January 21, 2009
When it comes to athlete-city divorces, nothing says friendly split like taking out an ad in the newspaper to thank the fans who were left behind. CC Sabathia said c-ya to Cleveland via the medium. Kerry Wood bid adieu to his Chicago constituency the same way last weekend.
The latest fishwrap well-wisher to join the club is Rocco Baldelli, who took out a half-page ad in today's editions of the St. Petersburg Times. Though the newest Red Sock is now playing near his Rhode Island hometown, he says a piece of him will always remain a Ray in St. Petersburg (though presumably not during the Boston-Tampa Bay matchups everyone's already excited to see).
From Rocco's ad:
"Nine years ago you welcomed me into your community. You greeted me as a name and embraced me as a person, and I leave you now as a friend."
Despite his bolting for a hated division rival, it would appear that all's well that ends well. As DRaysBay notes, "You really can't hate him, he's too nice."
That kind of sentiment also leads me to wonder: How many other athletes have joined a division rival the next season and still remained a fan favorite in his former city? If you can think of any, leave them in the comments below, and for a look at Baldelli's entire hand-written note from the heart, follow the jump: