There's a potential good news baseball story emerging that could be a welcome respite from the bittersweet Barry Bonds' home run record tale.
The St. Louis Cardinals are reportedly calling up Rick Ankiel, the man already part of baseball lore as one of those rare cases where a player completely loses the ability to throw the ball straight. Ankiel was a pitching phenomâ€”described by some as a talent rivaling Sandy Koufaxâ€”who blew up during the 2000 playoffs and eventually was forced to stop pitching.
Ankiel, always a tremendous athlete and good hitter, tried to salvage his careeer as an outfielder in a move most thought was futile. Well, he's 28 years old now and is leading AAA baseball with 32 home runs and 89 RBI. And he's a very good outfielder with a howitzer arm.
Ankiel (who vaguely resembles a younger Eric Zorn, the Chicago Tribune columnist/blogger pictured above right) still has some plate discipline issues, but it will be interesting to see if he can successfully transition back to MLB. I'm sure part of the press horde that was following Bonds around will descend on St. Louis this weekend as Ankiel dons the uniform the first time as a Cardinals' outfielder.