Hey everyone! So pitchers and catchers have reported, and that is awesome. The worst part of the year is finally over. Ever since I was knocked out of my fantasy football playoffs and watched the Patriots perform miracles in the Super Bowl, I've been geared up for baseball season. While the Yankees are in the midst of a "don't call it a rebuild" rebuild period, I actually am anxious to get the season underway and see what the kids can do.
It was a pretty quiet offseason for Cashman and crew, if you consider spending over $100 million quiet. However, a bulk of that money was put towards our brand old southpaw closer, Aroldis Chapman. I've made it pretty clear that I don't support what Chapman has done (nobody should). But regardless, what's done is done and technology hasn't yet allowed for time travel to reverse mistakes.
I picked up one of Chapman's better cards on eBay before the signing, in anticipation that the card's price would rise when he inevitably became a Yankee again:
The 2010 Bowman refractors scan awfully, I must say. Nevertheless, this is Chapman's rookie refractor autograph, a card I had always wanted but never been able to afford. In light of his domestic violence incident, his card prices have generally fallen as you would expect. I wouldn't consider the price I paid a victory because of the circumstances (much like how I was able to add the Jose Fernandez Bowman auto after his death), but I was satisfied with its cost.
Now that Chapman has a lot of guaranteed money to work with, we'll see his true colors. Of course, if he didn't behave in his contract year, he wouldn't have been awarded a record contract for closers. I get that.
But I've always been willing to give athletes second chances after coming to grips with what they had done, as long as they seemed to learn from it. Michael Vick is a prime example of this. My friend shared a video of Vick's career highlights recently on facebook, and I realized how great it was to be able to watch him do what he did best: play football. He paid the price for what he did, and he genuinely seems to want to make a difference off the field by speaking to kids constantly about how to treat animals. So now, when I watch old footage of Vick scrambling downfield, I can enjoy it without any feelings of guilt.
Because Chapman isn't a native of this country, it may be more difficult for him to express himself to the media and fans. But I hope over the next 3-5 years I'll be able to feel similarly about Chapman as I now do about Vick. If this is the case, I'll have this beautiful, shiny autographed card of his to enjoy.