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今年九月初,聖路易紅雀的外野手 Rick Ankiel (安凱爾)展現了一連串的長打能力 (9月6日更是四之三包含HR*2 2B*1,共七分打點),當時看到 lannkyle介紹,了解到 Ankiel是位棄投從打的選手。而 Ankiel好不容易以打者身分有所表現後,卻又屋漏偏逢連夜雨地傳出因疑似服用 HGH (human growth hormone)接受調查。

這幾天 ESPN報導大聯盟發布了關於禁藥處置的消息
Guillen, Gibbons suspended; no punishments for Matthews, Ankiel, Glaus and Schoeneweis

Ankiel擊出全壘打後與 Pujols 擊掌  Jeff Roberson / AP

 "Gary Matthews Jr., Rick Ankiel, Troy Glaus and Scott Schoeneweis also were linked to performance-enhancing drugs, but baseball decided there was "insufficient evidence" to determine they committed a doping violation. They were accused of receiving the substances before 2005"

Ankiel說04年在肩膀手術後服用的所有藥物,都是按照醫師指示服用的。大聯盟官方在05年頒布相關罰則,由於沒有明顯的證據顯示涉入服用禁藥的 Ankiel等人在05年之後有違反藥物規定,所以他們在明年球季不會遭到禁賽的處分(簡單來說:
Ankiel在肩膀手術後服藥那時,大聯盟並未有相關藥物使用規定;遭到禁賽15場的選手則是 Jose Guillen與 Jay Gibbons,而文章也提到關於印地安人投手Paul Byrds的調查將會在近期內完成)。

Cards的GM Walt Jocketty (left)陪 Ankiel出來說明有關 HGH的爭議

關於 Rick Ankiel的小故事,曾於2001年2月被紐約時代雜誌介紹: 
A mound of trobles
The New York Times Magazine--Pat Jordan

 

(大意如下)

"We really are normal people," says Denise Ankiel. She means herself. A mother of three grown children, she's a secretary for a bottled-water company in Fort Pierce, Fla. Her ex-husband is in prison and, as spring training arrives this week, her younger son, Rick Ankiel Jr., is preparing to face the demons that transformed him last season from one of baseball's greatest phenoms into one of its most extraordinary enigmas. 
安凱爾來自一個普通的家庭,家中有三個孩子,她的母親 Denise在佛羅里達州東南部皮爾斯堡 (Fort Pierce)的瓶裝水公司擔任秘書。當春訓來臨時,安凱爾的老爸在獄中服刑 (Denise已經和安凱爾的老爸離婚),安凱爾也正準備面對去年的那場惡夢,讓他從一名受矚目的優秀棒球員變為一個令人充滿問號的球員。

Rick Ankiel is a pitcher of such immense talent that one baseball executive described him as simply "one of the best left-handers I've ever seen." In 1997, USA Today named him the High School Player of the Year. Shortly after that, he signed with the Cardinals for a $2.5 million bonus, the fifth highest ever given to an amateur. In 1999, USA Today and Baseball America named him the Minor League Player of the Year, and by the summer of 2000, his first full season with the Cardinals, he was arguably the team's best pitcher, with an 11-7 won-lost record. He went 4-0, with a 1.97 earned run average, over the last month of the season and was picked by his manager, Tony La Russa, to start the first game of the National League division series against the Atlanta Braves. 
十分有天份的安凱爾曾被某球隊行政人員形容為"我見過最好的左投手之一"。1997年 USA Today將他選為年度最佳高中球員。隨後紅雀隊以250萬簽約金簽下他。1999年 USA Today以及 BA將他選為小聯盟年度球員,隔年是他在聖路易的第一個完整球季,11勝7敗被認為是球隊最好的投手,並在最後一個多月投出4勝0敗ERA1.97的成績。總教練 Tony La Russa因而讓他在 NLDS面對勇士隊首戰中先發。

Before that first playoff game, Rick Ankiel, 21, was being compared with another Cardinal left-hander, Steve Carlton, who is in the Hall of Fame. Like Carlton, Ankiel has a smooth, seemingly effortless delivery, an exploding fastball and a sharp curveball. Carlton, however, was widely seen as an arrogant, ignorant and self-absorbed man. Ankiel is a sensitive, intelligent and considerate young man. He is nothing like Carlton.
在第一場季後賽之前,21歲的 Rick被拿來與紅雀歷史上的另一位左投 Steve Carlton做比較,Carton生涯主要效力於紅雀與費城人,於94年進入名人堂。與前輩 Carlton一樣,Rick看似不費力的投球方式有著不錯的快速球與犀利的曲球。然而他們兩人在個性上有所不同,Carlton廣泛地被認為 arrogant, ignorant and self-absorbed (一些負面形容詞,在此就不贅述了);Rick是個敏感,聰明,體貼人的年輕人。

四屆賽揚獎得主 Steve Carlton1 (form neurodiversity.com)

