Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ronny Cedeno's Post-Walk Off Beat Down

You are Ronny Cedeno. You play for the Pittsburgh Pirates. It's the end of an epically-bad season, and you're playing the slightly-less-doomed Arizona Diamondbacks. It's been a turbulent season for everyone on the team, but you wear your emotions on your sleeve and the impact of such a losing streak hit you especially hard. At one point you were benched for weeks straight, essentially losing your starting job to a utility man. However, you settled down, got another chance, and capitalized. Crosby is now gone, and neither Diaz nor Ciriaco can compete with your offensive prowess. You never fulfilled the Cubs' high expectations of you while you rose through their minor system, but those days are far behind you. You rank fifth in the national leagues in terms of fielding and range for your position, and fourth in terms of assists; this is nothing to be ashamed of, expectations be damned.
Recently you have solidified your position as starting short stop for 2011 and you're feeling pretty good about yourself. Your power as a batter may have dwindled this year, but your OPS has jumped from .593 to .655 and your season average is at .247, a big increase from .208 in 2009.
On a chilly september evening, you hit a walk-off single. It's the second walk-off hit of your career, and the second of the season. Throughout the summer, you have watched so many of your peers attempt to solidify a position on the Pirates' roster and fail. You take comfort in knowing that you are one of the few exceptions.
You look towards the dugout. Twenty-five men are running in your direction, their roars of triumph going head to head with the blasts of the fireworks going off behind you. There aren't many fans in attendance tonight, but those who came out are all on their feet. They haven't had much to cheer for in the 2010 season, but for a short time the 18 losing years is gone from their minds. They are fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates, they are celebrating a win, and you gave it to them.
Your teammates grow closer and you raise your hands to your head. In time there will be hugs, but first you will be celebrated with fists. Ronny Cedeno, prepare yourself for the fisticuffs of victory.

And now, on with the photos.

Brian Burres on the mound.
A bird's-eye view of the Pirates dugout.

Adam Laroche at first base once again!
"The ball hit the bat, ump. It hit the bat right here."
Garrett Jones fails to field a ball.
Seconds earlier...
Tonight Walker proved that he is now officially affected by the mysterious discrepancy between the Pirates' performance at home and on the road. After going 0-14, he got two big hits tonight.

Adam Laroche gives the evil eye to the umpire.
Not out at second.

Ronny Cedeno gives thanks to God after his first hit of the evening.
Still not out at second.

James McDonald enjoys a twizzler.
James McDonald and Chris Snyder observe the Hotdog Launch girls.

Ryan Doumit rounds the bases after a game-tying home run.

McCutchen safe at home plate for the game-winning run.

Here comes the pain....

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