Friday, August 10, 2007
Ankiel Returns To Cardinals
It seemed that Rick Ankiel was going to be a good pitcher for some time. That's what everyone was thinking in the summer of 2000. But during the playoffs, Ankiel folded giving up an unprecedented 5 wild pitches in 1 inning. He would not pitch much more after that. He then struggled for a few years in the minors, and it seemed that he had lost his chance. But in 2005, Ankiel made the sudden announcement that he would be switching to outfield.
After a shaky 1st year, he turned it up this year. He was a starting outfielder for the Triple-A All Star Game, and by August 8th had 32 homers and 89 RBI! The Cardinals then decided to bring up Ankiel for a 2nd try at the majors, and this time, Ankiel would not disappoint.
It was the 7th inning, with the game still tight at 2-0 for St. Louis. Ankiel came up to bat with 2 men on against San Diego pitcher Doug Brocail. He blasted a pitch to right-field for a 3-run homer! When he got to the dugout, he came out for a curtain call, and Ankiel got the biggest cheer of his life. The Cards would go on to win the game 5-0.
Ankiel seems to have the making of a great hitter, as even the pitcher was in awe of how Ankiel hit that ball out. "I pitched the report," Brocail said. "I have no idea how he hit that ball. It's good to see the kid back, though. You know, he wasn't too bad of a pitcher."
"I guess Babe Ruth was the last," said manager of San Diego Bud Black, referring to pitchers converting into power-hitting outfielders. "It's quite a show of athleticism and quite a show of being a baseball player.
Ankiel though seemed the most excited out of all the people. "Unbelievable," Ankiel said. "You almost can't put that into words."