Friday, July 18, 2008

Richie Sexson

We all knew it was only a matter of time. For some Mariners fans it came way too late. Richie Sexson was finally released by the Mariners last week. It was bittersweet for me. Richie has been my favorite Mariner since the day they signed him. He has always been a great defensive 1st baseman. a lot of that has to do with his height. He is able to dig balls out of the dirt or reach errant throws that would normally fly far over a regular guys head. If you throw a ball too far over Richie's head you know it was a BAD throw. Sexson has always been the guy who could change the entire game with one swing. For whatever reason this year and last he has lost that ability. But first lets look at his stats over his career.
1999 - 134 games/31 HR's/116 RBI/.255 avg - Cleveland Indians
2000 - 148 games/30 HR's/91 RBI/.256/.296 avg - Cleveland Indians/Milwaukee Brewers
2001 - 158 games/45 HR's/125 RBI/.271 - Milwaukee Brewers
2002 - 157 games/29 HR's/102 RBI/.279 - Milwaukee Brewers
2003 - 162 games/45 HR's/124 RBI/.272 - Milwaukee Brewers
2004 - 23 games/9 HR's/23 RBI's/.233 - Arizona Diamondbacks
2005 - 156 games/39 HR's/121 RBI/.263 - Seattle Mariners
2006 - 158 games/34 HR's/107 RBI/.264 - Seattle Mariners
2007 - 121 games/21 HR's/63 RBI's/.205 - Seattle Mariners
2008 - 74 games/11 HR's/30 RBI/.218 - Seattle Mariners
2008 is far from over for Richie. But it is clear to see that the last season and a half in Seattle have been atrocious for him. The Mariners signed Richie for the numbers he put up consistently from 1999 through 2004. He lived up to those numbers his first two season in Seattle. If only we had had pitching those years who knows what his bat could have done for us in the playoffs.
In 2007 Richie battled leg issues all season long. I am not making excuses for him but I imagine bad legs will make it tough to get the proper power and follow through that a power hitter like Sexson needs. He missed 43 games and by his numbers it was clear he was not himself. I had a lot of hope for Richie going into this season. I really believed he would bounce back from 2007 and regain the form he was known for. But it never happened. I know a lot of baseball is mental and honestly I think Richie just tried to hard. I think he hated getting booed and I think he tried to so hard to hit it out of the park every at bat that it hurt him more than it helped him. The booing bothered me a lot. I realize he is getting paid a lot of money to do what he does, but he is also human. How would you perform at your job on a daily basis if you had 30 000 people booing you? Something tells me it would seriously affect your confidence and your job performance. I don't believe it is any different for athletes. It is sad for me to have seen Richie leave Seattle on such a sour note. I feel he deserved a much better fate than what he got. A lot was made of Richie's "attitude" in the days leading up to his release. Yet the media failed to make anything of how much Richie had a good attitude most of this season. He worked his butt off in the cages trying to regain his swing, he supported his team mates and barely complained when he was benched in favor of Miguel Cairo. But no one cares about that part. No one wants to here about the Richie that has tried harder than anyone, and who cares and wanted to help Seattle win. I suppose in sports there is always that one guy people villanize and make the whipping boy. Some of it was deserved for Sexson and some of it wasn't. Richie has needed a change for a long time now. Although I am not sure the bright lights of New York City and Yankee Stadium is the place for him to overcome his struggles. Only time will tell for Richie. I wish him nothing but the best in New York and wherever he may play after this season. I know I will be watching the Yankees box score on a daily basis to see if Richie is playing and what he did. I hope the change is all he needed and he can find at least some of the form and be a little of the old Richie.

1 comment:

Linda MacTravel said...

Very nicely written, Evey. I know this was difficult for you. It is strange to not see him on the field at first base or to hear his name announced. Let's see how long he lasts in the Steinbrenner organization! Well done.