Posted: Wednesday October 18, 2006 3:17PM; Updated: Friday October 20, 2006 4:49PM
How long can Scott Spiezio's soul patch grown?
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Scott Spiezio's soul patch is starting to grow on me.
Not literally, of course. I mean, I'm a girl. And the stoplight red chia pet-ish fuzz under Spiezio's lip is hideously ugly. It's probably even uglier than that porn-stache Jason Giambi misguidedly grew this summer. But the longer this postseason goes on, the uglier (and I don't mean physically) Spiezio's Cardinals teammates get, the more I find myself digging that dreadful patch of hair.
Back in February, Spiezio was a 33-year old theoretically washed-up third baseman, sitting at home in Illinois, rubbing his skinny goatee. He'd been a postseason star with the Angels, an injured and then-released dud with the Mariners and he was trying to convince himself retirement could be fun. Then the Cards called and asked if he'd sign a minor league contract. He said, heck yeah. Spiezio then visited his high school friend who dyes Spiezio's gray hairs out (yep, he admits to dying his hair) and, deciding this new start needed a new face, had her bleach the fuzz under his lip.
Spiezio's painted "Manic Panic" Paul Mitchell red on himself every day since. It's the last thing he does before he heads for the ballpark and after David Eckstein first told a reporter, "It's not my thing" back in the spring, there's not a Cardinal around who's mocked the formally-titled imperiale. Not now.
In case you missed it, that was Spiezio who hit the bases-loaded triple in the bottom of the eighth on the season's second to last day to give the Cards a 3-2 win over the Brewers and slide them into the playoffs.
It was Spiezio who hit the two-out, two-run triple that tied Game 2 of the NLCS against the Mets and then brought home an insurance run in the ninth with a double. He hit another triple in Game 3, helping spur the Cards on to a 5-0 lead and on this team with Albert Pujols and Scott Rolen, it's the five-position, part-timer Spiezio who's been Mr. Clutch.
And it's Spiezio who's launched a fashion trend.
Sure, Chad Johnson's been hawking silicon skull caps with his peroxided mohawk, but those things go for $40. You can get a fuzzy Spieziale with double-sided tape outside Busch Stadium for $3. There's another lady who'll sell you two felt ones for $5. People are showing up at the ballpark with construction paper patches, ones made out of sweatpants and nail-polished band-aids, and last weekend there were some Rams fans wearing blue ones. Rumor has it, Cards manager Tony LaRussa just might change his shaving pattern. Alright, maybe not. Still, there's clearly some magic in the thing. This postseason, Busch Stadium keeps erupting in chants of "Speez-eeh-oh." And really, who else are the people of St. Louis supposed to root for on this team?
Albert Pujols who told a group of reporters "you all are a pain in my ass" before Game 1 of the NLCS? After Game 1, he said Tom Glavine "wasn't good" in throwing seven shutout innings and Pujols sort-of-tossed, really-threw a chair that hit my friend Brian -- and never apologized.
Or should they root for Rolen, who's almost as well paid a grumbler as Pujols? Rolen makes $12.5 million, went 1 for 14 to start the postseason, and then whined when La Russa decided to try Spiezio at his third base spot in Game 2.
La Russa, whose next job could be in the White House spin center? First he lambasted the media for "misrepresenting" Pujols' dis of Glavine, then when Pujols declined to take it back, he lambasted the media for not exercising "common sense" and just ignoring what Pujols said.
So yeah, I'm digging the red soul patch. Besides, it'll be a lot easier on my muscles to try and look like Spiezio than Pujols.