Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker is expected to play tonight. Walker was ran over by Pirates outfielder Ryan Church in Oakland last…well, it seems like an eternity ago to us.
Walker was enjoying the fruition of years of hard work in chasing his dream to be a major league ball player. In fact, Neil Walker was living the dream. He had been recalled from AAA Indianapolis after an unfortunate injury to Steve Pearce. Walker had played beyond most people’s expectations. [Of course RumBunter had faith all along in Walker's abilities and rest assured we will have a post reminding you of those who didn't. Fair warning Smizik. Delete your psycho babble you threw at us.]
Remember how cool this story by Joe Starkey was?
About two hours removed from his first major-league home run, the one that beat the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night, Neil Walker took a call from his father.
“Neil, mom and I have a bottle of champagne ready,” Tom Walker said.
“I’ll be right home,” Neil said.
With that, the Pirates’ new second baseman said good night to his girlfriend and drove home, to the same Pine Township house in which he’d grown up rooting for the Pirates.
In what has been the biggest season of ifs ever collected by a major league management team, Neil Walker had turned into a solid baseball player. His production line of .295/.325/.464/.789 tells only half the story. His glove work at second base has been above average and he was showing signs of improvement. By the way, Screw UZR which lists Walker at, nevermind. It’s skewed.
When the Pittsburgh Pirates Baseball Club needed someone, anyone, to produce at second base, Neil Walker did. God, could you imagine if he had not asked management to play second base?
Now for the ‘if’ ….. Let’s trust he can return to the high level of play before his concussion. Yeh, I know, just what this Pirates team needed, another if. Yet one more thing to worry about this year.
It’s been too long Walker. Damn, we’ve missed you. Well, not really you, but your bat and glove. God speed.