Yes, that's right, everyone. I'm going to rub some more salt in this old wound.
Back in 2007, when Rick Porcello was but a gleam in the eye of hyperventilating prospect geeks everywhere, the Cardinals had the chance to draft him. They were picking 18th overall in the draft that year, and lo and behold, the player almost every scouting publication had a lead pipe lock to be something special was sitting right there. So what did the Cardinals do?
They drafted Pete Kozma.
And guess what? Drafting Pete Kozma was, in the words of Gob Bluth, a huge mistake.
It wasn't a mistake because of the fact Kozma was seen as a decent, but underwhelming, performer. It wasn't a mistake because Porcello was projected to be truly special.
It wasn't a mistake because two years later, Porcello is already holding his own in the majors for the Detroit Tigers at 20 years old, while Kozma is 21 and OPSing .588 at Double A, and has seen his vaunted defense turn into 20 errors on the season.
It wasn't even a mistake because the Cardinals want to develop their own players, and yet passed on what was agreed was a sure thing because he was too expensive.
No, none of those things are really why passing on drafting Rick Porcello was such a huge mistake.
See, just last night, the Tigers were taking on the Boston Red Sox, and Miguel Cabrera, the Detroit slugger, got plunked with a pitch. Porcello, starting for the Tigers, then did what pitchers do the next half inning and hit Youkilis, right square in the back. Hey, it's how things are done in baseball, right? The players handle their business, and make sure their teammates aren't going to be abused.
Well, on this particular night, Youkilis apparently didn't take too kindly to being hit, and went into some sort of orangutan berserker frenzy. He charged the mound, and on the way, took off his helmet and threw it at Porcello.
First off, that's a clear violation of mound-charging protocol right there. If you, as a hitter, decide for whatever reason you just absolutely, positively, have to charge the mound, you do not ever, every, under any circumstance, take your bat with you, or attempt to use your helmet as a weapon. Of course, I'm not sure Kevin Youkilis has fully human intelligence rattling around in that big ol' simian skull of his, so this may be a bit beyond him.
So there's Youkilis, charging the mound and throwing his helmet, all the while I'm sure bellowing like some sort of large jungle creature, and what does Rick Porcello, god among men, do? He backpedals about four steps, trying to avoid what is clearly going to be an ugly confrontation, then, seeing no way to get around it, simply grabs Youkilis and just sort of suplexes his ass right onto the ground. No muss, no fuss, just put him right the fuck down. It was like whenPedro Martinez tossed Don Zimmeron the canvas, er, I mean ground, a couple years ago, except even cooler, because it wasn't a 70 year old man getting fucked up.
Now let me tell you something: any man who can put Kevin Youkilis on the ground justlikethat is fine by me. That's a dude I want on my team. And you know what else? I just don't think Pete Kozma is going to be putting Kevin Youkilis on the ground any time soon.
My only real regret is Porcello didn't go for a flashier move. Maybe something like Mr. Perfect's Perfect Plex, or the Undertaker's finishing move - I think it was called the Tombstone? Even a backbreaker. Oh, well. In my head, Porcello not only lifted Youkilis above his head and pressed him several times, Ultimate Warrior style, but he then ran around the diamond, cupping his hand to his ear in order to more properly hear the crowd. Dustin Pedroia runs out and hits Porcello with a steel chair, but it doesn't hurt him. No, he shrugs off the repeated chair blows, shaking his head in an ass-kicking rage, and then picks up Pedroia! Porcello holds him above his head, asking the crowd with his eyes if he should finish him off! The fans scream for blood, for justice, for an end to the douchebaggery of the Sox! Pedroia shakes his head wildly, pleading for mercy, but there will be no mercy here! And down Porcello slams the prone Pedroia, down onto the hulking wreck of Youkilis! Then the sound system in the stadium kicks in, and Joe Esposito's "You're the Best" blares through the night air, and Porcello runs to the guardrail in front of the dugout, climbs to the top, and holds the helmet of his fallen enemy high above his head as the crowd goes insane for the champion.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why the Cardinals should have drafted Rick Porcello.