Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Lind Stays Positive During Difficult Times

I am a HUGE baseball fan. I love the Cubs especially, but I also enjoy following certain players. The one player I follow the most closely is Adam Lind, who I went to high school with. He was an amazing talent in high school and I knew he could be successful in baseball, but even I didn't think he'd get to where he is today so fast. He got drafted in the 8th round out of high school by the Minnesota Twins but opted to go to school and play baseball at South Alabama. After a couple years there he was drafted in the 3rd round by the Toronto Blue Jays. Since that time he has consistently hit with a high batting average and pretty good power numbers as well. He flew through the minor leagues and was a September call up to the big league team in 2006. Injuries gave Lind an opportunity to play for half the year in 2007 with the Blue Jays and he finally found himself going though some difficulties. He posted decent power numbers, especially for a rookie, but he only hit .238 on the year which was well below his average.

2008 figured to be the year Adam Lind broke out in a big way, but that hasn't happened yet. He started in AAA where he absolutely killed the ball. The Blue Jays were struggling offensively so they got rid of Frank Thomas, possibly a future Hall of Famer, to give Adam Lind a chance to play every day in Left Field. He was called up two weeks ago and assured by the manager that the position was his for the foreseeable future. Well it looks like that future is now, because Lind has been benched in favor of aging veteran S. Stewart. Lind got off to a terrible start offensively and didn't provide the offensive spark the Blue Jays were hoping he would. The manager Gibbons likes Lind but said publicly that Lind isn't hitting and he needs to put what he feels is the best team out there. The fact is that Gibbon's job is on the line. If he doesn’t win RIGHT NOW, meaning if he has one bad week, he could be gone. They are in a tough division, they spent a lot of money in the off season, they have a great pitching staff, and they are expected to contend in one of the toughest divisions in baseball.

In my humble opinion, two weeks is not enough time to make a decision on Lind. He tore up AAA, and he's shown that he can hit at the Major League level. He is much better defensively than Stewart and Stewart is hitting around .250 himself which is not great by any means. So why is Lind really sitting on the bench? Shortly before Lind got called up, there was wide speculation that the Blue Jays wanted to bring Lind up sooner, but if Lind plays a certain amount of games he would become a Rule 5 player, which basically means he would soon be eligible for arbitration (Blue Jays would have to pay him more money). Baseball is a business, and unfortunately that means that sometimes players and fans get a raw deal. Throughout this all, Adam has remained classy and understanding. It would be easy to get frustrated in this situation, but he has always taken things in stride and looked at the positives. He knows that all he can do is go out there and play his best and hardest and eventually good things will happen. Adam is undoubtedly disappointed. He made some remarks about the situation and basically sounded really depressed that he wasn’t able to come up and get hits and all he wants to do is stay with the big league team and help contribute. He is completely unselfish and talked about how happy he is that the team is on a 4 game winning streak. I just wish they’d give him a chance.

I followed his progress from high school until now and I must admit that as proud I am about his success on the field, I'm even more proud of the person he is off the field. I always remember him as a fun guy to be around. I remember he wasn't the smartest in math and he'd ask me for help - I remember thinking about having him sign my math homework or something because I knew one day he'd be a star. While he hasn't entirely broken through and become a star at the highest level yet, his time will come. He may be headed back to AAA soon, but he will be back.

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