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Some argue that if TLR would have just gone about everything as a normal person, that Ankiels mental issues would never have surfaced.
As a rookie, Ankiel had trouble all year throwing the ball to first: there were a ton of plays in which he threw away or nearly threw away pick-off throws or one-hoppers back to the mound. It was weird when it happened, and several of us Cardinal fans noticed it, but it wasn't until he fell apart in October that it became clear that there was something really wrong. Whatever it was, though, it was hanging around Ankiel from the very beginning of the year. I don't think that kind of serious anxiety issue could be avoided by anything that Tony did or didn't do or whether Mike Matheny was catching him or not. Sooner or later, that dam was going to spring a leak.
You ever read "3 Nights in August"? I know that what happened to Ankiel pained TLR, just from his description of the conversations he had about him with the staff. I did think it was interesting that he figured that if Mike Matheny doesn't get a hunting knife for his birthday then Ankiel is still pitching.
locally there is very quiet rumors that Ankiel was hitting more than alcohol on his down time and that might not have helped his mental condition.
This is news to me, though 1) I'd imagine most rich, 20-something men enjoy something more than alcohol in their free time and 2) it might have helped the anxiety more than it hurt it. This kind of gossipy rumor-mongering that STL fans got into during the late 90s and on (the hand-wringing over Lankford and his penchant for hookers being way up there) never sat well with me.
Re: The Onion's famous headline "Yankees Ensure 2003 Pennant By Signing Every Player In Baseball," if you look at this team's roster, it sorta looks like they're trying to win the 2003 pennant. Jeter, A-Rod, Eric Chavez, Andruw Jones, Ichiro Suzuki..
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