Thursday, May 16, 2013

Has Vernon Wells become Joe Girardi's Ruben Sierra?

In the final days of the Joe Torre Era, the resurrection of Ruben Sierra was one of the great joys to behold.

In his first Yankee incarnation, Sierra whined that the team only cared about winning, not HR totals, prompting him to pitched out like a plate of bad clams. When he returned, Sierra was an elder statesman, clubhouse leader and warrior against evil - so much that Torre, in a season-ending mini-tradition, chose Ruben to manage the final game.  And when Sierra took out a pitcher, he mimicked Torre's walk so perfectly that both dugouts cracked up.

I don't know if Vernon Wells can do Girardi's hand-wipe across the forehead. But he came to NY with his share of critics.  Did you hear the way he was booed in Toronto? (Maybe he'll hear it in LA, too.) Much of it was his big contract - (it amazes and distresses me how fans blame players for bad contracts, letting the owners skate) - But Vernon Wells has an officer and a gentleman in NY, and I think last night Girardi gave him a loving back-slap by letting him play 2B in the final, meaningless inning.

Wells is having a great season. If he stays on course - big if - there is no reason to think he can't hit 35 HRs, drive in 100 and bat .280. He's done this before. He's not too old. Whatever issues he had are in his head. And he's been given a second chance - maybe his final chance - on baseball's greatest stage. If there is a better candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, tell me who? (OK, Mariano, yeah, but dammit, don't stop me when I'm on a roll.)

Can Vernon become Joe's Ruben? (Woah, that sounds kinky.) Let's hope. Otherwise, we're left to wondering whether we already had his Ruben - the name was Raul - and in a spasm of owner chinziness, we punted on him. No more cries of Rauuuul. It's Verrrrrrrrrrn!


KD said...


Ruben Sierra of the BIG hits! Thanks for bringing back those memories. He was special.

DannyBoy said...

A fine post sir.

John M said...

Ruben Wells. Vernon Sierra. Chili Fielder. Cecil Ibanez.

Aren't these all the same guy in a weird, Twilight Zone kind of way?

Is Bernie really officially retired? Think he'd DH?

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