We have all seen this before. An aging Bernie Williams hanging on too long, the fans urging him along, wistfully chanting his name. Unlike on those many nights in September and October of 2006, this scene did not occur at the historic "House That Ruth Built," but Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico.
Tonight in the World Baseball Classic, Bernie got the start in left field (after doing a little digging we learned that Joe Torre is not of Puerto Rican heritage and thus not managing the team, so there has to be some other explanation for this development). Bernie was 0-2 with a walk before being pulled in the fifth inning, but that doesn't begin to explain the mark he left on the game, and not in a positive way. Bernie showed his inexperience in left field, misplaying a ball leading to the Netherlands' only run. On the basepaths, a painfully slow Bernie tried to score from second base on a single to right field and was thrown out easily, preventing Puerto Rico from getting on the board.
In a pleasant surprise, Jim Kaat is the color analyst for the exciting game, and shockingly called out Bernie and his manager for possibly costing Puerto Rico the game. Puerto Rico being shut out by The Netherlands is hardly all Bernie's fault. However, Kitty took Puerto Rico's manager to task for starting Bernie Williams at a position he hardly played in his major league career and then took Bernie to task for not knowing the limitations of his 40 year old legs.
It seemed like it would be fun to see Bernie back on the ball field, but all it has done is serve as an example that the hands of time are cruel beasts. The only good news to come out of this is that it will likely slam the door on any ill-fated major league comeback that Bernie may or may not have been planning.
UPDATE (9:42 PM): Puerto Rico has finally broken through against The Netherlands, taking a 3-1 lead in the 8th. Bernie is off the hook.
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Monday, March 9, 2009
The Sad End To Bernie Williams' Baseball Career
Bernie Williams chants|Bernie Williams MLB comeback in 2009|Bernie Williams World Baseball Classic|Jim Kaat announcing World Baseball Classic|
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