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.