If you're watching an Angels game and Erick Aybar's uniform is clean, then either the game just started, or you're in some weird, alternate universe where Aybar ISN'T a crazy, fired up Tasmanian devil while on the base paths and playing shortstop. Seriously, Erick Aybar is pure reckless abandon personified when he's in the Angels lineup, and over the years, he's become a fan favorite because of that all-out style of play. Of course, it can be a blessing and a curse to have a living, breathing wild card out there day in, day out. Erick Aybar can giveth, but he can most certainly taketh away.
2015 marks Aybar's tenth year in the majors, and they've all been spent with the Angels. He's been entrenched at the shortstop position, and will be there for the foreseeable future, but you'd be hard pressed to find a Halos fan who has a problem with that, simply due to the amount of sheer grit and fire he's constantly emanating. He can wield a potent bat at times, but it's his defense and gutsy base-running that gets fans jumping out of their seats(out of celebration or angry bewilderment).
Here's some textbook Aybar Defensive Grit, or ADG as it's referred to in the Halos Heaven statistical model.
A diving catch in shallow outfield territory is par for the course for our beloved Aybar, but just the tip of the down-and-dirty iceberg that he can offer. Here's a prime example of his quick footed thinking while running the bases:
His read on that play, and secondary lead, allowed him to score an important run on a wild pitch. Just another day at the ballpark for Aybar, though. He can manufacture runs at a moment's notice. He can also be as wily as they come, as evidence here, when he makes it from second to third on a ball hit right at 3B Josh Donaldson. Try to tag him, but good luck, because he is shifty and will have dust and dirt flying as he eludes you.
Like I mentioned earlier, however, this style of play can be risky and ultimately bite your team back, if not handled properly. Aybar is no stranger to this, as he's often at the center of some pretty ugly Angels base running.
Yeah, we've grown quite accustomed to seeing Aybar's grittiness turn into, well...stuff like that. Or this:
That's just what you sign up for when he's your shortstop. He's a gambler of the highest degree, and sometimes he comes up all aces, sometimes he is caught bluffing, but no matter what, you know he's going to send some dirt flying and cause some headaches for the team's laundry service. Day in, day out, Erick Aybar is always jockeying for role of Most Gutsy Angel, and is the definition of filthy...figuratively and literally. Sometimes you're left scratching your head. But sometimes he does stuff like this, and you say "Thank you, Erick Aybar. I love you." Stay filthy, my friend.
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