Friday, June 06, 2008


You know you've done something wrong when you are pitching well, yet get cut by a team that has virtually no quality pitching.

That's the latest fate in the career of former Twin Sidney Ponson.

(For the record, I'm pretty sure that I stole the "Pontoon" nickname from Patrick Reusse of the Star Tribune, but I can't find any web evidence.)

Ponson pitched poorly enough to get cut by the Twins last year, even though the Twins were short of pitching depth at the time. In his career, he's run into legal problems, anger problems, weight problems, and drinking problems.

Despite his issues, the Texas Rangers, who have no pitching, took a flyer on Ponson. He started the season in Triple-A, but eventually got a shot with the big club. He appeared to have lost some weight, spun a complete game six-hitter at the Twins, and looked to be back on track. A 4-1 start was far more than anyone could have expected.

Sidney, however, found himself out of a job Friday. I suppose you'd like to know why, so here is Rangers GM Jon Daniels with an explanation:
"He had disrespectful and adverse reactions to situations that were unbecoming of a teammate," Daniels said. "We want guys who want to be here. We're trying to put together a team here, and based on some comments and reactions, he didn't want to be part of that. That's not something we're going to tolerate."
The Dallas Morning News story does offer more detail on where Ponson may have gone wrong.

According to multiple club sources, the situation had been bubbling for days and came to a head in the last two days over a disagreement in Ponson's pitching schedule. Ponson, who pitched on three days' rest (one less than normal) Wednesday, was told he'd get five days' rest before his next start, according to sources. He challenged the Rangers to release him.

The Rangers had asked Ponson (4-1, 3.88 ERA) to take an extra day of rest to keep Kevin Millwood on his normal four days' rest.

According to the sources, however, problems began to fester more than a week ago when the Rangers were in Tampa Bay.

The night before his start against the Rays, according to the sources, Ponson was seen late in the evening in the hotel bar. The next day, he lasted only five innings and allowed 12 hits in a 7-3 loss. Club officials spoke with Ponson about comportment after the incident and reiterated the "one-strike" stance they took when they signed him in March. In essence, the club said it would cut ties if he had one behavioral issue.

You don't hear that one from many general managers. The Rangers have the worst team ERA in baseball (5.09), and they just dumped one of their best pitchers.

Must have been some disrespect.

No one roots for people to be unable to overcome personal demons. Ponson is in a position, however, that makes you wonder if he may have just blown his last chance.

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