But last night, I received the mother of all anonymous comments that left me absolutely speechless.
It was left on the "Is the Legacy of Joe Carter Overrated?" post that I wrote back in May, and if you look at the very bottom of the post, you'll find this comment:
"Ian, I guess the 396 HR's I hit didn't matter also.Anonymous comments can come from anywhere and claim to be anybody, but I have a sneaking suspicion this one just might actually be the real Joe Carter (and not just because they say they're the real Joe Carter).
Maybe I just got lucky for 16 years.
You may want to define my career with the WS HR, but it is much more than that. How about in '86 when I was 1 HR, 1 SB, and 1 triple away from doing something that had never been done in the history of the game. ( 300 AVG. 100 RBI's, 100 runs, 200 hits, 9 triples, 29 HR and 29 SB and double digits in doubles).
All these numbers you guys come up with don't mean a thing to me. The bottom line is wins and championships. Everybody has a job to do on a team, mine was to drive in runs and hit HR's.
Do you want stats or championships?? It's a lot of guys that would trade their stats for a championship ring anyday. So don't lose focus on why we play the game!!!! Rings not stats!!!!"
- Joe Carter (Yes the real Joe Carter!!!)
How do I know that? The comment came from near Kansas City, which is Joe Carter's hometown. Again, it could just be somebody from Kansas City pretending to him, but why would they go to the length to type out a comment just to troll a baseball blog?
Rather than assume that this person wasn't Joe Carter, just for a moment let's assume it actually was Joe Carter. If that's him, whoa. Just by the dialogue used in the comment, it sounds very similar to things Joe Carter has said in previous interviews, re: statistics.
If I were Joe Carter, I wouldn't blame him at all for being pissed off for finding that post and being very angry with somebody challenging their entire career. After all, what Major League baseball experience do I have? Zero.
But thanks to advanced Sabermetrics, we have the benefit of looking back and taking a second glance at player's careers from a different perspective. The Sabermetric movement arguably helped Bert Blyleven get into Cooperstown, and I'm sure it will do the same for others down the road.
If this was truly Joe Carter that left this comment on that post, then I am absolutely flabbergasted. My childhood hero now knows who I am, but now he only knows me as some blogger who tried to badmouth his career accomplishments on the internet. Not exactly how I envisioned this happening.
That is not what I intended to do at all, I merely just wanted folks from my generation to challenge their perception of what Joe Carter meant to the Toronto Blue Jays, aside from the historic home run in the 1993 World Series.
The article did not come from a place of malice or hostility at all. I never thought in a million years that the man I looked up to for so many years (and still do) would ever lay eyes on this blog, let alone a blog post that questioned his legacy.
As I'm sure anybody who's ever frequented this site can attest to, Joe Carter was my childhood hero. When I was younger, I prided myself on telling people that "Joe Carter was my favourite player way before he hit that home run!".
During my very first Blue Jays game at the Skydome on October 3rd 1992, I watched the Blue Jays clinch the pennant and Joe Carter hit his 34th home run of the season. At that very instant, I knew Joe Carter would be my favourite player.
There was a streak of about 2-3 times where I tried to catch Joe Carter down at the Rogers Centre during one of his several appearances in 2008 to try to get an autograph. For one reason or another, I just never made it to the ballpark in time.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, if I was that big of a Joe Carter fan, why would I write something with such cruel intentions? Would I really be that vindictive towards Joe Carter if I still have a decorative plate with him on it back from when I was a child?
I'll tell you that the "Is the Legacy of Joe Carter Overrated?" post was the hardest one I've ever written in my life. Not in terms of research or in the time put into it, but just the fact that I was writing something that was criticizing the very man I grew up idolizing.
Nobody knows for certain whether or not that was even Joe Carter who left the comment on the post, but if it was, and if you're reading this Mr. Carter, I apologize if it came across as trying to tarnish your career accomplishments.
It's not something that I'm extremely proud of, but do I stand by my work ... just as you stand behind your body of work of 396 career home runs and 1445 career RBI's. No one can deny that's an amazing feat, and nobody can ever take that away from you.
As I'm sure most people will agree, the vision of Joe Carter rounding the bases is something that will remain ingrained in our minds forever. We'll be telling our grandchildren about the 1992-1993 Blue Jays, and at the centre of that story will be none other than Joe Carter.
As the commenter said, "don't lose focus on why we play the game ... rings, not stats". You can choose to venture further down the rabbit hole and look further at the statistics aspect of Joe Carter's career, but ultimately he was a winner. And at the end of the day, that's all that matters.
Or it was just a troll pretending to be Joe Carter after all, and I've been duped. I guess we'll never know for sure.