Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Little Thanks to Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers has yet to determine whether he's now a retiree, or a potential comeback player of the year candidate for 2009.  From what I saw of him last year, I do not believe he has anything left in the tank.  There's a limit to reliance on getting people to swing at junk out of the strike zone, and I think Kenny's beyond it.  I'm sure he was more than a little frustrated with the strike zone this past season--I could see it in his face at times--but, I still think he's done.  I wouldn't mind getting proven wrong, but it would be a great risk.

Having said all that, I was just thinking of how much I enjoyed watching Kenny field his position, even through his last appearance of the season.  I mean, it's really something to watch, in stark contrast to the pitchers who fall so far off the mound they can do nothing in the way of fielding, and those who can only duck or stick out a glove like a shield when a ball comes their way.  I appreciated watching him help himself out every game, whether it was making a slick fielding move, or picking runners off--hello, all time pickoff leader!   (I know, this stat has only been tracked since 1974.)

You can watch the double play he turned on August 30 in the Tigers' top plays archive.

Of course, there is his incredible 2006 post-season play (marred slightly by the pine tar incident, but not much, in my opinion).  I was at ALDS game 3, and as I was keeping score, I couldn't believe the strikeouts he was racking up--eight to be exact--for a pitcher who was no longer known as a strikeout threat.  It was great to see him pitch so inspired in the playoffs, despite never really having done so before.  I'm glad he did it with us.

I wanted to put all this out there before he makes his final decision.  If he wants to, I'm sure he'll have a nice career coaching.  The young pitchers could often be seen conversing with him during games.  Sure, they could've been talking about Big League Chew for all I know, but I think he made a great advisor.  If he walks away from the game for good, we'll savor some nice memories of him wearing the Old English D.

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