One year ago today Sam Fuld was a mere human being when he woke up on April 11th, 2011. He was hitting a pedestrian .227/.320/.318 as the Rays headed into Boston with a 2-8 record. But when the game that started at 7:10pm EST ended a little before 11pm EST Sam Fuld had fully evolved and the Legend of Sam Fuld was in full swing.
Here is my story of how the Legend of Sam Fuld began and how the legend eventually planted its flag in the date of April 11th, 2011, a day that will forever be known as April Fuld’s Day.”
The legend started for me when Sam Fuld got his first start of the season on April 3rd and threw Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy out at the plate with a perfect throw that beat Hardy by close to a mile. He wouldn’t start again until April 6th when he would go 2-3 with a double and a stolen base. His bandwagon gained a few that night.
That same night I wrote my first piece for DraysBay titled “Is It Time To Replace Dan Johnson?” My replacement idea had Johnny Damon moving to first base and Sam Fuld getting the playing time in left field. The post went on to get 263 comments, most of them bashing me for wanting to bench Johnson and others for me wanting to play Fuld, but there were a few who were on the Fuld bandwagon already.
The date is now April 7th, the day of my post, and Fuld would go 1-3 with a walk at the plate and steals 3 bases! The bandwagon tripled in size that day.
Skip ahead with me to April 9th. Fuld would end the day 1 for his last 9 including the game on April 8th and today’s game but he would make what might have been the best catch of the season, erasing everyone’s memory of his 1-9 mini-slump and momentarily giving the Rays fan base a glimmer of hope and something to cheer about.
On April 10th Fuld would go 1-4 and hit his 2nd double of the season but the Rays would lose to the Baltimore Orioles and fall to 2-8.
It is now April 11th, the day that will forever be remembered as April Fuld’s day, where on national television the Legend of Sam Fuld breaks wide open on ESPN against the Red Sox and the bandwagon becomes overflowing with new fans.
The Legend hit its highest point when Fuld needed only a single to become the 2nd Ray to ever hit for the cycle and put his name in the Rays history books. In his last at-bat he laced a line-drive down the leftfield line and rather than stopping at first to collect his “cycle” he would stroll into 2nd with a stand up double, erasing his name from the Rays history books.
But as Fuld was erasing his name from the Rays history book he was embedding it in our minds and in our hearts so that one day, sitting in a rickety rocking chair telling our grandchildren stories, we can recall the Legend of Sam Fuld, allowing it to live on forever rather than fade away and deteriorate on dead trees.
Happy April Fuld’s Day to all!
-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at DRaysBay and the Florida Marlins at ESPN’s SweetSpot site Marlins Daily. You can follow him on twitter at @FigureFilbert. Be sure to follow MLBdirt at @MLBdirt