Carlos Delgado is beating up the Cardinals in the NLCS and the press are jumping all over themselves to praise both his bat and his brain. 

Washington Post columnist Thomas Boswell calls Delgado “friendly” and “mature” and is urging Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols to follow Delgado’s example.

In his 14th season, the native of Puerto Rico is on the verge of upstaging the only first baseman in the league who surpasses him in talent, though not in temperament: the Cardinals’ grumpy Albert Pujols. In a postseason that has been short on dramatic themes, the contrast between Delgado, who has coped superbly with New York pressure, and Pujols, whose reputation has not flourished this month outside the protective cocoon of St. Louis, is now worth our full attention.

Meanwhile, AP sports writer Donald Blum is lauding what Mets manager Willie Randolph calls Deldgado’s “real cerebral approach.”

Delgado is not just a teammate – he’s also a teacher and motivator. He records each of his plate appearances in a notebook for future reference, as diligently as Curt Schilling marks down notes on hitters in a spiral-bound book.

“I had it for like probably 10 years,” Delgado said. “The last few years, it’s a habit. It’s part of my routine. I write it down, and at the end of the day I have a little bit more customized – for lack of a better term – scouting report. My memory’s not as good as it used to be, so I’ve got to write (stuff) down.”

I first became a Delgado fan when he refused to stand on the field during “God Bless America” in 2004 and 2005, a protest of the U.S.-Iraq war. That small gesture seemed to perfectly sum up what Delgado is all about. He’s both an athlete and a roll-model.

Now, if the Mets win the ALCS, he’ll most likely the the series MVP.

I find it interesting that this year, where the majority of playoff teams were franchises with low payrolls, the two biggest postseason stars have been Delgado and Magglio Ordonez, two guys who have had outstanding careers, but have managed to (to the extent possible) fly under the radar. Just goes to show, I guess, that having big talent is often better than having a big name.

No Responses to “A Man for all (post)seasons”

  1. Sarah Green says:

    It seems like a strange choice not to stand during God Bless America. Why that and not the Star-Spangled Banner? It rubs me the wrong way.

  2. Alejandro says:

    Too bad they LOST THE FUCKING GAME!!!

    Why didn’t Randolph didn’t bunt the runners over in the 9th?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!


  3. Nick Kapur says:

    This is one of those catches that would have entered baseball lore forever as a “game saving catch” if the Mets had won, but as it is now it will just be a footnote. Which is too bad, because it was a wonderful catch, even more so because it was in a pretty big spot.

    But I can’t say it was really up there with the great catches of all time. Just this season alone I can think of several catches that were better – Gary Matthews Jr.’s catch to rob a homer, Jim Edmonds diving onto the hill in center at Minute Maid, Carlos Beltran diving full out in right center, and Ryan Freel crashing into the chain link fence at Minute Maid – and those are just off the top of my head.

    I suppose it depends on how you define what a great catch is.  If you give lots of extra credit for playoff situations or something, then perhaps Endy’s catch jumps up a bit, but to me a great catch involves a combination of a player maximizing his range to the utmost and then finishing off with dazzling athleticism, perfect timing, and perhaps some sacrificing of the body.  Chavez’s catch had some good timing and athleticism, but he was kind of jogging as he approached the wall, and he landed on two feet, for goodness sakes.  Not that there was anything he could have done better on that particular play, and like I said, it was a wonderful catch, but I wasn’t completely wowed out of my chair or anything.

  4. Sarah Green says:

    BUT, Nick, if Chavez had fallen down, he might not have been able to turn the catch into a DP. I like a diving, tumbling, stumbling catch as much as the next girl, but the truth of the matter is that a play sometimes looks hard because the player is making it look hard. Example: an amazing diving catch that makes up for the fact that the centerfielder misread the ball off the bat. A talented and smart player instead makes the game look easy.

    Not that this catch looked easy—just that you don’t necessarily get extra points, in my book, for falling down at the end. (Of course, you do end up on the highlight reel.)

  5. Nick Kapur says:

    Look, I’m certainly aware that certain players I won’t name get on the highlight reel all the time for making diving catches that a better player would have made easily without a dive.

    Okay, I’ll name one, just as an example: Eric Byrnes.

    But sometimes a player reads the ball perfectly, gets the best possible jump, and still has to dive or leap to make the catch. Those are the truly great catches – the ones where you say, WOW, 99 percent of players couldn’t and wouldn’t have made that catch!

  6. Coley Ward says:

    Nick’s right: the Gary Matthews catch from earlier this season was a better catch than Chavez’s catch.
    But I stand by my love of the Brian Giles catch from 2003, when he took a full stride up the left field wall and caught the ball over his shoulder, taking away a sure home run. I mean, it was just amazing.
    Oh, and Aaron Rowand’s nose breaker. Seriously, what a badass.

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