Every team needs a Superhero
Published: May 24, 2011 @ 8:09am
The fans of Arizona sports teams have a knack of falling in love with players who really shouldn't be that good at what they do. I think back to guys like Elliot "Socks" Perry, who Suns fans and Charles Barkley loved to death. In fact, the Suns have had many players like this. Some date back a few years, like Ronnie Lee -- who was my favorite player growing up. More recently Lou Amundson hustled his way into our hearts.
The Arizona Cardinals have had their share of unlikely heroes as well. Guys like Larry Centers who became stars when no one thought they would. Even the late Pat Tillman falls into this category. Even though Tillman was great at ASU, no one thought he would ever make it in the NFL as a 7th round pick.
In my opinion the Arizona Diamondbacks currently have one of these players on their roster and he is quickly becoming a fan favorite. I am talking about "TatMan" Ryan Roberts.
Roberts came to the Diamondbacks in 2009 after only 31 plate appearances in three years with Toronto and Texas. He was 28-years-old and running out of time to make it in the Majors. The first thing we all thought was "who is this dude with all the tats?" That's because he is known for having numerous tattoos all over his body, including one riding up his neck towards his face. Not something you see everyday in Major League Baseball.
Roberts hustled his way into about ten times the amount of plate appearances he had in his entire Major League career. He batted .279 and appeared to be a guy that had finally earned a spot in the Majors.
Something weird happened in 2010. Roberts forgot to make the team out of spring training as he took for granted, by his own admission, his spot on the club. That is what makes his story great. He battled his way back onto this team, when most didn't think he would make it out of camp and now is a very important part of the team's make up and character. He battles and hustles just like his manager Kirk Gibson wants and because of that is hard to keep out of the daily lineup.
With the success comes recognition and a nickname. TatMan shirts have been seen at the ballpark lately. He even uses the BatMan theme song.
Could this be our own super hero in the making?
Look, if Brian Wilson of the Giants can paint his gnarly beard with shoe polish and became a star, then why can't TatMan? Of course Wilson is also one of the best closers in baseball and won a World Series. You have to continue to have success, otherwise you just become a dude with lots of tats.
I think TatMan will keep it up and as always, the Arizona fans will continue to love their quirky stars.