Welcome to the bigs Harrison Bader. You’ve got some small shoes to fill if you want true love from the St. Louis baseball faithful.
While you were ripping doubles, burning down the line on a routine ground ball to short, and tracking balls in the outfield like a young Rex Hudler I received a text from the only man alive that loves Ray Lankford as much as I do, Tom “T$” Bartels. His text read, “Your Next article, 'Is Harrison Bader the next Bo Hart?'”
Bo Hart, your inexplicable omnipresence in STL baseball society is baffling to me.
For the record, if Harrison Bader is the next Bo Hart, that means he is a far-below-average baseball player with a career that spans 88 games, 309 at bats, 4 home runs, 30 RBIs and an OPS of .698. Bo Hart was good for a month, and then horrific as a hitter. After his comet streak across the Midwestern sky late in 2003 he was called back up in the pennant winning season of 2004 to contribute less to the Cards than I can contribute to a conversation about hair care products.
St. Louisans still love Bo Hart as much as a toasted rav topped Imo’s Pizza. They still love the likes of Gary Bennent, Stubby Clap, Aaron Miles and Craig Paquette. We love those scrappy little fellas, all filled with heart and hustle signifying next to nothing. They’re of little consequence and have some moments, but never true impact on a winning club. Then, us, the self-proclaimed Best Fans In Baseball, the smartest fans in any stadium hate, I repeat, display true hate towards players that actually have an impact.
The things I have heard in and out of Busch about players like Juan Encarnación, Ron Gant, Edgar Renteria and Tino Martinez are mind boggling. We hate good players simply because they aren’t great, but we love poor players because every once in a solar eclipse they have a good moment. If this is you my friend, then you don’t know squat about baseball. You love Aaron Miles and hold a deep loathing of Juan Encarnación. Do you love hustle and absolutely hate actual production if it comes from guy who isn’t “trying hard enough” in your eyes? Do you love a guy who burns down the line after hitting a weak dribbler to short and hate a guy who glides in the OF and gets you 19 bombs and 79 RBIs?
Look, I loved the film Rudy as much as the next guy. When Samwise Gamgee sacked that QB my heart soared like a Stubby Clap pop out to third. But you know what I like more? Results. Hustle only gets you so far, talent and skill gets you results. Give me talent over hustle any day. Hustle will give you a moment, talent will win you a World Series. You can teach hustle, you can’t teach talent. Talent is natural, a gift from the baseball gods above. Hustle is the thing guys with little talent tout as true virtue and worth. Talent gets you titles.
I’m not sure the true reason behind loving the Gary Bennents, Stubby Claps, Aaron Mileseseses, and Craig Paquettes of the Redbird Nation and hating the Juan Encarnacións, Ron Gants, Edgar Renterias, and Tino Martinezs? But to me, it is borderline idiotic.
We love those scrappy little fellas that provide nothing but fleeting moments of OK, and Bo Hart is the king of the crew. Long may he reign.
P.S. I know you just repeated “Long may he reign.” Good on ya.
P.P.S The All-Time Scrap team is coming…