Saturday, December 17, 2005

Praise for the quiet giant

If you're a Red Sox fan, then you've probably already cried over the team's loss of third baseman Bill Mueller. But in case you haven't shed your tears yet, I'll tug at your heartstrings.

When he was signed in 2003, I remember making fun of his name with a coworker. Mueller? Mooler? Myuuuu-eller? Muller? Miller? We already had a Millar, I thought Mueller was too much.

How did he win me over during his three years with the Sox? After hitting homers from both sides of the plate one night in August '03, all he could muster for SportsCenter was that he wanted to thank God for giving him the talent. He won the batting title, edging Manny by a point.

For an encore in 2004, he delivered two of the biggest hits in team history, both off the once untouchable Mariano Rivera. (One won the infamous A-Rod fight game July 24 -- I almost scalped my ticket. The other gave the Sox life down three games to none in the ALCS.)

Flawless defense, clutch hitting (.400+ in the World Series), all while quiet in a town where the reporters call for comment when you sneeze.

But this week, the Los Angeles Dodgers, or Red Sox West, did what Boston would not and gave Mueller a two-year deal. This is not a surprise, given that low-cost future All-Star Kevin Youkilis has been waiting in the wings since 2003.

Bill Mueller, if you're reading and I suspect you are, thank you for doing everything right, for the way you charged those slow rollers, the way you preferred to bat eighth, for making Mo beatable, for always trying hard, and for never complaining, even when the team dangled you to Minnesota at the trading deadline.

Please try and talk some sense into Grady out there in L.A.



Anonymous Rachel said...

Well, the guys in my fantasy league made fun of me for drafting Mueller, but I was the one laughing in the end...

Bill, you'll be missed in Beantown.

December 17, 2005  

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