A.J. will never score another run for the Dodgers
[Update to this: David Young at TBLA pointed out to me that the last run that A.J. Ellis scored for the LAD was the 1 – 0 game Clayton Kershaw pitched on May 1st. The best part is that Ellis was driven in by his best friend Clayton Kershaw.
Single to CF (Ground Ball thru SS-2B); Ellis Scores; Kershaw out at 2B
How bloody cool is that?]
Even sadder is that Ellis has been shown the door by the Dodgers after a long career in the organization.
This season already looked like his swan song, it seemed inevitable that Austin Barnes would be the backup headed into next year but after this trade, I’m not sure that will be the case. Anyway, that is for another day, today is about A.J. Ellis.
Ellis is the only major league player I ever directly interviewed. It happened on the day that Mitch Jones was brought up and everyone was gathered around Mitch Jones because he had had this long minor league career and was getting his first major league start that night. A.J. Ellis had been brought up the same day, had the same career in the minor leagues, but no one seemed to pay him any mind. So I moseyed over and started asking him questions, I think I still have it on my recorder somewhere. Ellis said the same cliches that everyone ever says when they get promoted but I left the interview hoping he would have enough success to have a career. He only got into four games that year. Only ten games the following year. Forty-four games the year after that, and back to 31 games in 2011.
After four tuneups in four years that amounted to 89 games, no one ever envisioned that the 31 one year Ellis would be a full-time catcher for the Dodgers in 2012. The most games he ever caught in the minor leagues was 110, every other year it was less than 100. Yet, not only was he the full-time catcher he had a great year and caught a remarkable 133 games. It was a unique season to be a full-time catcher for the first time at the age of 31. To his credit, Ellis delivered the goods and has been a mainstay on the team since 2012.
Seems no point in discussing his shortcomings now. I just want to think A. J. Ellis for being a big part of a team that won three Division Championships, and for his humor during that period.
Good Luck Mr. Ellis, and I hope the Dodgers can deliver a WS ring to you sometime next year, wherever you catch on.
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