I’ve been pretty rough on Aaron Wade Miles this year. Heck, this year has been pretty rough on Aaron Wade Miles. He has become the Rodney Dangerfield of the 2009 Cubs, which, considering the number of Cubs having down or deplorable years, really tells you something.
But Miles hasn’t lost control of his emotions on the mound. He hasn’t spouted off to the media. He didn’t get busted for smoking weed at the World Baseball Classic or put on extra weight. He didn’t trade Mark DeRosa. He doesn’t hop before he catches fly balls. He wouldn’t hurt a fly on a Gatorade Machine. The only reason I and a teeming throng of others have lambasted him with gleeful mockery is that these are his stats.
I was thinking of listing some of the things I’ve said about him, but that would betray my genuine intentions for this post (which is why I didn’t make a joke about whether or not he could hurt a fly on a Gatorade Machine . . . from now on, I’m just going to insert asterisks * in places I feel tempted to mock him). I want to commend Aaron Miles for conducting himself like a professional and, frankly, like a good man during this, the worst year in his career.
You can make fun of Miles for his size, but he’s probably the same height as I am. So I can’t make fun of him for that. And yes, his hitting has been miserable, although marred somewhat by injury for the first half of the season . . . second half, too, maybe? But other than that, he’s done nothing wrong*.
When Miles fails on the field* he never shows his frustration. Do you know how hard that is to do*? To keep your composure when you ******. Well, it’s not easy. But it is commendable. And I’ve just never detected anything in the way he carries himself (and believe me, I look for these things) that would identify him as the jerk I’ve secretly wanted him to be.
With a guy who isn’t producing, you want him to give you the Todd Hundley total package. If you’re gonna stink, you should be a jerk—it’s just proper baseball etiquette. But Aaron Miles is not that guy. He tries hard. You can tell he wants to succeed. He just doesn’t compound his baseball troubles* by making an ass of himself.
So if you ever find yourself in a situation when you’re less than your best (or less than your mediocre) ask yourself this simple question: What Would Aaron Miles Do? I’m so printing up WWAMD bracelets right now.
UPDATE: I was trying to think what the best way to handle Aaron Miles at this point in his two year contract would be. Although it would mean eating $2 million, I wouldn’t mind seeing him released. But as long as we have a couple weeks of games with no playoff implications, it might not hurt to give him the everyday job at second—or at least a handful of starts. As terrible as he has looked, I’m sure it’s next to impossible to get better on the bench. If the experiment went terribly, though, I’d have to continue the barrage of insults . . . no reason for all of us to suffer.