This happened a few days ago, but in my hectic return to the life of a college student, I didn't get the chance to blog about it; and I'd be doing Chooch, nay the world, an injustice if I didn't thank that beautiful spaniard behind the plate for his 10 years of service to the Philadelphia Phillies.
If you haven't heard, Carlos Ruiz, 37, was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for veteran catcher A.J. Ellis and minor league pitcher Tommy Bergjans. This move was kind of a surprise for many, swapping veteran catchers, but it appears Ruiz will get a legitimate shot at another championship ring. As a Phillie fan, it hurts to see a fan favorite like Chooch go (but as a spiteful, vindictive Phillie fan, it's nice to steal LA's fan favorite in Ellis). Chooch is the man behind the plate that I tried to emulate in my own baseball career. His calm demeanor and stout defense allowed him to excel as one of the top catchers in baseball, and his success on the field was showcased by him tying Jason Varitek for no-hitters caught by one catcher.
Ruiz has caught 4 different no-hitters, one of which was a Roy Halladay perfect game in Miami in 2010 (shit that feels like a long time ago). While Chooch never boasted the greatest offensive numbers aside from the year he was popping Addy in the dugout (so fresh), he remained permanently behind the plate as the perennial brick wall for the Phillies staff.
To the Panamanian second baseman that joined the Phils in 1998, who learned how to catch in the minors, who came up, smiled his cute little smile at his pitcher 60 feet 6 inches away, through the years of the early outs in the NLDS, through the glorious 2008 campaign, through the tough downfall, and the current rebuilding phase, thank you Carlos Joaquin Ruiz. You will be sorely missed in the red and white pinstripes. Now go win another title you beautiful, tiny bastard.