Saturday, August 23, 2008

Sidney Ponson Still Doesn't Like Baltimore

There was a time when Sidney Ponson looked like he was going to be a star in Baltimore. By the end of 2003, the Orioles re-signed him after trading him to San Francisco at the deadline. He was only 27 and the previous year had gotten 17 wins (14 with the O's) with lower than a 3.80 ERA.

Most know what happened from there. Ponson arrived in training camp way overweight, and in 0'4 and '05 had a combined 18-26 record with an ERA of 5.30 and 6.21 in the respective years. After infractions including punching a judge in Aruba and a DWI, the Orioles claimed a violation of contract, and released Sir Sidney.

Ever since then, he has had five stints on four different teams, all of those composing of less than 15 starts each. The only decent one, with the Rangers earlier this year (4-1, 3.88 ERA in nine starts), ended abruptly when Texas designated him for assignment, with GM Jon Daniels releasing Sidney for "disrespectful and adverse reactions to situations unbecoming of teammates." The same team that dealt with Milton Bradley going after an opposing announcer apparently couldn't deal with Sir Sidney.

And now, Sidney is back with the Yankees, benefiting from the Bronx's pitching woes. Right now he is 3-3 with a 5.46 ERA with New York.

Jeff Zrebiec, Orioles beat for the Baltimore Sun, said on WBAL's Sportsline today that Sidney Ponson has refused to talk with the Baltimore media for years. It goes so far that Sidney remembered a Seattle reporter who used to work in Baltimore, and refused to talk to him.

Now look, I can understand if Sidney doesn't like the Baltimore organization for trading him and not trying hard to help him with his problems.

But come on, most of this he did himself. The Orioles were 100% right to release him, he was getting $10 million a year, struggling big time on the mound and kept getting in trouble. He's the one who came to camp overweight after his finest year in the majors. He's the one who punched a judge. He's the one who had two DUIs. He's the one who many consider a bad teammate. And frankly, with his recent track record, it is a wonder he even has a job! You really hate the Baltimore media for that? What did they do?

All other sports media would have been just the same with a player like him; a pitcher with good potential wasting it on off-the-field behavior. If the Rangers felt they had to release Ponson, what does that say about him? The fact is, it is Sidney's fault, no one elses. He needs to grow up.

(Photo credit: NY Daily News)

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