by Ryan Isley
Dear Grady Sizemore,
I just can’t do this anymore. I am done.
We both knew this day was going to come. We may not have thought it would be this soon, but we knew it would happen eventually. After spending hours and days thinking about this, I think it is better if we go our separate ways.
It isn’t you, Grady. Actually, yes it is.
We had so many fun times and made countless memories over the past 10 years. But unfortunately, those times are too far in the rear view mirror for us to go any further.
I will never forget when you were introduced to everyone. You owned that 2003 MLB Futures Game in Chicago when you went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs in your first game in front of a national baseball audience. You then flashed that smile on ESPN SportsCenter the next day and Indians fans everywhere became entangled in your web.
Oh yes, your web. It reminds me of the days when you were a staple on ESPN Baseball Tonight’s web gems, making diving catches and robbing home runs like it was routine. You patrolled center field to the tune of two gold gloves, and maybe should have won more.
When you weren’t making plays in the field, you were showing off your skills at the plate and on the base paths. For a four-year stretch from 2005-2008, you hit .281 and averaged 180 hits, 26.8 home runs, 116 runs scored and 28.8 stolen bases per season.
The high point of that run was your 2008 season, when you became just the second player in Indians history to go 30-30 when you hit 33 home runs and stole 38 bases. You rode those numbers to a 10th-place finish in American League MVP voting – the highest finish of your career – and made your third consecutive All-Star team.
Unfortunately, 2008 was also the last season in which you played more than 110 games.
In 2009, you missed the first three weeks of June and then were shut down for the season on September 9th after playing in just 106 games. It was the first time you played less than 157 games in a season since 2004 – when you were called up to the Major Leagues after the All-Star break. After being shut down, you had two surgeries – one on your elbow and one to repair a hernia.
Despite the injuries, I kept the faith. I still believed that you would return to All-Star form once you were healthy. The problem is that you just have not been able to stay off the disabled list.
You played in 33 games in 2010, hitting just .211. You failed to hit any home runs, scored only 15 runs and stole just four bases. Yet I still held out hope. I thought 2011 would be better. And it was – well sort of. You took the field in 71 games that season but hit just .224 with 10 home runs. For the first time in your career, you didn’t have a stolen base.
In those two seasons combined, you played in 104 games and hit only .220 with 10 home runs and four stolen bases. It was becoming more and more clear that your best years were behind you.
I was ready to give up. But you came back for another year. And I decided that I would give you one last chance.
We both know how that turned out, Grady. You made $5 million in 2012 without ever stepping on the field – it was highway robbery. In fact, you have not played in a Major League game in 414 days.
And with that, it is time we parted ways. I am leaving what we had behind without any regrets.
I will try to remember those 10 years for the good times and I will attempt to put the bad memories in the back of my mind. But please just let me walk away now before the bad memories overshadow all of the good ones.
A Frustrated Indians Fan
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