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Michael Cuddyer and playing the game 'The right way'

Michael Cuddyer was always one to put his head down and play hard and respectful, but should we even care about that stuff anymore?

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the 35th Purple Row edition (and 140th overall) of Tuesdays With Mitch, where SNOW DAY WOOOOOO! Let's get into it...


The "play the game the right way" crowd lost a good one this week when Michael Cuddyer retired after a long, rock-solid career on Friday. Here at Purple Row, we've already had a couple posts on Cuddy's retirement, but I wanted to add some brief thoughts.

Cuddyer played eleven seasons with the Twins and just three with the Rockies (plus one with the Mets), so in my mind, he'll always be a Twinkie when I reflect on his career. But after watching him up close for a few years, a single trait always stuck out to me:  The way he played the game.

Cuddyer would hit a routine grounder to short and and bust his ass down the first base line. The fact that he was sure to be out by ten feet didn't matter. Cuddyer would smoke one into the 20th row of the pavilion and simply drop his bat, put his head down, and trot around the bases. Cuddyer always had his teammates' back.

(Oh man, I love that vine.)

Anyway, I think there is inherent value in watching a guy who plays baseball like that. He respected his teammates, he respected his opponents (unless they intentionally threw at Josh Rutledge), he respected the media (as Patrick Saunders eloquently outlined). He respected the game. In turn, he garnered the respect of seemingly everyone involved in the sport. That's a pretty great trait to attach to a career.

All that sure made Cuddyer easy to root for as a fan.

Now, the previous couple of paragraphs are sure to be met with scoffs and eye-rolls from the folks who don't give a lick about all that stuff. Lots of serious baseball fans think that the put-your-head-down mentality is boring and even harmful to the game. Baseball should be FUN! Why are you curmudgeons so serious about a stupid routine groundout?

So Cuddyer's recent retirement got me thinking about these two different schools of thought. Does baseball need more bat flips and swag*? Or should those punks shut up and learn to play like Cuddyer did?

*Do the kids still say "swag"?

My answer: It needs both.

Baseball is a beautiful game filled with a wide range of characters. Some are going to hot-dog it and draw attention themselves. Some are going to put their head down and deflect attention to their teammates.

My favorite athlete ever will always be Todd Helton. He played the way Cuddyer did. Respectful, quiet, team-first. My favorite thing to watch in baseball currently is the way Carlos Gonzalez drops his bat and pimps every no-doubter for a good five seconds. It's beautiful.

I love that stuff. Do I get a little peeved if Nolan Arenado pulls into a slow jog halfway up the first base line on a grounder to second? Nah, not at all.

But that said, watching established veterans and multi-millionaires like Cuddyer dig it out even though they don't have to is a beautiful thing in its own right.

The game of baseball takes a lot of crap from the "have more fun" crowd and the "have more fun" crowd takes a lot of crap from the "play the right way" crowd.

But perhaps both styles of play, both schools of thought, both mentalities of the fans have desirable traits that make both okay and admirable.


Okay off to the weekly departments...

As you should know by now, I added a poll for you to vote on your favorite clips throughout the offseason. Sometime before Spring Training rolls around, we'll crown an offseason CLIP OF THE YEAR. So don't forget to vote for your favorite at the bottom of this post. (Last week's winner was the cat taking down the bundled-up little kid.)

Stud of the week:

Cuddy! Again, congrats to Michael Cuddyer on his retirement. I know he made a lot of fans in the Rockies community.

Ass of the week:

This freaking guy in a German basketball league had a sweet tip-in dunk on a missed free throw. Unfortunately he dunked on the wrong basket for the wrong team. I mean, look at the different uniform colors here. His teammates' reactions and the long periods of silence (presumably stemming from a general sense of dumbfounded-ness) from the announcers really put this one over the top.

I'll never understand what is going on there. Is that dude just the dumbest basketball player in history? Why would he do that?

Tweet of the week:

Pretty solid work from the Globetrotters here.

Photo of the week:

Well this is something!

And a bunch of other stuff from around the internet:

Do you all know about the "Silent Night" tradition at Taylor University? It's one of the coolest things in sports and looks to be about as much fun as a college kid can possibly have. Here's the gist:

  • Dress up in a ridiculous costume for a probably-meaningless December basketball game
  • Stay completely silent until the Taylor scores its tenth point of the game
  • Go absolutely nuts, causing a timeout on the floor
  • Cap off the night by singing "Silent Night" in unison as the game winds down (shown in the beginning of this video, for some reason).
It's all pretty outstanding:

It's well-known that Rob Gronkowski is a national treasure. Here he is barely containing his laughter when a reporter says "69" on two separate occasions. This video is kills me.

This women's rugby player appears to be difficult to tackle. Maybe stay out of her way next time, lady.

Something is wrong with this weird-ass cat. And why isn't that baby tiger fighting back?

Jordan Spieth went "Happy Gilmore" at a pro-am. It appears to be a pretty solid drive.

This slow-motion angle of a Cam Newton touchdown pass is kind of mind-boggling. NFL quarterbacks are good! At least, this one is.

Brett Lawrie seems like a bit of an oddball, but I'm including this because professional baseball players are generally much better athletes than most people realize. I mean I could do that, no-problem, but I understand that most people can't.

Russell Westbrook had 0.7 seconds on the clock and couldn't find an open teammate, so he just did this. What an incredible play.

Some kid on Tennessee pulled off the most dramatic and least convincing flop I have ever, ever seen.

I'm not a big UFC guy, but this reaction video from both fighters' camps is pretty solid.

Here's the great Dikembe Mutombo Mpolondo Mukamba Jean-Jacques Wamutombo doing the stanky leg (or something). Gotta love Deke.

@therealsilento, @dofficialmutombo & @felipelopez13 at the @nba Holiday Party in New York.

A video posted by Adam Silver (@adamsilvernba) on

And finally, here's one of College Gameday's best moment's in recent memory. Lee Corso watching footage of himself coaching at Navy from almost 50 years ago. The footage itself is pretty awesome, but Corso's reaction is great too. Who knew he wasn't always just a pretty-annoying goofball?!

Now go vote in the poll below! (I'm going with "Silent Night 2015 at Taylor University". It's just too fun.)

Happy Tuesday, everybody. Thanks for readin'. See ya next week.


Comment on any of this stuff below, or email me at with post ideas, videos, or other media I should know about. Follow me on Twitter @TuesWithMitch.