So we’re four days into the new baseball season and several things are clear: the Mets obviously took last year’s NLCS loss to the Cardinals pretty hard, Ben Sheets and Felix Hernandez might live up to the hype, and the Pittsburgh Pirates might have a nice little club.
After knocking off the Astros 5-4 last night in Houston, the Pirates finished a three-game road sweep, in which they came from behind to win every game. It was their first three-game sweep in Houston since 1991. Coming off of their 14th straight losing season, this has to make Pittsburgh fans feel pretty darn good about themselves. The thing that kills us, is that the two catalysts for this sudden surge are two former Padres who McD and I miss terribly, Jason Bay and Xavier Nady.
McD’s love for Jason Bay was chronicled in our Bloggers’ Favorite Baseball Players post, and though we think Brian Giles is a decent dude and an OK player, we miss Jason and want him back. Can we get a “do-over” on that trade? Seriously, it pains us to look at Bay’s stats.
Adding to this frustration is Nady’s early emergence. After a storied career at Cal, where he broke tons of Pac-10 records, the Padres drafted and groomed Nady, only to have Bruce Bochy not play him when he reached the show – hey Bruce we miss you, no really we do. So Nady was eventually shipped to the Mets for Gold-Glover Mike Cameron, before being sent to Pittsburgh late last year. Now we love Cameron, but Nady is an example of a guy who we touted as the next big thing for years before not giving him a chance and moving him along. So basically he was Jason Bay part 2.
So far this season, Nady is hitting .333 with 2 HRs, 3 RBI, slugging .917 and has scored 4 runs. That includes a home run off of Brad Lidge to tie the game, with two outs in the ninth, on opening night (before Bay hit the game winning home run in the top of the 10th). Nady also had the eventual game-winning RBI in Tuesday’s win as well.
As for Bay, all he’s done since being traded to the Pirates in late 2003 is win the Rookie of the Year in 2004 and be a two time All-Star, ho-hum. But we’re not bitter at all, because the Padres really didn’t need his 32 HRs, 44 doubles, 101 RBI and .306 average in 2005, or his 35 HRs, 109 RBI and .286 average last year. No, we like our anemic offense, it has given us character. We feel we’re better people because of it. We’re not at all like obsessed ex-boyfriends who constantly check in on how they’re doing and never get over it. And this year, when we win the N.L. West (screw the Dodgers, don’t buy the hype) and get swept out of the playoffs, we’ll totally be the bigger men and feel good for Jason and Xavier that they’ve moved on and are happy.