Eck of a player

Look at Albert Pujols, and you think superhero. Look at David Eckstein, and you think supermarket, as in this guy could be stocking the shelves or shopping in the produce department next to you.

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But Eckstein’s some kind of athlete and some kind of baseball player, don’t let the appearances fool you. He has tremendous field savvy, and as we saw with that single in Houston the other night, a real knack for being calm in the clutch. Remember, that Pujols blast doesn’t happen without Eck’s two-strike dribbler.

Besides, he really has the right attitude, and handles himself with extreme focus on the field and total professionalism with the media and with fans.

The guy has fun playing ball, and you can see that from the time he steps on the field. Nobody has more fun playing catch than this guy, whether it’s with double-play partner Mark Grudzielanek or, like during Tuesday’s workout, with his brother, Rick, who’s a coach in the Nationals organization but along for this postseason ride with David.

There’s the standard toss from 60 feet or so like everyone else does, but then Eck breaks it out all the way down the line. The other day in Houston, he went all the way to the left-field corner, and with the fan-packed stands jutting out, media all over the place on the field and a boom microphone as a target for Grudzielanek, the two played catch like kids in a park. High arching throws, perfect strikes every time. Fun stuff.

Sure, he’s little. But he’s tough, and he’s absolutely huge for the Cardinals. — John Schlegel / MLB.com

3 Comments

When he hit that foul ball off the inside of his knee and went down, that was just as heartbreaking to watch as Berkman’s home run. He didn’t just bounce right up, like usual. I thought, “You have to be kidding. We just lost another one of our key guys?” After a couple minutes of walking it off, he finally got back to the batter’s box. I wondered in the 9th if he was 100%. But with Eck, you never can tell. He slapped the ball and ran like mad down to first, just like he’s done forever. He’s the Winston Churchill of baseball … never, never, never gives up.

I am a huge ‘Stros fan but I have to say that my husband and I love Eckstein and love watching him. You can tell that he loves what he is doing and he plays from the heart.

Andrea

There’s a lot of smack talk between these two teams, right now. But even as a Cards fan, I have to say that I have always thought of Houston as a class organization. I was rooting for the Braves in the NLDS because I know the Astros always crank it up a notch in the playoffs. I know I’m not the only one to think that playing Houston wore us out a little going into the Series, last year.

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