Rick Ankiel. The bane of the Cardinals’ post-season existence in 2000. He was the Wild Pitch Machine, throwing 9 wild pitches in 2 post-season games. He flitted in and out of the majors in the next couple years until he finally had to give up the pitching ghost. However, he was always a good hitter and this year the Cardinals invited him to spring training as an outfielder. Tonight was his major league debut as an outfielder and in the bottom of the 7th inning, after a pop up and two strikeouts, Rick Ankiel hit a 3-run homer to right field. It was glorious. It was beautiful. He got a huge standing ovation and I cried in my living room. I haven’t wished for someone to hug so badly since October 27th, 2006. Congratulations, Rick! Welcome back.
High fives for everyone!
PS: Will Leitch got last-minute tickets to this game and was hurrying to get there. He missed Ankiel’s first at-bat, but I got this text message from Will while he was in a cab en route to the stadium: “I will be there in time for the homer.” Lucky, lucky bastard.
Ankiel gets a hug from LaRussa.