With my selections for this month’s edition of MLB’s Diamond and Cubic Zirconia of the Month, I may as well have called it “July: Recognizing Rival Teams’ Players.”
Let me put my fanaticism aside and focus on what’s important: In July, who was hot, who was not, and who’s just plain ol’ hot?
Diamond of July: Fernando Tatis, New York Mets
Tatis was out of baseball for two years (2004 and 2005), and I’m sure the New York Mets and their fans are happy that he returned. His return was inspired by the need to build a church in his hometown and the results of his comeback are captivating.
Tatis, 33, hit .397 with a .767 slugging percentage in July—first in the majors in both categories. But what can’t be seen in those numbers is the impact he has made on the team during that month.
On July 10, Tatis went three for five (including two doubles) and had four RBI in the last game of the series against the San Francisco Giants. His two-run homer in the seventh inning broke a 3-3 tie, and the Mets won the game, extending their winning streak to six—the last time that happened was in 2006.
On July 18, in an exciting game versus the Cincinnati Reds, he had three RBI, helping the Mets come back and extend their winning streak to 10, pulling even with Philadelphia Phillies.
Cubic Zirconia of July: Dan Uggla, Florida Marlins
Staying with in the NL East, Dan Uggla is the Cubic Zirconia of the month. C’mon, you watched the All-Star Game, right?
In July, Uggla had a .190 batting average with a .381 slugging percentage. In May and June, he had at least 20 RBI, but in July, he batted in only nine runs.
Some blamed Sports Illustrated for jinxing Uggla when they took pictures of him for an upcoming issue while some blamed a nagging ankle injury—regardless of what was to blame, when blame is being thrown around, it means something is wrong.
Going zero for four with three strikeouts and committing three errors in the All-Star Game is just not Diamond-worthy. It’s embarrassing.
Sparkly Icing on July’s Cake: Andre Ethier, Los Angeles Dodgers
Amongst all the brouhaha surrounding the L.A. Dodgers' acquisition of Manny Ramirez, hottie Andre Ethier gets lost in the shuffle. His playing time has decreased because of the crowded outfield—which is disappointing because it’s so pleasant seeing that smile that would make any woman swoon.
Although the 6’2” outfielder plays for a rival team, I can’t fault him entirely because he was originally signed by Oakland. Well, that and his scruffy facial hair makes me giggle with complete amusement at his cuteness.