Quick, someone alert Don Henley: it appears the boys of summer have gone. The worst part about it is that it isn’t even June yet. At some point over the last six weeks you probably can remember how one player or another made you crazy and remember how they made you scream. Go ahead. Take a look at any of the box scores from recent Major League Baseball games. I’ll wait. (It’s not like I have anything better to do at the moment.) Big name signings like Jayson Werth (.228), Adam Dunn (.184), Carl Crawford (.210), and Vernon Wells (.183) have suffered a greater fall than Humpty Dumpty. Even guys who have been traditionally strong hitters have struggled, like Albert Pujols (.268), Raul Ibanez (.231), Magglio Ordonez (.172), and Justin Morneau (.204), not including the San Diego Padres, who started five guys on Sunday afternoon hitting .245 or less. It may take more than the king’s horses and men (with a few million thrown in) to put these helpless schlemiels back together again.
If this continues, they might reconsider Mario Mendoza for the baseball Hall of Fame (the American one, he is already in Mexico’s Baseball Hall of Fame believe it or not). Mario’s baseball immortality stems from the fact that he carved out an eight-year baseball career while hitting a less-than-stout .215. From his uncanny ability to do what was necessary to avoid getting on base, the expression “Mendoza Line” found its way into baseball vernacular. So anytime a batter has an average of less than .200 (or less than George W. Bush’s approval rating), he is said to be hitting below the Mendoza Line. Well if old is the new new and 50 is the new 40, then why can’t hitting .200 be the new .300?