DAN: A Return and a Redemption
By Dan O'Donnell
Mike Cameron was for 25 long games the loneliest man in baseball. The biggest-name player to be hit with the biggest drug suspension baseball has ever imposed, he spent his April in limbo, bouncing between his home in Atlanta, the Brewers spring training complex in Maryvale, and AAA Nashville; all the while wondering if he'd ever be remembered as anything but the guy with two positive stimulant tests.
How fitting, then, that he doubled in his first at-bat as a Brewer and had two RBI and two runs in a season debut that came two days before the end of the worst month of his career. If tragedy comes in threes, redemption certainly comes in twos.
Granted, Cameron has yet to play in his second game with the Brewers, but the spark he provided the struggling lineup was nothing short of electric. When he clapped his hands together after reaching on that second inning double, all of Brewer Nation felt his jubilation. And relief.
For what seems like the first time all year, the Brewer bats were white hot. 17 hits for a team that rode into Chicago with the fourth fewest in the majors was encouraging, a .425 average for a team hitting .240 was downright inspiring. Think about it, the 10 runs they scored tonight represents a full 9% of the 111 they had scored this season.
This may not be entirely because of Cameron, but the Brewers have lacked consistency at the top of the lineup all year, and once they got it, the five bats behind Cameron exploded, batting a combined 12-22 with seven RBI and six runs. Coincidence? Perhaps, but when this most difficult season of Mike Cameron's career is done, we may look back at the game two days before the end of his most difficult month as a turning point--when the Brewers finally got production from their number two hitter and responded in kind.
Redemption, it seems, is twofold.