October 27, 2013 may be one of the worst days of my life. Yes, maybe I am being a tad over dramatic but let me lay it out there for you. Earlier that day, just two hours before game 4 of the World Series, my Dad calls and tells me a cat I have only had the pleasure of knowing for four years literally drops dead in front of him. Already heartbroken going into the game, I really needed my home team to take this key game to go up 3-1 in the series. Instead, what could arguably be the most embarrassing way to end a game, let alone a World Series game happens. Down 4-2 with power hitter Carlos Beltran up to bat, Kolten Wong gets picked off at first. Just a reminder, I am already at what feels like an all time low point on this day. I was so frustrated and angry at this guy who was just a pinch runner blunders a World Series game that I turned to my wife and said, “This guy is done in my book, I hope he gets cut next year”.
The 2014 home opener came and I had to accept that my wishes where unheard of, maybe Wong can make some amazing defensive plays and redeem himself for contributing to that fateful terrible day I had the previous season. No, Wong fed my fire and displeasure for him by committing an opening day error. I was so down on this young player that I ignored the fact that there were three errors on the day. It didn’t take long for Wong to be sent back down to Memphis where I was sure he would stay. I mean come on, he couldn’t even last a full month before he become a deterrent to the team. His stay in Memphis lasted just about three weeks when he was called back up in the middle of May, and this is where I eat my words.
Last night, Wong had the type of game I expect John Mozeliak knew he could have when he took him 22nd overall in the 2011 draft. That’s when he made two hits, three RBIs, and a walk-off home run to boot. During his last at bat, I found myself rooting him on, wanting him to shut me up and he came through in a big way. Even falling in the count 0-2 before battling back to 3-2 before hitting the “Wong ball”. Thank you Joe Kelly for the pun of the night.
While hitting only .238, I have found myself forgiving Kolten and actually rooting for him, but if anybody was playing the way he is now, it becomes much easier to forgive. His defensive plays have been impressive and when he starts to hit, he really gets it going. He put up four hits against the Yankees only 10 days after being called back up and hit his first career home run/grand slam in early June. Unfortunately he missed two weeks due to a shoulder injury but since he has been back, he is hitting .400 with 4 RBIs and 2 homeruns. So far Wong is looking like a huge upgrade from Mark Ellis who is hitting a depressing .193.
When Matt Adams came back after a 15 day stint on the disabled list, I think it was an understanding among Cardinal Nation that he would spark a surge in the offense and make the Redbirds look like contenders. Kolten Wong has been a very pleasant surprise to this fan. His play over the last couple of months turned a known hater into a fan. He is still young and will make mistakes. However, I expect nothing but great things from the first round draft pick and will go one further and say there will be plenty of more walk off wins from the rookie second basemen.
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