On Thursday and Friday this week, Red Sox minor leaguer Ryan Westmoreland had five at bats in the Instructional League in the Dominican Republic. He grounded out twice, walked, struck out and was hit by a pitch. But he won, and he won big!
At about the same time Albert Pujols agreed to a 10 year contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim or is it the California Angels of Los Angeles? Whichever, one of them will be paying Mr. Pujols a reported $254,000,000 dollars! He won pretty big too.
In 2008 Ryan Westmoreland was the Red Sox fifth draft pick out of Portsmouth Rhode Island High School. He was twice the state of Rhode Island Gatorade Player of the Year! Foregoing a full scholarship to Vanderbilt, Ryan signed with the Red Sox for 1.6 million dollars. In 2009, he played with the Lowell Spinners of the New York Penn League and he hit .296 with 7 homers and 35 RBI in 60 games.
Unless you’ve been under a rock for 10 years, you know all about Albert Pujols. The staggering numbers, the sublime consistency, the majestic swing, the simple fact that for offensive production, his first ten years in baseball have been unmatched in the history of the game. His adoration in St. Louis was reminiscent of Stan “The Man” Musial, elite company indeed.
In March of 2010, doctors found a cavernous malformation in the area of Ryan’s brainstem. This condition which afflicts 1/2 of one percent of the population is a vascular abnormality of the Central Nervous System. Although some people can remain asymptomatic with this condition, Ryan required immediate surgery with the hopeful outcome that Ryan would simply survive and be “normal”.
On Friday Albert Pujols took out an ad in a St. Louis newspaper and in it wrote a letter to Cardinal fans. He thanked “each and every one of you sincerely from the bottom of my heart for the love and support you have shown to me and my family”. He stated that the community had “reached out and embraced me and for that I am truly humbled and grateful.” heartfelt sentiments to be sure but the majority of comments from the readers of the St. Louis Dispatch are doubting they are genuine.
The scouting report on Ryan Westmoreland reads, “patient and selective – waits for his pitch. Above average power potential with a terrific approach. Hits to all fields. Elite speed with excellent base-running skills. Strong arm with excellent outfield range. Very intelligent.” And in 2010, Baseball America projected him as a potential 30/30 player!
With all the love and support the good Cardinal fans showed Albert Pujols and his family, it was not enough to overcome the 254 mil the Angels waved at him. After all the Cardinals could only muster up a paltry 220 mil. Now, far be it from me to pooh-pooh three and a half million dollars a year but it does leave one wondering, how much is enough? I mean is all that love and support worth 3.5 million a year? Guess not! And now the Angels will join the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies as one of those “big market, rich” teams that people love to hate and root against!
In the spring of 2010, Ryan Westmoreland set a goal to take a live at bat by the end of 2011. Ryan Westmoreland had five live at bats this week and although his baseball future remains very much in doubt every baseball fan in America will be rooting for him! Ryan Westmoreland had five live at bats this week, he’s already won! He’s won big!
And so it is this week in Fenway Park history, December 2011.