Monday, August 01, 2005

New Old Man

Up yours, Sammy.Ryne Sandberg made a transition yesterday, one I didn't think was possible. He moved from quiet, ex-player to elder statesman of the game. And he did it in 23 minutes.

By bashing today's breed of "STATS Inc." obsessed ballplayers in his induction speech, Sandberg clearly became a voice for the "right way" of playing baseball for the next 40 years. Check this part of the speech:

But Harry, who was a huge supporter of mine, used to say how nice it is that a guy who can hit 40 homers or steal 50 bases drive in a hundred runs is the best bunter on the team. Nice? That was my job. When did it become okay for someone to hit home runs and forget how to play the rest of the game?

Many people will take note of which teammates and managers and execs he thanked. Many more will note who he snubbed. Clearly, Sammy Sosa was a target.

But so were Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey and the way they watch their homers sail out of parks.

The bottom line can be summed up by Roland Hemond, a special assistant to White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. "What a great message," he said. "We've got to take that tape and show it to minor-leaguers every spring. It's the best thing I've heard about having respect for the game, for your teammates, in a long time."

Ryno was the second favorite player I ever had (Ron Santo was my first). I always wished he was more outspoken off the field. I guess I only needed to be patient.

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