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Rick Ankiel will always be a winner despite adversity

To fully understand the scope of what Rick Ankiel's dealt with, you have to read his new book; The Phenomenon

Ankiel was the poster boy of what a left-handed pitcher should be. Throwing gas from the left-side with a hook so nasty that it could make any established hitter question why he stepped into the batter's box that day. 

Game 1 of the 2000 NLDS changed the course of Ankiel's career forever. Up 6-0 against Greg Maddux and the Atlanta Braves, a wild pitch to Andruw Jones set in motion a perfect storm that no one saw coming. Looking from the outside, you never really comprehend what's going on in the mind of a professional athlete. Ankiel's book delves into those tough questions he had to ask himself.

From dealing with personal and physical abuse, self-medicating to get through a game, and dealing with the Yips; the unexplained unrelenting loss of the ability to do something you've done your whole life, Ankiel will bring to life a career that many would say was cut short, but a career that I would say was historic.

Where in the world is Jonathan Albaladejo?

There are so many players that show a glimpse of promise and all of sudden they're gone. Jonathan Albaladejo's first season in the majors (2007) saw him take the mound 14 times for the Washington Nationals. He posted a 1.88 ERA and struck out 12 in 14 innings surrendering only two base on balls. By all accords, everything seemed on the up and up.

Five years later and after 66 appearances, Albaladejo would never appear in a Major League game again. He's not the first player to have a career like this and he won't be the last. But after 17 years at the professional level and over 660 games, these players should be praised not forgotten. There's only so many Mike Trout's and Chris Sale's around. It's the grinders, those guys who may not be the most talented and may not grace the cover of SI, but make the game go around. You don't necessarily need a home run to wins games, you need singles and sac bunts. Not glamourous, but I think you get what I'm trying to say.

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