I'm not a big Christmas guy. I'm an atheist, and fairly vigorously so, and have been irritating my younger sisters for several years now by referring to the 25th as "Loot Day." I was here going to celebrate the holiday by listing all of the baseball-related loot I received, but I want a few days to read my Bill Simmons and White Sox books and view the 2005 World Series DVD. Perhaps it will renew your faith in the power of the season (if not mine) to learn that another fine post subject presented itself completely by accident.
While watching the Bears game over at my aunt and uncle's house, I started rifling through a pack of baseball cards one of my cousins had received in his stocking. I paused when I saw the Rockies' name on one of the cards, and again when I saw that it was a Mike Esposito card. I feel strangely connected to Esposito. The one minor league game I attended last season, in Colorado Springs, was started by Mike Esposito. By sheer random chance, I was present for his major league debut at Coors in September. For this reason, I've picked him as a test case for potential free agent pitching acquisitions. If you're not better than Esposito -- and many guys aren't -- then you're probably a waste of money. I like the way the guy works -- he hasn't a single plus pitch in his repertoire, but he gets better results than more talented players through smarts and control. If he played somewhere not 7,000 feet above sea level, he might have a nice national rep by now. But it was his lot in life to end up in the Rockies system.
And to have somebody else's picture on his baseball card. 2005 Topps card number UH273 has Esposito's name on the front, and indeed his unassuming visage on the back, but there's a young (black) Kansas City Royal on the front of the card. I believe it's Ruben Gotay. Alas, poor Mike. Perhaps 2006 will present a better opportunity for making your mark on the world.