Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Face of Baseball

Adam's pick gets into one
ESPN is running a story wondering who represents the true face of major league baseball. They seem to have settled on Derek Jeter, which was more than enough of a reason to fire up the topic on this blog. As you can see from the photo, I have selected Miguel Tejada as my choice - explanation to follow. Over the next few days, the rest of the Insider team will make their choices and hopefully we will find ourselves in a sweet debate. Feel free to join in the fun.


Ben said...

Where is the breakdown? Hello?

Anonymous said...

How can you argue with Jeter. He wins, he plays hard, and he's clutch. Baseball isn't all about stats and awards and Gold Gloves. He may not be the best player in the game - or the best player on his team - but nobody represents the true spirit of baseball better than the Yankees' captain.

Adam Hoff said...

Well, this never really materialized. Regardless, I'll make my case for Tejada. To me, you need to look at the big picture when deciding who should be the face of baseball. It needs to be someone young enough to carry the mantle for a while, which rules out Unit, Clemens, Bonds, and other older stars. It needs to be a player that represents baseball's globalization - the single biggest ongoing story in the sport - so American-born players are out. It should be somebody with a positive attitude and very little baggage. Someone who is agreeable with the press. And, preferably, it should be a position player, since they are out there every day.

To me, that leaves Ichiro, Vlad Guerrero, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Miguel Cabrera, Bobby Abreu, Alfonso Soriano, and Tejada. Abreu isn't a big enough star and Soriano still had a rough year last year, so they are probably out. My list looks like this:

6. Miguel Cabrera. Going with him is an investment in the future. I've got him right there with David Wright as the game's best players in 2012. He might be a tad too young to carry the sport though.

5. Ichiro. Appeals to a smaller baseball market and the mania has already crested. He's still popular and effective, but the time to ride the Ichiro Train has probably passed.

4. Vlad Guerrero. He might be number one if it wasn't for this tendency to get hurt. An awe-inspiring talent and a guy with a great personality, Guerrero is in the right market and plays for a winner. Can't go wrong with him.

3. David Ortiz. Big Papi is already a legend in Boston and will forever be remembered for reversing the curse with his majestic game-winning hits against the Yankees. He's affable and hilarious and loved by all. The big problem with Papi is that he doesn't play in the field.

2. Albert Pujols. Make this 1(B). The best hitter not named Bonds in the past 25 years, a tremendous person, and a guy that plays hard every day. He's in fan-friendly St. Louis and on his way to being one of the greatest offensive players of all time. His first three seasons rank among the greatest in the history of the game, and he is the only player in baseball to rank in the top five in his league in RBI for each of the past three years. He only loses to Tejada because of the charisma factor.

1. Miguel Tejada. He smiles, he laughs, he hugs his teammates. He has all of the infectious personality of Papi, the drive of Pujols, and the numbers to rival anyone. He's currently the lead candidate for AL MVP, already won the award in 2002, and has driven in well over 400 runs in the last 3 1/3 seasons. Plus, he mans arguably the most important position on the field. Tejada is my guy.