Tonight the Cardinals will fete Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith with a commemorative bobblehead doll adorned with his 13 Gold Gloves.
The Cardinals shouldn't be doing this. Ozzie shouldn't be participating.
On December 2nd of 2012, Ozzie Smith accepted $519,203 for his awards from SCP Auctions. The trophy gloves are no longer in his possession.
Mr. Smith said at the time that the auction was to help with "family planning". He didn't think they were important enough to keep.
If you care to read my opinion at the time on the sale, the LINK IS HERE.
In short: As a kid that grew up in the late 80's and early 90's, the Cardinals were not good. We didn't have much.
But we had Ozzie Smith. And we had those consecutive Gold Gloves.
It mattered (probably too much) when those awards were bestowed on OUR guy. Again, with the spate of Cardinals success now, it's hard to imagine individual awards filling the vacuum of sports fandom in St. Louis… but it did.
Which brings us to tonight.
Tens of thousands of fans will be reminded of two things: 1) Ozzie was the greatest defensive shortstop ever. And 2) he'd rather have cash than dwell on the past.
It's America. It's his choice.
Just like Pujols leaving for the $$$, we can't be mad at the guy. But you also can't have it both ways.
You can't take the money, but still trade on our emotions. The awards didn't mean anything to Ozzie when he took the cash, so they shouldn't be cause for a celebration by the team or the city.
Can they celebrate him for 1,000 other reasons? Yes. And Yes.
Mr. Smith is a good resident of St. Louis. A supporter of many worthwhile endeavors. And, in my experience, a very nice man. But he's also the guy that made a choice to end his association with the Gold Glove in exchange for money.