Ryan Church is a Pittsburgh Pirate. Just one detail appears to be needed, a physical. Shouldn’t be a problem we assume…
2005: Church was a ROY candidate until he ran into the wall at PNC Park in June. He was hitting 325 and had a slugging of 544. He never recovered from kissing the green cushions at PNC and made two trips to the DL.
2006: A lost year for Church.
2007: Breakout year with a 272/464/813. In November, the Nats traded him to the Mets for Lastings Milledge.
2008: The head injuries.
Concussion I: Spring training game in March against the Dodgers. Marlon Anderson and Church collide. Church can’t remember the collision and it’s deemed a Grade II concussion. A week off is recommended after a Grade II.
Concussion II: The date was May 20. Ryan Church had his melon scrambled by the bony knee of Yunel Escobar. Church then slid about eight feet face first on the infield dirt.
After Church got off to a hot start by hitting .307 with 11 home runs and 36 RBI’s, this May 20 collision turned him ice cold. Church ended the second half batting .219 with 2 home runs and 13 RBI’s.
The second concussion was too much. Church said he felt his “brain swishing around.”
2009 was not the kind of year the Mets fans had hoped for when they prayed that Church would repeat his 2008 early season success. Church teased in the month of April by hitting .313 with a homer and 8 RBI’s.
He then went stone cold in the month of May hitting .224. He also had an interesting relationship with Manager Jerry Manuel in New York. Manuel ‘could have strangled him after he missed third base.’ He missed third base?
It started in spring training when Manuel suggested Church, not the young Daniel Murphy, could end up in a platoon with Fernando Tatis, saying Murphy was a better hitter.
It continued when Manuel voiced his support for the Mets’ signing of Gary Sheffield just before the start of the regular season, a move that threatened to cut into Church’s playing time more than anyone else’s. And it did, even as Church got off to a scorching start at the plate.
Church was traded for Jeff Francoeur in July. Church finished the year hitting .260 with 2 home runs and 18 RBI’s for the Braves.
The big question for us is simply, is he better physically? Will the back holdup?
Will he know his role on the team? Bench player that provides options if the talent fails to produce.
If both those answers are yes, then will he embrace the role he is given and/or earns?
Those aren’t easy questions Pirate fans. Think to some of the recent acquisitions who really didn’t know what the hell was expected of them in Pittsburgh. Remember, for unknown reasons communication is not, we say again, is not, a strong point in this organization.
The move certainly sends a message that the Pirate FO isn’t going to wait forever for the young talent to produce. Hell, there is nothing wrong with bringing in a player that has Ryan Churchs’ makeup. He has played well defensively and provides the most experience in a very young Pirate OF. Can he find his stroke again? 15HR this year?
We applaud the move at it’s core, because it strengthens the team. Many fans will believe it to be one of the better moves of the FO. But let me tell you, he better play hard.
Or he needs to go.
The last thing the Pirates need is a gardenia on this team.
Some random Ryan Church blogosphere headlines for you:
$ Church was called out for his ‘concussion slide’ that he debuted in September and Tirico Suave detailed the slide in this post. Scared yet?
$$ Tirico also called Church a Gardenia.
The gardenia symbolizes purity. So for Ryan, a snow white man of God, this is a match made in heaven. Refined like ivory soap, the gardenia smells ethereal.
$$$The last out in Shea Stadium? You got it. A flyout by Ryan Church.
$$$$ Baseball Reference Batter similarity score? Jody Gerut.
$$$$$ In 2005, Church asked a chaplain an interesting question. This Washington Post article was the buzz of the DC Christian community.
The Washington Nationals suspended a volunteer chaplain and issued an apology after outfielderRyan Church, a devout Christian, made public conversations he had with the chaplain about an ex-girlfriend who was Jewish. Church told The Washington Post he had asked Jon Moeller whether Jews were “doomed” because they “don’t believe in Jesus.” Church said Moeller “nodded, like, that’s what it meant.”
After Jewish community leaders complained, Church issued a statement saying, “I am not the type of person who would call into question the religious beliefs of others.”