On Monday the country will be celebrating Presidents’ Day. It will also be a time for celebration among baseball fans because by the end of the week pitchers and catchers will be reporting, and the start of the 2015 season will officially commence. Perhaps the most recognizable monument focusing on past presents in history would be the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. As camps are about to open, what figureheads might make up a Mount Rushmore of today’s game? Baseball is still America’s past time, and as the country celebrates today, we celebrate the game as well on the verge of a new season where hope springs eternal.
To begin, the game needs a great leader to be in charge. The President is the leader of the country, and while Mount Rushmore features four great generals, this mountain can only hold one great manager on it. Bruce Bochy is the first figurehead of today’s game. For starters, he is the longest tenured manager in the game today. Bochy will be entering his 21st season as a field general in the dugout. He is a three-time champion, and certainly has the experience to “speak softly and carry a big stick.”
Any great general must be able to turn and give the ball to that one dependable ace. In today’s game, the figurehead for the pitchers would be Clayton Kershaw. “It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one,” and admit that Kershaw is the benchmark for pitchers right now. The reigning NL MVP and three-time Cy Young winner is the soul of the Los Angeles army, and he “procures success and esteem to all” in trying to lead the Dodgers to a championship.
Over the last few seasons, the game of baseball has seen a lot of great young talent step to the forefront and burst onto the map. “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” The future is certainly bright for Mike Trout as he is the figurehead of the young stars of the game. In his three full seasons at the big-league level, he has finished in the top two of the MVP voting all three years. The reigning AL MVP has played in just 493 games but is arguably the face of the game today. For fans, Trout has a “style that certainly swims with the current,” and he has all the makings to “stand like a rock” for years to come.
With the retirements of Derek Jeter and Paul Konerko last year, currently there are only eight active players in the top-200 of most games played. That amount is just another example of the youth movement in the game today. The active player with the most games played is one Alex Rodriguez at 2,568 in his now 20-year career. Rodriguez ranks 44th in games played, and also featured in the top-200 is Adrian Beltre (76th), Torii Hunter (129th), Ichiro Suzuki (136th), Carlos Beltran (149th), Albert Pujols (178th), and Jimmy Rollins (188th).
However, the player that arguably best represents the figurehead of the veterans, the wisdom and experience, is David Ortiz. Big Papi has become a leader in his own right during his 17-year career and 2,111 games played. Ortiz ranks 180th on the list of all-time games played, but with his smile and approach to the game, he is one player that is “as happy as they make up their minds to be.” As the game’s top designated hitter, Ortiz has always prepared that his chance will come. With countless clutch hits, and a World Series MVP to his credit, Big Papi “can stand adversity, and if you want to test a man’s character, give him power” to hit home runs.
For the 2015 season, the Mount Rushmore of baseball is Bochy, Kershaw, Trout, and Ortiz who best represent the league today. Enjoy the holiday as #BaseballBegins.