You remember Rick Ankiel right? The guy that was a pitcher, flames out, then somehow refined his game and turned into an everyday outfielder with 30 homerun potential?
Yeah, that guy who had that infamous blowup in the playoffs years ago for the Cardinals has repented for his sins with the Atlanta Braves years later by essentially saving their season with a game winning home run versus San Francisco last night. His eleventh inning home run capped off a furious rally by Atlanta that began with a three-run eighth inning to tie the game.
It was Ankiel who finished the job, and saved the Braves from an 0-2 deficit like the Rays, Twins and Reds and has given them a realistic shot at continuing their playoff run.
Apparently Ankiel has become a master at taking advantage of second opportunities.
Ankiel was given another opportunity this year after being acquires in what seemed like a meaningless deadline deal by Atlanta with Kansas City. Before the July 31st deal Ankiel was benched in favor of David DeJesus in center field due to Ankiel’s lack of production.
For the second time in his career Ankiel wad faced with having to restore his name and career in a tough circumstance, and once again he came through.
In spot duty Ankiel upped his average by 45 points and showed some the power that he had in St. Louis years earlier.
However his biggest moment came when his team needed it the most. In a must win game two and with the Braves bench thinning by the minute, Ankiel put ease to the minds of the people in Atlanta by cracking a moon shot in the eleventh inning off of Giants reliever Ramon Ramirez.
The Braves bench, without Bobby Cox who was ejected after an argument in the second inning, jumped from their seats like likely children at the sight of Ankiel’s blast. Thanks to him they have new life headed for a pivotal game three in Atlanta on Sunday.
Ankiel is used to it at this point. Ankiel continues to amaze with his resilience when it seems as if he is on his last legs. After his embarrassing ending as he pitcher, he rose up to becoming a power hitting outfielder. After losing his job in K.C. he came back to tale over the job in Atlanta.
The lesson here? Never count someone out no matter the situation. You never know what can happen. Need proof? Look no further than Ankiel.