Prince Fielder reported to camp today. He brings with him some pretty important hardware.
Fielder was the Comeback Player of the Year, an honor that comes with a bit of apprehension because it means you were either really bad the year before, or a non-factor.
But Fielder did more than have a comeback year. He did more than carry the Rangers on his considerably broad shoulders. He set a tone for unselfishness that seemed to be the underpinning of why the Rangers went from worst to first.
Fielder relinquished his position to a better player for the good of the team.
Many stars wouldn’t do that. Most wouldn’t, in fact. But Prince Fielder realized the Rangers were better with Mitch Moreland holding the mitt at first than with him.
Next thing you know, Mitch Moreland has his best season ever.
The irony is, in prior seasons Mitch Moreland was a Designated Hitter who couldn’t hit. And since he was DHing, he wasn’t playing in the field. And since he wasn’t hitting or fielding, his worth to the Rangers wasn’t very high.
Then he got his position back, he got his offense back, and he restored his baseball credibility. And he owes it all to Fielder. He said as much himself.
Prince Fielder, it seems, was responsible for two major comebacks last year.