So why was I aghast to see him on ESPN Sunday night in the regular season opener in a Boston Red Sox uniform playing shortstop at Yankee Stadium? Then, I hadn't been watching 10 minutes when he failed to cleanly field a tough ground ball hit to deep short. "An error," I bitterly snorted, and disagreed with the generous Yankee scorekeeper when he ruled the play an infield single. For the rest of the time I watched, I just shook my head in disgust when Edgar was on camera.
It wasn't supposed to be like this. I think very highly of Edgar Renteria. He was a great asset to the Cardinals – offensively, defensively, and in the clubhouse. He was a fan favorite who let his play speak volumes about his character. Renteria is the kind of guy you like having on your team and that your kids can look up to. By his example and leadership, he was one of the best to wear a Cardinal uniform in several years.
All that said, I can't account for why I feel this way – deserted, insulted, and disappointed. Seeing Edgar on TV dressed up like an east coaster was like seeing Fred Rogers break-dancing – it just didn't fit. This wasn't a natural pairing and to make matters worse, Edgar didn't look comfortable with the fit either.
He looked lost, a fish out of place in the huge ocean that is the New York-Boston scene. He looked, in fact, a little overwhelmed with it all. On the ground ball that he failed to reach, I swore I had seen him make that play dozens of times at Busch. It was a tough chance at best, the grounder hit evenly between him and the third baseman. The momentum was carrying him away from first and there was a runner on first when the ball was hit so a throwing error could have been costly. Still, my reaction was that cynical snort, a "Nyah, Nyah" from another time zone.
Such a negative – dare I say – snotty reaction just isn't like me. I really do wish Edgar success, not the failure I was rooting for. I actually would like to have seen the Red Sox beat the Yankees. The Bostonians really are an affable and pug-ugly bunch of self-described idiots. A Red Sox beat-down of Randy Johnson on national TV would have suited me just fine. I'm still a little puzzled by my inconsistency on the whole thing.
Oh, and let's not leave out that I'm actually quite high on the new Cardinal middle infielders, David Eckstein and Mark Grudzielanek. The spring previews of these two have been remarkable. Their offensive numbers are scintillating and their determination to mold themselves into a true double-play team is remarkable and promising. St. Louis is going to warm very quickly to Eck and Grudz during the 2005 year. Frankly, although this might be a touch premature, I wish the Cardinals would go ahead and start negotiating for a couple more years with Grudz to keep him with Eckstein.
So there! I've publicly salved my conscience. Edgar is gone – Long Live Eck! The Renteria-Womack connection is kaput. Eck and Grudz walk on water. Now that I've got this off my chest, I think can I genuinely offer my best wishes to Edgar. He has earned and deserves all the good things that will come his way. By the way, did I also mention that I enjoyed his 0-4 performance at the plate?
You can write to Rex Duncan @ email@example.com