We've been asked to write a few kind words about Jeff Kent. Keeping in mind what our mothers taught us, this is what we came up with.
Relief pitcher Joe Beimel played for the Dodgers only three seasons, yet in that time he experienced highs and lows most players never see during their whole careers. Wherever he ends up this off-season, we can say we've rooted for a player who's not your typical professional athlete.
First, the numbers: Beimel was a workhorse for the Dodgers, appearing in an average of 72 games per season. In 2007 and 2008 he was especially relied upon as a lefty specialist, logging fewer innings pitched than games played. He had an ERA of 2.02 in 2008, his lowest as a Dodger.
However, it was the 2006 post-season that defined Beimel's tenure as a Dodger. In New York on the eve of the NLDS, Beimel broke curfew and went to a bar, where he accidentally cut his hand on a broken glass. Initially he lied about the incident, saying it had occurred in his hotel room. The truth soon emerged, though—and Beimel was too injured to pitch.
The incident seemed to have affected Beimel dramatically. He spent the next 15 months alcohol-free and now says he drinks only socially. In addition, he has been very open in sharing his thoughts on those troubles—as well as the tattoo he says he got to remind himself about the consequences of that night.
2008 provided a measure of redemption for Beimel. Back in the playoffs, the Dodgers called upon him three times in the NLCS against the Phillies. Beimel surrendered two walks in Game 2 but also recorded one out each in Games 4 and 5. It may not have been a star turn, but for someone waiting to prove himself for two years, it must have been a relief.
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