Short Hops: David Segui by Marc Tracy

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at Tablet Magazine, where he edits The Scroll. You can Tweet him @marcatracy.

David Segui is how I learned what a switch-hitter was. He is how I learned that it is considered advantageous to throw left-handed if you are a first baseman; and, more basically, he is how I learned that if a player has his glove on one hand, he throws with the other; and, more confusingly, he is how I learned that if a player is facing you on television–say, if the camera was on David Segui, back leg touching the bag, body splayed, and front, gloved arm stretched out toward the mound, holding a runner close–then if a player’s glove is on your left, it is really on his own right, and he is a left-hander (this part, admittedly, remains confusing).

In 1991, when Segui was the Orioles’ better-than-average young first baseman, I believed that teams only had one starting pitcher, because I was six and whenever my father took me to Memorial Stadium, invariably Ben McDonald was pitching, because, despite Cal Ripken, Jr.’s MVP season, the O’s weren’t very good and my dad only considered it worth the schlep from our Washington, D.C. suburb if McDonald, one of the highest-rated prospects in history, was throwing.

By ’92, I was reading the paper after every game and could imitate Cal Ripken’s bizarre stance that led him to have one of his worst seasons to date; by ’93, between television and radio–usually migrating from television to radio as I was forced to my bed, the lights shut out–I never missed a game. David Segui is how I learned that sometimes your team trades players, and that you could even trade them from one league to another (Segui went to the Mets). Segui’s successor, Rafael Palmeiro, is how I learned that the steroids scandal wasn’t some distant thing but something that would affect me personally. But only today, looking up Segui, did I learn that, having begun his career in Baltimore and then spent the better part of a decade shuttled among six different teams, he ended his career as a back-up DH also in Baltimore–on a team I no longer cared about (thanks to owner Peter Angelos) in a sport I no longer cared much about (thanks to steroids).

So I guess this is growing up.

1 Responses to “Short Hops: David Segui by Marc Tracy”

  • great post and I love those score cards

    sometime in the late 90’s my dad and I went to the Trop to see the Devil Rays play whatever team Segui was on at that time – we had good seats down the first base line because my dad had somehow been involved in choosing what type of flooring the showers in the visitors clubhouse at the Trop would have (they would be like Anaheim’s – cuz all the players loved that locker room!)

    When Segui was on first my father turned to me with utter joy in his face and said “Watch this!” He then started yelling at the top of his lungs “DIEGO DIEGO DIEGO” a reference to the senior Segui – it remains to this day the most passionate a fan has even been at a Devil Rays or Rays game

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