Washington Nationals outfielder and former St. Louis Cardinal Rick Ankiel took out a full-page ad in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch, thanking Cardinals fans for their “support and cheers over the years.” With the Nationals in town to play the current Cardinals, the ad is well-timed and (maybe this was Ankiel’s aim) should earn him a nice little ovation when he comes to the plate. In every other way, it’s a little pathetic.
LeBron James, Brett Favre, Michaal Jordan and Kerry Wood. These guys take out full-page ads when they leave town. Superstars are fully expected to do it. But when a guy like Ankiel–whose brain fried his pitching career in the early 2000s and who batted just .251/.311/.452 with 49 homers in seven St. Louis seasons–does it, it’s just strange.
Look, I get it. He loved playing for the Cards and he probably especially appreciated that the fans did not ride him when it leaked that he had been mixed up in HGH during the best part of his comeback. Still, the gesture is disproportionate to the occasion. Ankiel could have just sat down in a press room and made a statement with the same sentiments. Taking out the ad proves that he still thinks of himself as a quasi-star, and with his job in perpetual jeopardy from guys like Roger Bernadina, the never-say-die act is a bit stale.