Didn't want to end this week without some words on Garret Anderson, who retired from baseball on Tuesday. Anderson was with the Dodgers for much of 2010, and in typical Joe Torre style favoring veterans, appeared in 80 games for the Dodgers, which was at least 70 games too many.
Oh, what a horrible year. Anderson's batting average sunk beneath the Mendoza line on April 17 and never made it back to .200, dipping as low as .119. Anderson ended with an OPS+ of 30 (for comparison, specialty pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo had an OPS+ of 54 last year). He had 28 hits in 80 games, with 13 of those hits being XBH. He struck out 34 times. He actually was intentionally walked once, by the Mets' Mike Pelfrey, who opted to face Brad Ausmus and his .250 BA with a man on third and one out (Ausmus scored the run; the Mets lost the game in the 13th on a FJL solo HR).
Anderson did have highlights in 2010. Well, maybe one: a walk-off single to center in the 14th inning that won a game for us in June. He smiled on that day, as you can see below. But smiles were rare for Anderson, or for any of us watching Anderson, in 2010. It was, by and large, a year to forget.
So why this coda to Anderson's career? Simply because I couldn't let the term "GAARP" go extinct without applauding its brilliance one last time. As far as I can tell, the first use of "GAARP" was from SoSG regular Josh S. in this GT, from May 14, 2010. It was perfect--a mash-up of the initials "GA" and the "AARP"--reflecting Anderson's bat speed which rivaled James Baldwin's pace from the mound to the dugout at the end of an inning. You could hear Anderson's bones creaking on every swing.
Five letters soon became the stuff of legend, as "GAARP" not only entered the SoSG lexicon, but took a place of honor (dishonor?) for most of the year.
I won't miss Anderson. But I'll miss the term "GAARP."
Anderson viewing his popup photo: Getty Images; Anderson smiling photo: Jeff Gross / Getty Images