This was supposed to be a post about the outrage of the New York City government banning metal baseball bats throughout the greater New York Metropolitan area. Assuming MLB doesn’t start paying for wooden bats for young/poor people to use (they won’t) baseball has all but conceded the NY-metro area to basketball and lacrosse. I’ve said my piece on this. New York will probably never produce great players such as Manny Ramirez, Sandy Koufax, or Danny Almonte ever again.
Also, you might think Danny Almonte doesn’t belong in that list of New York baseball legends, but you would be wrong. Fantastically, horrifically, wrong. So what if he did
For those of you too young, too divested, or too A.D.D. to remember, Danny Almonte was the ace left-hander for the Rolando Paulino All-Stars. Outside of having the most egomaniacal team name in the history of organized sports, and no one on the team being able to speak English, this plucky band played on the outskits of Yankee Stadium which, natually, endeared them to the entire country. When the tournament came around, Almonte was already a phenom, having embarassed opposing teams in regional tournaments across the northeast. Armed with a 75 mph fastball (or roughly half the speed of sound** on a little league mound), a Randy Johnson-esque slider, and the intimidation factor of a man-child who has started masturbating more frequently and not solely experimentation purposes, Almonte annihilated the competition.
He finished with a freakish stat line of 3 GS, 27IP, 46K, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER. If that isn't the stuff of legends, then you show me what is. So what if Almonte was at the very least two years older than his competition? And speaking of NYC public school districts, who cares if Almonte didn’t even go to school? It's not like he would have learned anything anyway. I don’t care who you are, if you strike out more guys than Carl Pavano has pitched to in the past two years, you are officially gangsta. If Corey Lidle was still alive, could he put up a stat line like that? I don’t think so.
Regardless of anything remotely sane, by now we should know that age limits don’t mean a thing when it comes to baseball. Albert Pujols has the hairline of a 35 year old. We already mentioned El Duque. Julio Franco helped build the ark. Jessie Orosco is in the majors somewhere, isn’t he? In the Dominican Republic and Cuba, players routinely lie about being younger to seem like better prospects. The only mistake Almonte made was that he lied in the wrong direction. It didn't stop him from marrying a 30 year old, that's for sure. If anything, all of this should only increase his legend status.
Nowadays, Danny Almonte is pitching in for the Frontier League Miners, his legend status witheld from him by a stupid tradition that holds things like "cheating" and "fraud" in disregard. This is wrong! Madness, even. For a stretch of time, Almonte was one of the best young pitchers on the planet. He deserves to be in the pantheon of great ballplayers coming out of the New York area. Let's just hope in light of the new ban that he's not the last.
*Take a look at the old school ESPN site!
**Come on, we all need a little lameness in our lives.