Thursday, August 12, 2010

David Wright Sports Gilded Lid of Shame

I don't feel good about what I've done.

I really like David Wright, just as any Mets fan does.

He's terrific on both sides of the ball, plays every day, and does not beat up his father-in-law (In case you haven't heard, teammate K-Rod is being arraigned for assaulting his father-in-law after last night's game. Surely many Mets felt like doing so after Melvin Mora's crushing grand salami, but you don't actually do it.) Wright "plays the game the right way," as the old-timers say.

But I was rooting for Wright to strike out in the 9th against the Rockies last night.

Why would I do that? Well, it was sort of a foregone conclusion that Wright would K; when he's slumping, you can see the strikeouts coming a mile away, usually with weak swings on on low and outside offerings.

Wright's strikeout was his fourth of the game, earning him the ignominious Golden Sombrero, as all four-strikeout victims are figuratively awarded. And I'd been waiting for a reason to write about the Golden Sombrero for weeks.

SNY announcer Gary Cohen set up Wright's fourth K by saying that he'd already struck out 124 times this season--well on pace to obliterate last year's awful 140-K performance.

"And one more," says Cohen after Wright's sorry attempt at contact. "A Golden Sombrero for David Wright."

The term has its origins in the hat trick, which we know comes from hockey and represents a threesome; three goals, three home runs, three straight titles (more commonly known as a "threepeat.") The Golden Sombrero, as the theory goes, takes the hat trick one step further.

Says Wikipedia of the Sombrero:

The term derives from hockey's hat trick and since four is bigger than three; the rationale was that a four-strikeout performance should be referred to by a bigger hat, such as a sombrero.

Wikipedia then goes one--and two--better than the flaxen fedora. It says:

The "Olympic Rings" or platinum sombrero applies to a player striking out five times in a game,[1] while a horn (after Sam Horn of the Baltimore Orioles, who accomplished the feat in an extra-inning game in 1991) or titanium sombrero is bestowed upon a player who strikes out six times in a single game.[2]

I'd love to know who's got the record for career Golden Sombreros (would one call such a contest a, uh, "derby"?) . It's probably someone really good, like Reggie Jackson. Or maybe it's Tony Clark.

Wikipedia says Major League Baseball has issued 57 platinum sombreros in its history--most recently to Justin Smoak on June 13. Wouldn't you know it, "The Golden Sombrero Baseball Blog" has a running tally of 2010 Sombrero-wearers.

The New York dailies were quick to award Wright his dented crown.

"Wright dons 'Golden Sombrero' with four K's," blared a Daily News headline.

"Mets' Wright gets golden sombrero and boos," went a Newsday hed.

Speaking of peculiar headware, back in May, Mets outfielder Jason Bay told the NY Times he'd don his "cheerleading cap" after being benched for poor performance. "That’s baseball," said Jay Bay. "I went out there and put a cheerleading cap on and tried to help that way.”

Bay is of course wearing the cheerleading cap now as he recovers from post-concussion symptoms. If he'd been wearing the thing when he slammed into the wall against the Dodgers last month, perhaps he could've avoided the head injury.


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