The non-paradox of being a fan:
- I don’t think Aaron Rowand is suddenly good, as if 26 at-bats in April are suddenly more illuminating than the the 331 at-bats from last season.
- I hope Aaron Rowand is suddenly good, with the 26 at-bats in April representing the fruits of a new approach or commitment or diet or Faustian bargain.
Both can be true. Not mutually exclusive. And it’s useless to argue against Rowand right now, what with his penchant for walk-offs and well-timed hits in the young season. Heck, he did this at the beginning of last season too, here and here. He has had his moments in a Giants uniform, for sure.
Just don’t get sucked up into the Velez vacuum. Don’t forget, Eugenio Velez was good for 15 games once. At no point did he stop being Eugenio Velez. His driver’s license had the same picture, his mail was sent to the same place, and he was still likely to lose his car keys in a toaster. The same goes for Rowand. There’s a chance -- a good chance -- that the rest of the league will receive a "Mission: Impossible"-style dossier, open the envelope, find a piece of paper that reads "SLIDER" in 72-point font, and things will return to normal.
But it’s not a bad thing to root for Rowand at the same time. Roll your eyes if you want, but he really did handle his demotion like a professional. He was paid to be a middle-of-the-order hitter, and he lost his job to a minor league free agent. As the rest of his teammates were contributing to an amazing, special run, he was the last man off the bench. And he didn’t make a peep. That’s the game, he’d say. You just have to keep yourself ready. Pick your spots. Sometimes you run into the walls, and sometimes the walls run into you. He waited patiently, got another chance, and now he’s doing what he needs to do in order to maximize that chance.
- Not buying it.
- Taking a pamphlet and the salesman’s business card because he seems earnest and likable.
The best-case scenario might be that Rowand plays his way into the realm of tradeability, like Vernon Wells did last year. Wait, no, the best case is .309/.374/.515 with 27 homers, which is what got him the silly deal in the first place. Heck, that’s a good thing to hope for. It’s more rational to hope for a Rowbound than it was to root for Andres Torres and Aubrey Huff to be worthy of MVP votes in a championship season. That doesn’t mean that it’s especially rational, though.