Amongst the swirl of one of the busiest offseason/free agency periods in recent
memory, aging star Romeo English quietly walked away from the game of baseball. He’s
no doubt been one of the game’s most controversial figures and now that it’s all said
and done it’s time to examine his legacy.


Hall of Famer? Unfulfilled potential? Star player? Waste of cap space? Say what you will
but Romeo English was a winner. The man defined the concept of clutch play and that’s
one thing that can’t be questioned or debated.


If you have no idea what I’m talking about I guess I’ll forgive you for not following my
virtual, Super Mega Baseball 3 franchise. Yup, I’m talking about a video game and if you
ever read my post about my NBA 2K career, and virtual arch rival, Damian Lillard you’ll
know that I take this stuff pretty seriously.


With that little disclaimer out of the way let’s get back to what really matters here,
Romeo English. If you look at his statistics you could be left scratching your head as to
why a player with his numbers was making $10,000,000 per season. Romeo batted
below team average on an offensive powerhouse, routinely ranked among the top of
the league in times caught stealing and both his regular season and playoff numbers
were anything but eye popping. So where does he get his value from?


For one, Romeo English was the only true 5-tool player on the Nemesis. He had the
ability to hit, hit for power, was a gold glove caliber fielder, had blazing speed on the
base path and cannon of an arm from the outfield. On a star-studded team, there were
others who shinned brighter but he was the missing piece to the championship puzzle.
Amongst the sluggishly slow, but dominant hitting Nemesis team that he joined as a free
agent, Romeo brought that element of speed. Able to track down any ball in center
field, able to make catches on the run that others would have to dive for, able to gun
out runners who dared to try to take an extra bag and able to score all the way from
first on single. Romeo brought speed, Romeo brought excitement and most importantly
Romeo brought championships.


The inconsistency was maddening. Stretches of play where he put all 5 tools on display
and looked like a league MVP, followed by at times even longer stretches of play where
he looked like he belonged in the minors.


The one place Romeo English never lacked consistency? The World Series. Here in lies
his true value to the Nemesis. Romeo had the luxury of playing for a team where he
didn’t have to dominate the regular season. He could have bad games and the team had
enough talent to overcome that. Was it frustrating that he’d go 3-5 with a HR and stolen
base only to go on a stretch of hitting 1-10 while getting caught twice for stealing?

Absolutely. And it must have been frustrating for Romeo himself to see things like
“Wherefore art thou Romeo?” splashed across the front section of the sports page
whenever he experienced a slump. It was all worth it though.


The Nemesis were contenders who could never quite scale baseball’s Everest. An
offensively gifted team that just needed something more. Enter Romeo English. Three
seasons with the Nemesis, three straight championships. You can’t teach clutch and
Romeo had it in spades. Even in games where he would go 1-5 for at the plate, more
often than not that one hit would be a two out ball to the gap with a runner in scoring
position.


The World Series is where he built his legacy though. After an up and down first season
with the Nemesis Romeo came alive in the season’s final series. When his team needed
any spark they could get to win out a back and fourth five game series, Romeo hit .450+,
smashed 4 homers, went two for two on stolen bases and played flawless in the
outfield. Nemesis win it in five, Romeo is named World Series MVP.
The next season was a similar story. Solid regular season, Hall of Fame level World
Series, another ring in the bag.


At 36 years old, there was a consensus from fans and media alike, thanks for the good
times but it’s time to move on from Romeo English. If there was one thing Romeo had
experience with, it was people doubting his ability. The Nemesis did not bow to public
pressure and instead stuck with their guy and he had the perfect poetic ending to his
career.


Through two hard fought playoff rounds he was batting sub a dismal sub .150. The worst
stretch of his career. This was in sharp contrast to teammate and season MVP, Jock
Sports who was carrying an absurd .500 on the dot average into the championship
series.


True to form Romeo delivered on baseball’s biggest stage and proved he had just
enough magic left in the tank to do something special. The aging veteran flipped the
switch, batting .350, stealing a base and hitting one final home run. With game four
going to extra innings, star slugger Jock Sports going 0-5 and the Hot Corners
threatening to push an injury riddled and exhausted Nemesis to final fifth game, Romeo
came up clutch. He went 2-4, with a walk, a stolen base and flashed that signature
speed. Even at 36 years old as me managed to slit across the plate and beat out a tag,
scoring all the way from first on a Stacey Staples single. Throughout all the controversy,
all the slumps, all the ups and downs, his teammates had his back so often, it was time
for him to have theirs one last time.


Romeo’s career is over and you can draw whatever conclusion you like about the oft criticized star but at the end of the day you can’t say he didn’t show up when it mattered. So, does he deserve a place in the Hall of Fame as a fringe group of supporters suggest? 


No, no Romeo is not going to the Hall of Fame, but has three rings. Some of the greatest
to ever play the game have never even captured one. There’s only one real goal in
sports and it’s not gaudy numbers or MVPs or the Hall of Fame. It’s winning, it’s standing
there when the dust of the season has settled as the one lone team left standing. So, I
mean at the end of the day who would you rather be, Mike Trout or Romeo English?