2008 Season Recap: Jim Edmonds
It may shock you to read this, but I don't actually hate a whole lot of things in the world. I find hatred to to require too much energy and effort, and it does me no good to be angry and raging at somebody or something while powerless to change things. And no, you haven't stumbled across Deep Thoughts with Kurt; I'm mentioning it because some people probably think that I hated Jim Edmonds before - and shortly after - he was traded to the Cubs early this past season.
Edmonds, after all, is a part of The Enemy. He wore Cardinal Red for a number of years, putting up Almost Hall of Fame numbers while making game-changing catches in center field. He won a World Championship in that town, he grabbed some male genitals, and between wearing creepy looking belly shirts, I'm pretty sure that there were times when he had less-than-enthusiastic things to say about Cub fans. But I promise you, I didn't hate him.
Jim Edmonds ... uh ... trips into a teammate
Jim Edmonds, fresh from his latest belly wax
I mean no disrespect. There's nothing wrong with being... comfortable with one's body, and the bodies of others. Simply put, the reason I opposed the acquisition of Jimmy Edmonds was because I thought he was done. No, he was beyond done. He was donner than OJ after that Vegas fiasco, if "donner" is even a word (and I know it's not, I'm exercising verbal liberty here).
After all, Edmonds had 90 at bats to prove himself in San Diego, and all he managed was an average of .178 - a full 34 points below his listed weight - and a solitary homerun. But as I wrote a few days back, 90 at bats are often not enough to determine if a player has what it takes anymore - or ever at all - and in the case of Jim Edmonds, he still had some game left for the Cubs.
He was also proof that in baseball, loyalty belongs to That Guy What Signs My Paycheck. The moment he signed with Chicago, Edmonds was pooping Cubbie Blue.* He was criticizing the Cardinals. It appeared as though he might have fisticuffs with his former manager Tony LaRussa. And more importantly, he hit the ever-loving crap out of the ball.
(*Hmm. "Pooping Cubbie Blue," or PCB for short. I think I've just found the name of my next website)
He was still old, still with limited range, and still oddly creepy looking, but when he was able to shrug off the soreness and limitations of age, Jim Edmonds was a huge, huuuuyyuuuuge asset to the Cubs. In 85 games, he batted .256 with an OBP of .369 and an OPS of .937. He hit 17 doubles - 2 more than his full season's production in St. Louis in 2007, and in 115 fewer at bats - 19 homeruns (7 more than last year) and he drew 45 walks (4 more than last year).
In fact, because of Edmonds, the Cubs had the 3rd most production from center field of any team in baseball.
I never hated the guy. I hated the signing because I thought he was done. I was angry that he was in Chicago because I thought it was a waste of resources. I expressed considerable disbelief because, well, I simply didn't believe that he'd produce. But after more than half a season in Chicago pinstripes, I have my fair share of appreciation for the man some call Lassie.
I'm also extremely pleased that he won't be returning. Lightning rarely strikes twice, and as grateful as we should be for the 2008 Jim Edmonds, the guy is turning 39 next year, he's got nagging foot injuries, and he grabs mancrotch. It's time to let him go and look for solutions elsewhere, which appears to be exactly what the Cubs are doing.