I wanted to wait — but I just couldn’t — until Fat Tuesday (aka Mardi Gras) and dub it the Feast Day of the lovable Ronald “Ronnie” Belliard, who was know for approaching most days as though they were the last before a prolonged period of fasting, and for sex scandals — two things at the core of the contemporary Pardi Gras.
Some of you might recall a 2007 extortion case in which some bloke demanded $150k from poor pudgy Ronnie in exchange for keeping the fact that the infielder had impregnated his (i.e. the extortionist’s) daughter. You probably won’t remember (unless you are me or one of the ten kids I hung around with) the rumors I heard as an adolescent, when Ronnie played for my beloved Brewers: that the Ron-dog paid one of the Brewers’ bat boys to keep him well-stocked in porn vids.
Where has Ronnie been in his life? Where is he now? Where will he be tomorrow? Let’s retrospect:
1999: Ronnie was a rookie, more full of potential, less full of foodstuffs. The fact that any random two-word phrase in the English language could indicate a sex move and would have at least one website dedicated to it within the next decade was not yet a glimmer in Ronnie’s eye. He posted a .357 wOBA that year for the Brewers, a mark that he wouldn’t come close to matching until 9 years and 4 teams later, when he posted a career-high .369 wOBA in 337 Plate Appearances for the 2008 Nationals.
In 2009, his wOBA sunk to .297 by midseason, whereupon he was traded to the Dodgers, much to the disappointment of Nats fans, particularly this woman:
In between these peaks in wOBA, he was constructing a short, stout career in Colorado, Cleveland, and St. Louis.
He swung hard in adorably dumpy pants.
The press loved his playful antics.
Ronnie dons his Manny suit.
He was loved everywhere he went.
Ronnie B (left), Bob “Sparkles” Marley (t-shirt), and Toby Radloff, St. Louis edition.
And then Ronnie was a New York Yankee.
And then Ronnie retired.
So, what will Ronnie do now, in the absence of baseball? His wikipedia page says he captains the Tigres de Licey in the Dominican winter league, but that’s only a month out of the year, and he may have even given that up.
Here, I’d like to mention that the University of Maryland has started a competitive eating team — the first ever of it’s kind, apparently. No, no, I’m not suggesting that Ronnie join the team. Rather, given that the team’s mantra is “Feed the Turtle” (a derivation of the already horribly derivative “Fear the Turtle” slogan of Maryland Terrapins athletics), I believe Ronnie would make an excellent mascot. Don’t you?