Hey, slugger! How are things? How are the peepers? Seeing the ball alright? I hope you had a nice, relaxing offseason.
Okay–Let’s cut to it. I’m going to level with you here. I haven’t always been your biggest supporter. In fact, if you ever get a chance to glance at the official “Dump Dan Uggla” petition (which I wouldn’t recommended), you’ll find my name in block letters at the top. Yes, I applauded when you were left off last year’s post-season roster. Yes, I proposed sending you to Gwinnett this year to let Pena and Pastornicky fight for the starting position. And yes, it’s true that my fantasy baseball team gets its name from an all-to-easy disparaging pun on your last name.
But listen: can you really blame me? What have you done since coming to Atlanta, your name newly inked on a sixty-two million dollar contract? I’ll tell you what you’ve done: a batting average of .213 and 507 strikeouts. And 2013 was a new personal low: 171 Ks, tying your career average, and a whopping .179 BA. I realize patience is a virtue and all, but I can only watch you swing and whiff so many times before losing my cool.
And, man, am I tired of hearing about how you “find a way to contribute.” But he knows how to draw a walk. But he’s got great range. But he really hustles. Blah blah blah.
Well, Dan, O Danny Boy, on Monday night against the Phillies, you really did find a way to contribute.
I’ve said some mean things about you these last few years. There’s no two ways about it. Things like, bumbling buffoon, or blind man with a big stick, and a disgrace to second base, and so many more phrases too crude to repeat. Sometimes you’ve deserved it. Like last Friday against the Nationals, when you fielded that two-out ground ball hit by Adam LaRoche. Great, I thought. Inning Over. Then you made one of the most miserable throws I have ever seen. Boy, did I have some awful things to say about you at that moment. It was a fifty-foot throw! Routine for an eleven-year-old Little Leaguer. Nothing for a seasoned veteran of professional baseball. But you managed to make it look damn near impossible.
Sure, we ended up winning that game in extras, but you batted 0-fer and left four runners on base. In my mind, your tenure with the Braves was beyond salvation.
Then we went to Philadelphia. You hit the meat of the home run sandwich in the eighth inning, which was nice at the time. A somewhat meaningless insurance run. Or so I thought. Come top of the ninth, I’d been deflated of all hope. Even with the bases loaded, once Gattis struck out, I had no faith in our ability to win the game. Come on, Dan, I prayed. Just give us one of those walks your so famous for. Leave the bat on your shoulder, why don’t you?
Well, you showed me. Me and all those drunk, drunk, Philadelphia hecklers. Most of them had time to exit the park between the time you made contact and the time that ball landed in the bleachers. What a hit! You must have been feeling pretty good about yourself while rounding the bases at a steady trot, but your face wore all the fiery emotion of a man browsing the sock-aisle at K-Mart.
I guess this is an apology. I’m sorry. I take back all those ugly things I said about you. And for all your errors and shortcomings, you’re forgiven.
For now. Just keep it up, or we’ll have to DFA your butt.