Oh, what a rollercoaster is this thing called life. Cliche, I know, but it's the best I have in my current state of mind.
Just about 24 hours to the moment of being excited beyond reasonable measure by the debut of Stephen Strasburg, I'm back in the dumps again thanks to the latest developments with Jesus Flores.
In case you missed it (it is in all the reports from Florida): Left camp, off to see Dr. Andrews, rehab there for 10-14 days. There's some positive spin quotes coming from the usual suspects and I don't believe a single one of them.
I'm now convinced beyond all doubt that Flores will not play a single game anywhere in 2010. Very sad for him. Very sad for us fans, too. I think most are like me, looking forward to seeing Jee-sus throw to Jesus many times.
Flores captured my fancy early. Something about him I like, a certain toughness he showed at and behind the plate. Again, falling back on my ignorance of the new math, I'm not sure the actual numbers support me. I fall back on my own metric - I enjoy watching him play.
During May, 2008, I devoted a blog post to a pair of plays that spoke of the savvy this kid has, one on either side. Most of you will remember them. On defense, he moved up the line just a tad to catch a ball then retreated into perfect position to block the plate and keep some Phillie from scoring. On offense, he went head first and controlled his body perfectly to get home safely around the tag of a well-positioned Brian Schneider.
I watched in Shea Stadium in 2007 as he threw out Reyes and Milledge one afternoon, thanking the cursing Mets fan next to me for letting him get away. I sat in the left field seats in Seattle in 2008 as his game-winning home run sailed straight at me, ultimately landing a couple rows short but over the fence.
The kid can play. I'm not sure I saw multiple All-Star berths in his future, as some did. That's OK. I saw a guy who could catch 125-130 games a year for a long time, hit for a decent average, deliver frequently in the clutch and handle himself behind the plate.
He's also, by all accounts, a quality young man and that's important to me, too.
So I'm sad on many levels that what was first reported to be a very short-term injury is turning into a very long-term injury. For Flores most important, I hope things somehow start working out and he can get back to playing. For me, as well as my fellow fans, I hope the same thing. Flores adds to the positive experience of being a fan. A lot.
I want to add this, too, and admit up front I may be way off base. I probably shouldn't type when I'm in this state of mind. But something about all the recent developments/stories just isn't passing the smell test with me, going back to the story Chico (the Writer) did a couple of weeks ago. I concede in this line of thinking that the problem may well be with Flores. Maybe he didn't make it clear enough how he felt or what was going on. Maybe he tried to do too much too soon. Or, maybe, just maybe, the fault lies on the other end. Someone charged with figuring this kind of thing out missed the call very badly.
One day, I hope we know the full story. I hope Mark, Adam, Ben, Bill and any other reporter down there pursues it hard and finds out what really went on.
But the bigger hope is that Flores somehow returns to 100 percent health, and soon.