Friday, August 26, 2016
Carlos Ruiz was us. Despite having the toughest job on the field, he seemed the most like one of us. He was our avatar on one of the most dominant teams in Philadelphia Phillies.
Look at the rest of the main cast of characters.
For five years, Ryan Howard was a beast who could hit balls farther, with more regularity, than any player in team history. And he always seemed to be on fire when it mattered most.
Chase Utley was basically a god. He was the player we wished we were and that our sons would become. He was almost perfect.
Jimmy Rollins had a brash Philadelphia swagger, but he brought so much more to the table. It's hard to imagine yourself as the leadoff-hitting shortstop who wins MVPs.
Pat Burrell was the hyped draft-pick who made good, but not great.
Cole Hamels. He was Hollywood.
Roy Halladay was the right hand of God.
Cliff Lee was God's left hand.
Jason Werth was a freak who looked like that stoner in your Sunday softball league. Except he was an MLB All-Star. He was a huge man, who could run like the wind.
Shane Victorino had the energy and enthusiasm of a young fan, but again, he could do things none of us could really imagine doing.
Then there was Chooch.
Carlos Ruiz wasn't a big guy. He wasn't a fast guy. He seemed like everyone's little brother, but he somehow had everyone's respect. He was the guy Roy Halladay admired. He had a rifle for an arm and tackled the toughest job on the field with aplomb for much of his tenure in Philadelphia.
But still, he didn't seem as godlike or distant as his teammates.
His biggest hit was a 15 foot roller out in front of home plate, that's the hit we could get if we had 100 at-bats. But his won a World Series game. His best season came after the team fell into decline.
I thought it was perfect that he was one of the last two players from the glory years to survive.
He deserved that. We deserved that.