First reported on Twitter by Mike Axisa, I can confirm that the New York Yankees have released infielder Chris Malec.
I exchanged a few texts with Malec tonight, and not to get into detail about what was said, but all it did was cement in my mind what a class act he is. A few hours after what had to be the worst moment of his pro career, and he’s wishing me luck and thanking me for covering him the way I did.
I could write paragraph after paragraph about Malec off the field. He’s a natural leader and was well respected in the Thunder clubhouse by both the players and coaching staff. I’ve seen him sign countless autographs both inside and outside the stadium, and his popularity with the fans earned him the 2009 Thunder Fan Favorite Award. It was well deserved.
For me, Malec was one of my go-to guys. As a fan, you don’t care about that, but to me, that’s invaluable. No matter how bad the Thunder lost or how much I didn’t want to go in that clubhouse or how pissed off they might have been in there, I knew Malec was one of the players I could turn to if I needed a quote.
On the field…well, he’s a career .285 hitter. He was a key part of the 2008 championship team, and was one of just a few players on last year’s team who kept them anywhere near .500. He’s just 27 years old — like me — and has a lot of good baseball in him to be sure. He indicated that he does wish to keep playing, and one of the other 29 teams would be wise to oblige him.
Best of luck to Malec wherever he ends up…
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com