In fact, his career and his nature more closely parallel that of a more distant Cards pitcher, named Max Von McDaniel. In 1957, at the age of 18, Von McDaniel signed with the Cardinals for a $50,000 bonus on the strength of his smooth, seemingly effortless delivery, his exploding fastball and his sharp curveball. He was described by all who met him as a sensitive, intelligent and religious youth. The Cardinals brought him directly from high school to the major leagues, where he won his first four games. McDaniel pitched 19 consecutive scoreless innings, including a one-hitter, a two-hitter and a perfect game for six innings. He finished the year at 7-5 with a 3.22 E.R.A. and -- with the exception of two disastrous innings in 1958, during which he walked seven batters -- never pitched again in the major leagues. 
事實上,Ankiel的生涯成績與個性跟更早期的投手 Max Von McDaniel更為接近。1957年,18歲的 McDaniel獲得與紅雀簽約的五十美金,投球的內容與個性都與上一段描寫 Ankiel的一樣。紅雀直接將 McDaniel從高中帶往大聯盟,他在大聯盟前四戰都獲勝 (根據log,第一場是無關勝負,所以應該是前五次出賽贏四場),其中並包含一場ㄧ安打,一場兩安打與一場六局的完全比賽的連續19局不失分,當年他取得七勝五負3.22防禦率的成績。隔年他度過了災難性的兩局,一共送出七次的保送給對手 (log說,應該是5個 BB),便在再也沒有出現在 MLB的舞臺上。

McDaniel's sudden failure had nothing to do with physical injury. What happened to him is the stuff of Greek tragedy. Despite his blinding talent, there was something in his nature that fated him to fail for reasons neither he nor anyone else has ever been able to explain. 
McDaniel突然而來的失敗並非身體上的傷。沒有人能夠解釋箇中道理。

The same thing happened to Rick Ankiel in the 2000 playoffs. In two starts and one relief appearance, first against the Braves and then against the Mets, he walked 11 batters in four innings and threw nine wild pitches, most of which sailed 10 feet over the batters' heads. He broke a record for wild pitches in an inning that had stood since 1890. His once-classic delivery was riddled with the flaws of a Little Leaguer. He looked like a pitcher who, in a single moment, forgot how to pitch. Ankiel seemed to be suffering a physical and psychic breakdown reminiscent of the one McDaniel suffered in the spring of 1958. 

同樣的事在兩千年的季後賽發生在安凱爾身上。面對勇士與大都會的兩次先發與一次後援機會當中,安凱爾總共在四局裡面投出了11次保送,更慘的是包含九個暴投,其中多數都高過打者的頭頂10呎。他打破了1890年以來最多的單局暴投紀錄。他像個忘了如何投球的投手,身心嚴重受創地如同 McDaniel在1958年春天所遭遇到的一切。

"Oh, my gosh, the same thing happened to my brother," says Lindy McDaniel, 65, who himself pitched for many years in the major leagues. "He lost his coordination and his mechanics. There was no real explanation. Some people thought it was psychological. But who knew about those things then? They sent Von down to the minors, but he couldn't get anyone out. He kept sinking further and further until he couldn't pitch anymore. It depressed him for years after he left baseball. But he couldn't talk about it."
65歲,曾在MLB投了許多年的 Lindy McDaniel,回憶起同樣的事情曾發生在他的兄弟身上。Lindy說"他(Von)失去了協調性以及他的投球技巧,那無法得到真正的解釋,有些人說那有關心理學方面,但是 Von被送到小聯盟後也無法解決任何打者,他意志逐漸下沉到再也無法投球為止,離開棒球後的好幾年也是一樣,但他本人也說不出上來到底花生省魔術"

Lindy's recollections are not entirely accurate. When Von "mysteriously lost his rhythm and control," according to a 1961 Sporting News article, he drifted all the way down to the lowest, Class D, league. But there, in 1960, Von McDaniel "began to throw smoothly again." In the sleepy anonymity of the Florida State League, Von fashioned a 13-5 record. The following season, the Cards brought him to spring training amid great expectations but, once again, he lost what The Sporting News called "his magic touch." He would never regain it. 
Lindy的回憶不完全正確。根據1961年 Sporting News的報導,當 Von在 MLB神秘地失去節奏後,曾四處漂流到最低階的聯盟,1960年在 Florida State League又短暫地奮起,取得13勝5敗。隔年春訓再度被紅雀充滿希望地邀請過去,但 Von McDaniel的手感又悄悄溜走了,再也沒有回來過。    

(待續...)

 


Note
1.介紹費城都市藝術品的網站 philart.net有Steve Carlton的雕像 ,由 Zenos Frudakis於2004年創作完成

本系列其他部分
Rick Ankiel的過往日子 (2)
Rick Ankiel的過往日子 (3)
Rick Ankiel的過往日子 (4)
Rick Ankiel的過往日子 (5)
  
延伸閱讀: 
林言熹觀點 暴投王改行 安凱爾首場就轟                                                        
傑瑞在NJ    Citizens Bank Park (費城費城人球場)

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