Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Beer Leaguers: Medalla Light and Cody Ross

By The Common Man

Last night, as The Common Man sat in a tiny San Juan restaurant, watching the Steelers beat the Bengals and having the best damn Cuban sandwich of his life, TCM was surprised to find himself enjoying a Medalla Light, a local Puerto Rican beer brewed in Mayag├╝ez. Now, it could have been the two straight days of traveling (a day to get to Minnesota to drop The Boy off with his grandparents, and a day to get to PR (plus, TCM’s got another day today of island hopping)), or it could have been the time of night (roughly 11:00 local time), or it could have been the weather (cool and steamy, after a rainstorm) or it could have been the atmosphere, but despite not being a very good beer, Medalla Light was perfect for the time and place. The Cody Ross of beer.

Like Cody Ross, there is little to distinguish Medalla Light from it’s competitors. Thin and watery, this beer is more akin to American style light pilsners than other island beers, such as Red Stripe. It’s definitely a cut above Bud Light and Miller Lite, but not so much that the comparison is unwarranted. Maybe more like Michelob Light or Ultra.

Cody Ross is a tweener, who can get by playing CF if he’s not exposed too often, but doesn’t really hit well enough (.265/.323/.466, 104 career OPS+)to be a star corner outfielder. And in the flurry of deals the Giants made this summer to upgrade their offense, he was hardly an afterthought. After all, the team went out and signed The Machine. Then it willfully traded for Jose Guillen. Brian Sabean apparently only claimed Cody Ross off waivers to block the Padres and Braves from getting him, and was completely surprised when the Marlins didn’t pull him back. Even his manager had a hard time picking him out, giving Jose Guillen virtually all of the playing time in RF. Guillen started 25 of 29 games in September and October, hitting .217/.267/.337 over 90 PAs. Meanwhile, Ross started just 14 of the last 29 games, and only once over the last week of the regular season (and was removed in the 6th inning).

But in the playoffs, with Guillen injured and under investigation for receiving PEDs, the Giants turned to Ross. And Ross responded, hitting .294/.390/.686 in the postseason (and .350/.435/.950!!! in the NLCS) with 5 homers, 5 doubles, 10 RBI, and 11 runs scored, exactly the kind of production that San Francisco had been desperate for. Ross delivered again and again, , jumping all over the Braves, taming Roy Halladay and the Phillies, and making timely hits in the World Series. At the right time, and in the right place, Cody Ross had been there and had performed above and beyond his natural ability.

For that work, he has earned a place in baseball history. He will be remembered forever, and Giants fans will be eternally grateful for his heroics. So too is The Common Man grateful to Medalla Light, the beer that was the perfect accent to the loud Spanish at the tables around TCM, and the delicious food before him. Sometimes, you only get one chance to make sure that you’ll be remembered forever. Cody Ross and Medalla Light hit it out of the park.

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