IF YOU’RE A BASEBALL FAN, HOW CAN YOU NOT LIKE ADAM ROSALES?
Despite the prevalence of
red, while and blue over the holiday weekend, my
focus today is on one player’s
green socks, worn the old school way with the bottom of his gray pants meeting
them just below the knee. Of course,
the player is Adam Rosales, the most “baseball
player” of baseball players I know. To me, it makes perfect sense that our utility
man extraordinaire was in the starting lineup on the 4th of July. Only more appropriate would have been if he
was starting on the day Abner Doubleday invented our national pastime. Hot dogs, apple pie and Adam Rosales. What’s more
On this sunny day on the
banks of Lake Erie, Rosales had added incentive
to play well. His girlfriend, parents
and family live in the area, and Adam wants to make them proud. And as usual, he also wants to help Oakland win a ball
game. Giving Kevin Kouzmanoff a well-deserved rest at third base, Rosie seamlessly
fills in. After popping up to shortstop in the second inning, he laces a single
to left field to lead off the fifth.
There’s hope he might lengthen the A’s 2-1 edge, but the inning ends on
a double play.
Then in the seventh, Rosales
leads off again, and this time he decides to take things into his own
hands. He barrels up on a 3-1 Fausto Carmona delivery and the ball soars high above the left
field fence into a wide concourse beyond, giving Vin Mazzaro and the Athletics’ a pivotal two-run lead. Of course, all the media in the Progressive
Field press box are thoroughly entertained by Rosales’ patented sprint around
the bases. My colleague Susan Slusser, the veteran beat writer of the San Francisco Chronicle, and I notice that Adam’s home run jaunt is
slightly slower than usual. He’s not dogging it per se, he’s just not setting
a land speed record as usual. We
speculate he might be slowing down a tad so his girlfriend and her family have
more “Photo Op” time.
Our Rosie, however, is a
full service Rosie. He’s far from
through leaving his fingerprints on this 3-1 victory. After his solo shot, he returns to the field
in the bottom of the seventh and promptly robs Anderson Hernandez by leaping high
to snare a sure two-out double down the third base line. And then to provide the game’s final
exclamation point on victory, the A’s superman–I mean, utiltyman–bails closer Andrew Bailey out of a potential ninth-inning jam by initiating a
game ending around-the-horn double play.
So, as we approach the 2010
All-Star Game in Anaheim,
I’ve got a suggestion for a new Major League promotion that would be a
guaranteed hit. As baseball continues to
expand and refine All-Star team rosters each season, my question is this: why not include a special fan voting category
for one utility player for each team in the future? How much fun would that be? Real baseball fans know that a great utility
man is a key ingredient to a winning team.
And the really good ones fit Rosales’ profile: Great hustler. Unselfish.
Skilled at many positions. Does
all the little things well. Fan
favorite. Really, they’re usually the
underdog on a team. And we all know, America
loves an underdog. This brings us back to my first paragraph. If anyone should have been playing on the 4th
of July, it should be Adam Rosales, noted underdog utiltyman and opponent