In a surprising announcement that came far too early on a Sunday morning for me to catch it as it happened, Mariners non-roster invitee Jody Gerut told the media in an impromptu press conference that he's retiring from baseball. His decision doesn't appear to be related to various injuries, like the heel injury that kept him out for much of the 2010 season; rather, he says he just mentally isn't there anymore. A chunk of his full statement, from Greg Johns:
Physically I'm fine. But mentally my reasons for wanting to be in uniform have become so thin and narrow that I refuse to disrespect the game that has provided so generously for my family by playing it in a halfhearted way.
You should read the whole statement, because Gerut did a remarkably good job of expressing how he feels. What's interesting is that, according to Gerut, he came to camp with every intention of fighting for a job, but only lost the competitive spirit over the last few days. We all go through lows, and we all have our days where we don't feel like we should be doing what we're doing, so on the surface it looks like Gerut may have been a little hasty. But I don't want to pretend like I have any insight whatsoever as to what's been going on in Jody Gerut's head, and he's very clearly given this a lot of thought. For those last few days, it's probably all he's been able to think about. The statement certainly reads like one made with absolute confidence.
And so we bid farewell to a Seattle Mariner we barely knew. Gerut's reasons for walking away are noble and honorable, but I know at least some of us are a little disappointed that we won't get a chance to see what he can do. Ultimately, though, he was a long shot to make the team, so while this is probably the most surprising news of the spring to date, in the long run it shouldn't make a whole lot of difference for us and the M's. This just opens the door a little wider for Ryan Langerhans and Gabe Gross, who are also decent players, albeit in a different way than Gerut was.
Quick closing thoughts:
- Where were you on this one, PECOTA?
- The "lost passion" explanation isn't a new one, but it's a rare one, and one we'll remember as being the same one used by Mike Hargrove when he walked away back in 2007. While Gerut caught us off guard, he didn't leave his managerial post in the midst of an eight-game winning streak, so Hargrove's announcement is still the more shocking of the two.
- I wonder how many people are going to blame this on Eric Wedge. My guess is "some".
- There have to be few more unsettling feelings as a player than the realization that you just don't care that much anymore. After a lifetime of intense competition and drive, there can't be many bigger shocks to the system.