Philadelphia Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz was recently been moved to the cleanup spot. During this current four-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Charlie Manuel has continued to showcase his backstop in this prominent role.
Have you noticed that some people who scoffed at the idea of Ruiz ever hitting higher than eighth are suddenly as silent as church mice?
Throwing infield dirt in the air
Every hardcore Phillies fan completely understands why and how Ruiz has earned the increase in batting order prestige. They also fully realize that current circumstances have allowed his rise to become a reality.
However, some people seem unwilling to acknowledge this player's impressive offensive accomplishment. These individuals continue to throw infield dirt in the air by focusing upon the surrounding circumstances that caused his opportunity to happen.
Instead of simply admitting that they were mistaken, they reveal their stubbornness by failing to fully acknowledge what Ruiz has done. And what he has done was never an expected certainty.
His current place among all major league hitters is remarkable. With good health, the 33-year-old will shatter many of his career seasonal highs weeks before the 2012 schedule ends.
But, this fine Phillies catcher has been working hard to improve the offensive part of his game for many seasons. He hit .302, with an .847 OPS (on base plus slugging percentage) in 2010, had a good year last season and has also performed well during playoff series that date back as far as the National League Division Series against the Colorado Rockies in 2007.
There have been more than a few people who laughed at the idea of Ruiz being able to handle a spot in heart of the Phillies batting order. Those emotional thinkers turned their backs on logic by pretending that potential didn't exist. That view was probably well developed, because it had been imposed upon other athletes over the years.
Ruiz is the best all-around player on this Phillies team so far this season. Unless this warrior's offense drops off significantly, he deserves to hold a significant lineup spot through at least the remainder of this season.
When Ryan Howard returns, I would never bat Ruiz lower than sixth during the 2012 calendar year.
'Chooch' plays the most physically grueling position on the field. The coming summer sun will cause every player to feel seasonal fatigue at some point, so it's certainly likely that his production might tail off as we head toward September.
Regardless of what happens in the future, it's very clear that Ruiz' efforts have helped to keep the Phillies above .500 this season. For that he deserves everyone's full respect.
Sean O'Brien's professional writing career began in 1990, when he first began working in the Philadelphia Phillies farm system. He was a freelance sports writer for five years and is currently a Featured Contributor for Yahoo! Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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