Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

And Now For Magic Mike's Greatest Trick Yet...


For the record, I have no intention of calling Michael Cuddyer ‘Magic Mike’ beyond this story. But it is pretty darn entertaining that right now you will find his smiling face with the words ‘Magic Mike’ underneath it on the front page of MLB.com.

Cuddyer is as close to universally liked as any baseball player I can remember. People don’t really seem to bother to get into heated arguments about him, how good he is, if he’s overrated, or anything else. It just seems like everybody knows that he is an awesome guy, so anything else is secondary.

This season he is playing very well, making his hefty contract seem worth every dollar: .327/.393/.549 with 17 HR and 63 RBI. But even if his numbers were more pedestrian, the Rockies would seriously value Cuddyer. Why? Because of his presence in the clubhouse, of course.

It’s easy to make fun of the whole notion of clubhouse culture, which was the buzz phrase going into last season. But really, Cuddyer’s leadership seems to supersede everything we were inclined to make fun of in the past. By all accounts, he demands a distinct level of respect from his teammates and his colleagues around the league. Owner Dick Monfort spoke to that value in a recent interview with MLB.com:

Michael is a great baseball player, first of all, but he is a better man. When we signed him two years ago, it was as much for what he does in the clubhouse and outside in the community, as his baseball prowess. He’s just been a great addition to us, and we’re happy to have him. Players love him. The card tricks are a bonus. He’s also a big photographer. Every month, we have pictures he takes at these different ballparks. He’s quite a talent, he’s a great guy.”

Easily my favorite thing about Cuddyer is his magic tricks.

Really, what can’t the guy do? Slugger. Outfielder one day, first baseman the next. Magician. Photographer. Leader of men.

And now, for his greatest trick yet, Michael Cuddyer is going to magically transform the Colorado Rockies into a team that wins more games than it loses in August and September and builds legitimate organizational momentum going into 2013.

That may seem like an impossible task for one man. But this is no ordinary man. This is Magic Mike Michael Cuddyer.

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