Carlos Delgado, Doug Mientkiewicz, Slide properly

Delgado Rounding First . . .

Major League baseball is reporting that the Blue Jays aren’t much interested in bringing back Carlos Delgado for a second stint with the club. General Manager Alex Anthopoulos has cited a desire to chase long-term success with a young corps of players, a strategy that doesn’t exactly embrace a fading 37-year-old slugger.

Delgado came to prominence with the Blue Jays as one of the game’s great first basemen, but his most significant appearance in The Baseball Codes has less to do with his hitting than with his baserunning. It concerns a specific play from 2004, in which Delgado took out Red Sox first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz with a forearm shiver. The following excerpt has more.

One problem with the play, at least to Mientkiewicz, was that he wasn’t playing first base at the time, but had volunteered to man second after Boston experienced an unforeseen shortage of players at the position. The infielder had, at that point, played all of one inning there in his seven-year major league career and was by no means comfortable.

There was also the fact that in Mientkiewicz’s opinion, such takeouts weren’t a regular part of Delgado’s repertoire. “I’d seen him veer off on double plays for five years and not even slide into second,” he said. “Yet he sees somebody playing second who’s never played there before and he took full advantage of it. If Aaron Rowand had knocked me on my ass I don’t think I’d have been that mad, because Aaron goes full tilt from the word go. . . . If I were to always see Carlos taking guys out at shortstop, I never would have said a word.”

When Mientkiewicz got up screaming, the pair had to be separated. Red Sox pitcher Derek Lowe drilled Toronto’s All-Star during his next at-bat, and Delgado was forced to avoid several other pitches during the course of the three-game series. (“Curt Schilling missed him once and came to me and apologized,” said Mientkiewicz.)

Not in the book but no less interesting is the following, from our interview with Mientkiewicz:

“I was mad for a split-second, but when I came back I said, “You know, he did what he was supposed to do.” But the fact that he doesn’t play that way all the time, that’s when I got mad. . . . I remember the remark I made to him: ‘You know, if you played in a game like this every day, you wouldn’t be 17 games back.’ . . . I never had a problem with Carlos before that, and I still talked to him afterward. But there are veteran guys in Boston, and every time he came up for the next four games, he got drilled. And he didn’t start a big ruckus—he just took his hit-by-pitch and went to first base.”

– Jason