JJ Hardy will be the sole Tulip playing tonight so that manager Alpren can attempt to locate something that will lift Hardy out of his 0 for 28 drought– that or contemplate Hardy’s future on the team.
While all things indicate that he is relatively committed to the idea of keeping Hardy aboard, his reasons for doing so are not exactly clear.
On the one hand, Alpren believes that Hardy could break out of his current slump and go back to one of those streaky tears that he exhibited earlier this year. On the other hand, what drives Alpren– what haunts him at night even– and keeps him from making certain positive managerial moves is what has been called by physicians or Alpren himself: The Delgado Syndrome.
Flash back to last year: The Tulips had been running strong in their league and even looking playoff bound, but manager Alpren felt that he needed make some changes. Tulips’ Carlos Delgado (NYM-OF) had hit .204 in March, .258 in April and .229 in May with 3,4,and 6 home runs in those respective months. Not seeing any point to keeping the dead weight around, Alpren decided to trade him.
“On the 12th of June, I think it was, I dealt Delgado to the commissioner for Marc Jacobs. Ever heard of him? He was hitting something like .250 and I though he’d be better than the .230 Delgado.”
(The writer was unable to locate Mr. Jacobs on YahooSports!- ed.)
After he left the Tulips (some conjecture to spite Alpren), Delgado took out his super bat and became a legitimate candidate for the league MVP. He finished 9th in the balloting despite hitting abysmally in the first 3 months of the year.
Some of his post Tulips highlights and numbers: On June 15th, he broke Juan Gonzalez’s record for most runs batted in by a Puerto Rican player. Later that month, he hit 9 RBIs in one game. In one week, he hit 4 Hrs. In July he hit .357. In September, he hit .340. From July to September he hit 24 HRs and had 70 RBIs.
The Delgado Syndrome does more than prevent Alpren from trading away slumping players. It creates a condition of continuous second guessing that initiates paralysis. Alpren has been psychologically able to entertain the possibility of dropping Jason Giambi to make room for someone who could actually contribute without incident.
But suggestions of getting rid of Hardy, given his slump, is met with the empty stare of vacant eyes and a brisk shaking of the head. This is usually quickly ameliorated by quick offers of lime-aid to him from his wife which apparently prevents him from going into the second stage of the malady which is characterized by his shifting back and forth on the balls of his feet and looking up at the horizon.
“Something else homemade and delicious can have the same preventative affect,” Alpren said.
It might be asking too much to expect that tonight’s isolation game will help Alpren make up his mind about Hardy, but one thing that’s for sure is that it is not just Alpren watching this game. It is also the smoking ghost that will pull up a chair right beside him.
Update: Hardy got a hit, but only one (1 for 5) despite the fact that the Brewers took batting practice during the game and beat the Indians 14-12. Alpren did not comment on the game accept for wishing Hardy “Mazal Tov” on his one hit.