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Mario Mendoza

If 2003 turns out to be the year the Chicago Cubs win the World Series, that's one thing. If it's the Boston Red Sox, that's a seriously big deal too. Obviously.

58 saves for Eric Gagne would be something, as would 660 home runs or a sixth MVP for Barry Bonds.

Yeah, sure, Roger Clemens hanging it up is kinda memorable and everything about the Detroit Tigers is cool, but Mario Mendoza has been waiting for company for a long long time, and now that he's getting it, it's big news.

So the guy hit .215 lifetime. BFD. Lots of shortstops hit .215 lifetime. Juan Castro's made a career out of hitting .215 lifetime (.211 actually,) and gets credit for being a "slick fielding shortstop" when he's really not just because compared to his bat, his glove looks freaking awesome. (Shortstops are all too often considered great glove men for this reason, but that's another column. A boring column, no doubt, but another one.)


Castro also has the distinction of being the worst hitter in Los Angeles Dodger history, excluding pitchers, even with that .250 breakout season of 1995. One for four if you must know.

And yet Mario Mendoza is the player whose name is forever associated with the weak-hitting little-infielder. .215 lifetime, OK, .215 for God's sake! It's not all that bad. The guy played major league baseball for ten years. He's worthy of more than a pension.

Andy Ashby, on the other hand, is not. Ashby took the Dodgers for $21 million. $21 for 14 wins. No pension for that guy, OK, no clubhouse meal, no free chewing tobacco. $21 million should suffice.

If it seems like I'm laboring to make a point, forgive me. I just spent three years watching Ashby "pitch" in Los Angeles. That's three years hard labor.

If we can't take "The Mendoza Line" reference away from Mario Mendoza and give it to Juan Castro or Scott Fletcher or Rey Ordonez, let's at least give Mario a partner. That MLB pension ain't what it oughta be.

Fine, "The Mendoza Line" is part of the sports lexicon and here to stay. The Rookie of the Year Award is named for Jackie Robinson, which is great and makes complete sense. "The Ashby Start" is as fitting as the other two and is about to happen. Bud Selig has the proposal on his desk now and is expected to rule on it before deciding the Pete Rose thing. Go Bud.

"The Ashby Start" is a better name for the quality start than the quality start, and it's about time MLB made it official. A huge story. Three runs in six innings? What the hell is that? Quality? I don't think so. That's not quality, that's Andy Ashby.

"The Ashby Start." Gotta be.

By the way, what are we betting? Ashby signs with San Diego by mid-November and opens up the new yard first thing. Mark it down…

Nice to see Phil Mickelson and the Tigers working out together. Opens up all kinds of opportunity for insults. Stay tuned…

Look-alikes: Al Rosen and Tom Smothers…

Look-alikes: Eric Gagne and that guy who won the "Eric Gagne Look-Alike Contest..."

When I was a kid, I thought Al Kaline was responsible for the Alkaline battery. Guys had to work during the off season in those days you know, and I thought maybe making batteries was Kaline's gig...

Remember, glove conquers all....

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