During the Cardinals' recent stretch of offensive offensiveness, the most glaring hole in the lineup has been, without question, Rick Ankiel
. Coming into the season, Ankiel was seen as a potential 35 home run threat in the middle of the lineup.
There were those who said the Cardinals would be crazy to let Dick walk, that they should simply pony up whatever ransom Scott Boras was planning on asking for to keep Ankiel in the only uniform he had ever worn. There were even those, god help us, who yelled for the Cardinals to deal Colby Rasmus while his value was at its highest. After all, the team already had a center fielder for the next six or seven years; why keep the kid around?
Well, two months into the season, I think it has become abundantly clear why trading away Rasmus would have been an epically bad idea for the Cardinals. Ankiel has been hurt quite a bit of the time, and ineffective the rest. However, since returning to his home turf in Florida, there have been some signs of life from the man we like to call Swingin' Dick.
This week's card is a 1999 Rick Ankiel rookie card by Fleer. I'll be honest; no matter how good an outfielder Ankiel ever becomes, I'll never forgive him for wasting that arm.
In three games against the Florida Marlins
, Ankiel went 8-13, with two doubles, a triple, and a home run. Not too bad, really, for a three-game series. Hell, that's pretty good production for a week of games. And if that doesn't deserve a card of the week, then I don't know what does.
Of course, we then have to ask the question of whether Rick is honestly turning it around, or just had a hot series worth of at-bats. The answer, I'm afraid, is that he probably just had a few hot games. Tough to say, really, but considering that Ankiel struck out twice today and drew only a single walk in the entire series, I just can't bring myself to say that all of Dick's troubles are over. Still, end of struggles or just a couple of good days, it's certainly better to see Ank smacking the ball around the park instead of waving weakly at breaking balls in the dirt.