Let's start this off properly: Yuniesky Betancourt is the worst shortstop in Brewers history. That might not necessarily be true, but it feels true. In 2011, his last full season as the Brewers shortstop, he was the worst everyday shortstop in the league. Or at the very least in the bottom five. Even when he did good things, he always followed them up with boneheaded plays, errors and stupid pop-ups. He was the worst. People called him names, people called into radio shows screaming for his replacement and nobody was a fan of him. Nobody. @atmeiller calls him Voldemort and it makes sense because when he was playing shortstop he removed all the light from the world and each one of his swings spread a flurry of Death Eaters throughout Miller Park. He wasn't good at baseball and we were all glad to see him go.
When the Brewers brought back Yuni B, it was like seeing your ex-girlfriend walk back through your door. Only instead of the moderately attractive girl you remember she was sporting a neck tattoo that read "SLUT" and a Nickelback t-shirt that barely hid her pregnant belly. And the baby is yours. The Brewers re-signing Betancourt felt somewhat like the worst thing ever, but it wasn't. Why?
Because the Brewers didn't sign Yuni as an everyday shortstop. They signed him as a utility player and occasional first baseman. He couldn't ruin our lives like he once did. Doug Melvin was smart to think that a former everyday shortstop, even a bad one, was better to have on the team than a career minor leaguer/bench player. He was 100% right and the world owes him an apology for that, but a funny thing has happened since the season started. Something that Doug, the fans or anyone with a brain in their head ever could have expected; Yuni B has been one of the very best Brewers on the team. (To be fair, OOTP saw it coming.)
I don't know when or how it happened, but I suddenly stopped worrying about Yuni. There was a game last week when the Brewers were in a position to tie the game, Yuni was at the plate and I expected him to do something. I not only expected it, but I was surprised when he didn't. Two years ago I would have seen it coming a mile away and tweeted something like "yuni smh" and that would be that. Now? I'm wondering where Corey Hart fits in on this team. What the hell happened?
As far as I can see it there are only a few possible expectations for Yuniesky Betancourt: Good Baseball Player.
- His mohawk has inadvertently given him the powers of Mr. T.
- Spending another season in Kansas City helped him realize that being a Major League Baseball player is a great job, but it is even better when you don't play in Kansas City.
- Learning English in the offseason helped him understand what the coaches meant by "Don't f*ckin' swing at that" and the fans meant by "you suck." (Seriously, this could be true.)
- He actually is Voldemort and this is his Tom Riddle in his Slytherin prefect days.
Or it's just a small sample size. Whatever.