Monday, April 21, 2008

Why Richie Sexson Is My Favorite Baseball Player...

For 12 big league seasons Richie Sexson has done what he does best, hit home runs. Lots of them. So many in fact he is only 1 away from 300 on his career. In 2001 and 2003 Richie hit 45 home runs. His first year in Seattle he hit 39 and the following year 34. Not too bad if you ask me.
Yet somehow Richie Sexson has taken enough criticism from Mariners fans to last him a lifetime. Last year Richie struggled with injuries. Injuries he never complained about or used as an excuse for his struggles. He ended up missing 41 games because of those injuries. And yet he still managed to hit 21 HR's and had 63 RBI's. Not a great year stats wise for a guy who people are used to seeing hit 30+ HR's and 100+RBI's. I really think that people would have looked past the lower than normal numbers and accepted that it was an injury filled season for Richie had his batting average not hovered at the .200 mark all season. He ended the season with a .205 batting average and that is the only number that people bothered to look at. While I agree an average that low is unacceptable for any big league player I don't agree that it was reason enough for the home town fans to boo him at any chance they got. How does that help anyone? How does that help some one's confidence? I think it affected Richie much more negatively than he ever let on. But that is who Richie is. No excuses. He stood up like a man and admitted his struggles and never blamed anyone else. ONE bad season and people were ready to write him off as a bust.
Richie did start things off a little slow this season. But now 19 games in he has 5 HR's and 15 RBI's. He is hitting the ball well. Even his outs are on balls that are hit deep. He takes more pitches than I have ever seen him take. That patience is paying off as he already has 14 walks on the season. No longer are we seeing the guy from last year who swung at anything because he wanted so bad to hit a HR every time he went to the plate so the fans would cheer him and not boo him. He over thought every plate appearance because of the pressures on him. I don't see that guy this year, and I really don't think we will. Richie has put last year behind him and hopefully the fans can do the same. Before the season I said Richie would have 30 HR's and 100+RBI's and hit right around .250. I stand by that prediction. His batting average will always be a little lower just because of the kind of hitter he is. Richie has always struck out a lot even in the seasons he hit 45 HR's, it is just who he is.

Richie leaves everything he has out there every night. Even on the nights when the boos are raining down on him. There are times he will struggle, what athlete doesn't? But through it all he will never make excuses. He will just come right back the next day and try again. And THAT is why Richie Sexson is my favorite baseball player.

1 comment:

Linda MacTravel said...

BRAVO! An awesome piece of writing, Evey! Seattle fans can't afford to merely be "fair weather" fans of individual players or this team...first of all, we are having difficult having any fair weather! But most importantly, we have to realize that everyone has their ups & downs and that eventually most players will turn it around! GO BIG SEXY!!