Ok, so, in my opinion Nick Punto Day should have come a long time ago. Back when I started this blog one of my first real posts was focused on the Nick Punto/Matt Tolbert dynamic duo, and I really wish I hadn't written something like that until today. So, my real contribution came back on September 22, 2009. (I like to be way ahead of the game...)
That being said, rather than exhaust my futile knowledge of advanced statistics and in-depth player analysis only to be shown up by people like Parker Hageman and Andrew Bryz-Gornia and etc. etc. etc., I'm going to break out the epic poetry. Yes, that's right, Little Nicky Punto gets an ode...
Punto On the Bases
The ball game was a must-win for the Minneapolis nine that day;
The score stood two to one, with but two innings left to play,
If they were to lose that night, the post season lived no more,
And so the Yankees took the field and Phil Hughes hit the floor.
Minnesota fans know more than most how to lose a game,
If only the New York Yankees could now just do the same;
They sat in the Dome watching the outs slip further ever down
And fans back in New York waited for triumph and a crown.
To liven up the depressed crowd, the organist did sound
A lively tune to announce that Nicky Punto led off this round.
Punto was a legend, and his speed was non-paralleled,
As he stepped up to the plate the crowd's fears were all dispelled.
His bat was none to speak of but he could play good ball,
And shortly after Punto came Mauer (who will one day reach The Hall).
A ball, a strike, a ball, a strike, the count stood two-and-two,
The fans watched this and held their breath, their faces turning blue.
Hughes bent forward at the waist, his mouth curling to a sneer,
Punto simply tapped his bat and on his face he showed no fear.
Winding up upon the mound, Hughes quickly released a pitch
The fans all prayed silently and prepared themselves to bitch.
But lo, behold, the crazy happened which most can scarce conceive:
Punto's bat connected, the hit deeper than any could believe!
It soared over the Dome's infield, and Jeter turned in awe
As Punto doubled to deep left-center and the fans began to caw.
The Metrodome was in an uproar, everyone in the stands
Had suddenly become the largest gathering of Punto's biggest fans.
Punto shook of faux-dirt and wore a broad smile across his face
And whooped and pumped his fist as he stood gloriously on second base.
Hughes, once proud and confident was now so clearly shaken,
Momentum in the game, by the Twins had now been taken!
He tried to settle in, shake off, for Span was his next fate
But none-the-less he quickly delivered a fastball off the plate.
Span was patient, eying the ball, he had the count all in his favor;
Punto on the other hand was overeager for a win to quickly savor.
Hughes wound up again and flung the ball with a loud snort,
Span connected downward, grounding the ball sharply to short.
It looked the perfect sacrifice, enough to move Punto along;
Span was hustling down the line, the crowd was a hollering throng;
But Jeter saw alertly that Little Nicky Punto had set himself to race
He'd set his eyes towards home while panic creased Gardy's face.
Instead of throwing to first, Jeter released it towards the plate
And in that fateful moment, Little Nicky had sealed his fate.
In all of the excitement he'd gone well off past the bag,
And set himself up for A-Rod to apply a gruesome tag.
Somewhere off in the east, the Empire State could cheer,
And steroid-users like A-Rod could grin from ear-to-ear.
But in the cold depressing realm of 'Sota's Metrodome
Twins fans cried and wept as Little Nicky tried 2nd-to-home.