

  18. MK says:

    David, Halladay #9? Seriously? I get that everyone above him was in the post season as well, but just because our offense laid down too many times doesn’t take away from his complete awesomeness.

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