Monday, May 14, 2007

So Long, Sid

I’d heard about Sidney Ponson’s history, about the jail time in Aruba and the DUI arrests. Like a lot of people, maybe most people, I figured Ponson must be a bad guy, a spoiled athlete with no respect for anyone else.

I’m happy to say, I was wrong about Ponson. Which is why I’m not happy he’s gone.

Other teams, other cities had problems with the 30-year-old pitcher, but he was a unique presence in the Twins’ clubhouse. Between starts, he was just a guy who liked to have a good time -- yeah, it’s not hard to see how he got into trouble back when he equated “fun” with “drinking” -- and he liked to entertain others, too.

As Ron Gardenhire said yesterday, “We had a ball with him. He was loud at times, which was fun.”

The only time he wasn’t trying to make people laugh was after poor pitching performances, when he clearly was angry with himself. But even then, he stood up and answered questions, never ducking responsibility for the losses. It’s too bad that he never harnessed his talent enough to stay in the rotation, because you could see how much he wanted to pitch well.

Here’s hoping Ponson figures out what he’s doing wrong. Because for all the trouble he’s caused, and despite the reputation that dogs him still, he really seems like a good guy at heart.

-- Phil Miller