Sunday, March 16, 2008

Featured pickup
2007 Upper Deck Premier Patches Miguel Tejada patch card serial #'d 38/98 - I really believe Tejada is going to have a 'bounce back' season with the Houston Astros this year. It will be interesting to follow his statistics through the season because he might be in jail for lying about his involvement with steroids.

His batting average is probably going to hover around the .285 mark. He is going to hit around 20 home runs and drive in around 95 runs. His on-base percentage will probably be around .340, with his slugging percentage around .460. Those aren't great numbers, but post-steroid era, that is a decent year. I expect him to be as durable as he once was, especially when 2007 was a fluke as far as getting injured was concerned.

After signing a big free agent contract, Tejada toiled for some forgettable Baltimore Orioles' teams through this decade. While he was obscured in a number of ways, despite performing well, he is now is strictly seen as a 'has been' with a shady steroid past.

I picked the card up for $5 at a local show running two times a week. I thought it was a sharp card and I almost didn't care who was pictured, as long as it was an 'okay baseball player.'

Ironically, I saw a similar card last month, at a card show/fanfest the Seattle Mariners/San Diego Padres have in Peoria Arizona. It wasn't a good enough pick-up then at $5, because I thought the card is irrelevant. He's been traded the Astros and people had soured on him. Of course, a $10 Vladimir Guerrero patch card [from the same set] wasn't good enough either.

I do remember him when he was hitting his prime in Oakland, where he'd be as accomodating signer as anyone in the game, though his signature wasn't that great. I got a picture with him myself and a single-signed baseball. After his Oakland days, the autograph even got worse and he strictly dictated when and where he would sign.

Looking back, Tejada sort of falls under those players who lulled fans into 'believing the hype,' where he posted monster numbers through his prime. Maybe he wasn't a pure home run slugger, hitting 40-50 home runs, but a guy who fanboys may have projected monster career numbers for, because he was doing it for several seasons, not considering he was Mr. B-12/Mr. Steroids.

Update [4/18/08] - Tejada was ambushed by ESPN's E:60, but was caught in another lie when age was brought up and the E:60 correspondent actually had a copy of his birth certificate revealing he was born in 1974. What was Tejada supposed to say, when apparently the only thing noting his actual birth year was legal documents i.e. than his green card. Either the teams he played for were ignorant or it was common knowledge, not just to the general public, where available information on players can be inaccurate [i.e. height/weight].

I don't think it affects his playing career much at all. He might have been losing a step defensively but he was still pretty consistent - part of that maybe due to steroids/PEDs, but he played in 162 games a year, had something like 650 at-bats a year until he got hurt in 2007.

He got his big contract and he was worth the money he was being paid - if he was Jose Ortiz, then he'd be shining shoes back in the Dominican right now, but if he made it because of lying and possibly taking PEDS, he also made it in spite of it.

I was looking back when the Oakland Athletics brought him up to the Major Leagues in 1997 and while he was actually 23 and not 21, it would be in-line as far as the age an 'average' prospect is called up - someone in the Athletics' organization must have known his true age or else the organization would have waited perhaps a year or two later.

What this incident really does, is just adds onto the distrust fans have for particular [types?] of players - what else is he lying about or players of his ilk lying about? Fans don't care about your hardships in trying to make it unless you are Josh Hamilton, great hope, et al. It wouldn't be a leap for them to assume Tejada was lying about the steroids/PEDS he might or might not have been using.

Next up: Vladimir Guerrero and Albert Pujols

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