Monday, June 2, 2008

Your SKO Random Third Baseman of the Day: Miguel Cairo

Name: Miguel Jesus Cairo
Ht:6'0'' Wt:160
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Years As a Cub: 1997, 2001

He thought it was funny, too.

If you've forgotten that Miguel Cairo was ever a Chicago Cub, well, congratulations to you.
The no-stick, no-glove utility player actually made two stops on the North Side, once during the miserable 1997 season and again in a much larger role during the 2001 season, a season which ultimately brought pain to Cubs fans after a hope-filled season that saw the Cubs in first place from April through July before an August slump led to a third place finish. Despite a .328/64 hr/160 RBI season from Sammy Sosa, that season will forever be indelibly linked with the Miguel Cairo Era for most Cubs fans.

Cairo was picked up by the Cubs before the 2001 season in a trade with the Oakland A's in which the Cubs gave up prospect Eric Hinske. Hinske, a third baseman as well, would go on to win the 2002 Rookie of the Year Award and has posted exactly one good half season in his 7 major league years, making him a productive player for exactly one more half season than Miguel Cairo has ever been.

Most people don't really know where my loathing of Miguel Cairo comes from. The fact that the majority of his career has been spent in Yankee, Cardinal, or Met uniforms is a likely reason, or the fact that his existence on the bench in 2001 forced Cubs fans to pray every day that Don Baylor would start Ron Coomer instead, and I am profoundly against anything that makes me pine for Ron Fucking Coomer. In all actuality Miguel posted an above career average season as a Cub offensively ( .285/2 hr/9 RBI/.364 OBP/.374 SLUG) all of which were above his career norms. Defensively, at least in his 40 games at third, he was miserable, with 5 errors and a terrible .900 fielding %, but that also is not my true reason for praying for his death via flesh-eating bacteria.

My true reason for hating Miguel Cairo is that for some reason his release by the Cubs, and subsequent pick-up by the Cardinals, made him the f*&king catalyst for the Cubs fall from 1st place and the Cardinals rise past the Cubs to the NL Wild Card. On August 10, the day Cairo was claimed off of waivers from the Cubs by the Cardinals, Chicago was in 1st place at 66-48, while the 59-55 Cardinals were 7.0 games back and lost in the middle of the playoff picture. After the Cards took Cairo (who hit .333 with St. Louis), the Cubs went 22-26 to finish 88-74 and out of the playoffs. The Cardinals got blisteringly hot, and went on a 34-14 run to finish 93-69, tied with Houston for the Central Division lead, and earned a Wild Card berth.

How Miguel Cairo of all people managed to so drastically change the fates of two teams, two epic rivals, I don't know. All I know is I hate that blasted troll with every fiber of my being.

Cairo went on to play with the Cardinals, Mets, and Yankees, and is currently a member of the Seattle Mariners, where his .208 average is the talk of the American League.

Seriously, Miguel Cairo? How the f*&k did that happen?