Ronald Belisario (Al Behrman / Associated…)
Where are my votes for Comeback Blogger of the Year?
You remember when I took a few days off this season for that thing called life, and came back with just some truly sterling posts? Don’t pretend you don’t know exactly what I’m talking about.
Yet there are no drum beats for my amazing comeback. Not to mention that nasty cuticle I had to overcome to hit the keyboard in August. The memory still stings.
Not impressed? Thinking that hardly qualifies as some amazing comeback? Sorry, your standards are much too high. Check on the troupe that voted for the Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year awards.
White Sox DH Adam Dunn received the American League honor, which I’m going to presume was for his 41 home runs and not his .204 batting average.
Giants catcher Buster Posey, who saw his 2011 season end in May after a violent homeplate collision, received the National League comeback nod. Which is perfectly understandable, since he’s also the favorite to win this year’s NL MVP award.
Coming a close second in the NL comeback voting was the Nationals’ Adam LaRoche, who overcame 2011 shoulder injury to hit a career-high 33 home runs. Which I absolutely get.
But then, coming in third in the National League was the Dodgers’ own … Ronald Belisario?
This from a panel of NL players, whose definition of a comeback is what you just might term curious. Like Benjamin Button was curious.
Now Belisario had a terrific season. He was 8-1 with a 2.54 ERA in 68 relief appearances. Applause all around.
But a good season is only half the equation in these comeback honors, which require that you are actually coming back from something. Normally that’s a severe injury, or maybe a bounce back from a your-career-looks-over kind of season.
So what, you may ask, was Belisario coming back from?
Sitting out 2011 after testing positive for cocaine and being unable to get a visa.
That’s right, he snorted too much of the white line, got caught and had to stay home in Venezuela. She don’t lie, she don’t lie, she don’t lie, cocaine.
Now all credit goes to Belisario for getting his act together and pitching extremely well all season. Nothing but kudos for that.
But his banishment was self-inflicted, he wasn’t coming back from shoulder surgery. He wasn’t 39 and answering with a marvelous year after his career looked over the previous season.
Yet he received 12 votes as the NL Comeback Player of the Year. More than the Braves Kris Medlen (Tommy John) or A.J. Burnett (big bounce back at 35) or Ryan Ludwick (ditto at 33). Stephen Strasburg wasn’t even listed.
But there was our boy Belisario, at No.3 for the 2012 season. A regular Kurt Warner of the majors.
Final side note: Since the award was established in 1965, eight Dodgers have won the honor – Phil Regan (1966), Al Downing (’71), Jimmy Wynn (’74), Tommy John (’76), Jerry Reuss (’80), Tim Leary (’88), Tim Wallach (’94) and Nomar Garciaparra (’06).