It's a fine line between reviled postseason dud and regular-season legend-hero. A fine line.
I remember the first time that Pat Burrell was mentioned here.
My wife recently went to a charity fundraiser, where she met several baseball players, including Pat Burrell. Yesterday, I found a prescription of azithromycin in the medicine cabinet. Can you please let me know what that is normally prescribed for?
Whoops. that's his first mention on WebMD. Here's what I wrote on McCovey Chronicles after he signed:
That's about right. Didn't merit a mention. Posey came up the same day, after all. Burrell went to Fresno, where he was going to hit .230/.310/.450 and never be seen again. It was even a bit of a surprise that he signed at all. A recap of what Burrell did to get released despite accounting for 87% of the Rays' payroll:
That was the line put up by a guy who runs and fields like he's giving birth to a Vespa. I'm not sure what that means, but picture a man giving birth to a motorized scooter, breathing frantically and crying out for help as a midwife holds his hand, and you have a pretty accurate visual. The year before? He hit .221/.315/.367. That wasn't good for one of the worst five WAR totals in the AL in 2009 -- that tier was reserved for Jose Guillen and Aubrey Huff -- but it was close.
I could write a detailed account of what happened next, or I could just let Pat Burrell talk a bit.
Pat Burrell, for just over a half-season, was the greatest hero in San Francisco Giants history, except for all of the other ones. In between seasons where the Giants featured a historically awful offense, Pat Burrell was the complementary middle-of-the-order hitter that the Giants had been looking for since, oh, Jeff Kent left. And he cost the Giants less than half of the salary they paid to Brandon Medders.
He then re-signed with the Giants for $1 million -- or what Todd Wellemeyer made as a Giant -- because he felt like it. He wanted to play and pulled a number from twixt his buttcheeks. The Giants chortled a little bit before agreeing, and he played.
Even though he didn't have the best season this past year (.352 OBP, though), or the best postseason last year, is there any way to remember Pat Burrell any way but fondly? Wait, put your hand down, Rays fans. Just meant Giants fa ... okay, yes, ma'am, that is a good reason not to remember him fondly. I'm sure those stains aren't coming out.
No, no. I said fondly not "fondling." Yeah, no problem. I can see how you'd make that mistake. Right.
There are a lot of ways to think about the crazy time when everything came together for the Giants, with Andres Torres coming out of nowhere, Madison Bumgarner regooding, and a rookie catcher to lead them all. But the Rays letting go a DH who couldn't H, and the Giants picking him up even though he wasn't supposed to be able to field, is pretty unlikely. The Giants shouldn't have been interested. But they were.
This reads like a farewell post because it kind of is. He's just a few months older than Ryan Vogelsong and Andres Torres, but his foot is too screwy to return. Also, he probably ages like Don Draper more than Julio Franco. Just a guess. Before last year, I thought that Andres Galarraga would hold the record for part-season Giants player who gets the most retrospective love from Giants.
It's not even close now. Burrell, Burrell, Burrell. Thank you, Pat Burrell. He had 202 games as a Giant -- the exact same total as Todd Benzinger! --but he'll always be a part of Giants history. Now pass the Kleenex, dammit.
Because I'm crying, you sick freak. Never mind.