Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
That's a poem I made up right now about Moises Sierra, who was suddenly and mercilessly removed from our lives on Friday in the form of a waiver claim by the Kansas City Royals. Shortly after, the Sox announced that Paul Konerko was the co-winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, in what I perceive to be an attempt at a cover-up. Unfortunately, the smell of a rat is too strong here.
In baseball terms, this doesn't rattle the roster to the core. The Sox had sent mixed signals about Sierra through his five months with the club. They claimed him from the Toronto Blue Jays in early May as a stopgap, and he hung around through the end of the season. The Sox even stuck him on a convenient DL stint in August, rather than risk putting him through waivers.
But he didn't play as much as he could have.
The Sox gave him some looks in center field in September, hinting at a possible fourth-outfielder audition for 2015.
But he didn't play as much as he could have.
Rick Hahn told us that Robin Ventura and his coaches liked Sierra more than the front office thought they would.
And now he's in the Kansas City organization.
In summary, the inaction spoke louder than the action, and Hahn's action spoke louder than his words, and it's everybody's loss.
@SouthSideSox Mediocre ballplayer. Who cares?
— Bob Grzesiak (@PKnorthern) October 24, 2014
OK, not everybody's, which is a shame, because criticizing Sierra for his ballplaying abilities is like dismissing Frank Thomas solely for his performance in "Mr. Baseball." Entertainment is entertainment, and both provided plenty pound for pound.
Maybe the Sox cut him loose before an inevitable dip in both his on-field and dugout performances. Maybe it'd would've been a reprise of Brent Lillibridge's 2012 season, which had fans wondering what to do with the "Thrillibridge" t-shirts they bought the year before. It'll feel like too soon until it doesn't, though, because he really gave so much in so little time.
I initially planned on a 21-GIF salute for Sierra, but that seems like overkill for an extra outfielder who didn't crack the 1-WAR mark. That honor should be reserved for the best of the best.
Besides, a 15-GIF salute is more fitting, because its military equivalent is designated for a title befitting of a guy like Sierra: envoy extraordinary.
On the field
No. 1: Walk-off single, May 28
Sierra was responsible for one of the White Sox's nine walk-off winners in 2014, delivering this single against Cleveland on May 28 and celebrating his way down the first-base line.
No. 2: Tip of the cap, wag of the tongue
Sierra's last highlight with the Sox was a 7-2 double play at Tropicana Field, after which he accepted any and all props.
Sierra provided more highlights than that, but those aren't the ones we're interested in. Let's instead move ...
To the dugout
No. 3: High-fives, Part 2
This sequence after a Sierra homer in Toronto on June 29 marked the official start of the phenomenon. The first part captured an enthusiastic parade of high-fives and hugs, but the WGN broadcast kept cutting back to the dugout, and over the next two glimpses, we started to see Sierra's personal touch emerge.
No. 4: High-fives, Part 3
No. 5: Escorting Tyler Flowers
After Flowers tied a game against Texas with a fifth-inning homer, Sierra steered the catcher around the dugout.
Moises Sierra Update: Still the best. http://t.co/BLxZyNVIPF
— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 5, 2014
In the dugout with Jose Abreu
Sierra and Abreu's friendship would have rivaled the Adrian Beltre-Elvis Andrus pairing in Texas had they spent time on the field next to each other. That said, Sierra did what he could in the dugout, and Abreu gave it back to him.
No. 6: Corner man, Part 1
Here's Sierra going to work on Abreu after a first-inning homer on July 1, for such a length of time that it required two GIFs.
No. 7: Corner man, Part 2
No. 9: Corner man with shimmy
Sierra was up to it again three days later.
No. 10: Tender at Fenway, Part 1
Here's Abreu reciprocating in Boston on July 7 ...
No. 11: Tender at Fenway, Part 2
... to a degree that even made Sierra uncomfortable.
No. 12: Moises bites back ... back
But a month later, Sierra snuck this into an otherwise brief and routine shot of the dugout after a celebration for an Avisail Garcia homer.
If we were making a movie from Sierra's White Sox career, these GIFs would comprise the "rom" and the next pairing would provide the "com."
In the dugout with Conor Gillaspie
Laurel and Hardy. Abbott and Costello. Felix and Oscar. Garfield and Odie.
Moises and Conor.
When Sierra's warm front met Gillaspie's cold front, the result was a tornado of whimsy. They only happened after Gillaspie homers, which is the biggest reason to hold the lack of power against him.
No. 13: Unwanted corner man
Gillaspie's home run barrage gave Sierra a couple opportunities to give Gillaspie the Abreu treatment. It's safe to say Gillaspie wasn't nearly as receptive.
No. 14: Weathering the storm
That didn't deter Sierra, though.
No. 15: The "smile"
If the greatest gift of all is a child's laughter, the second-greatest gift is a forced, insincere half-smile from Gillaspie at Sierra's urging.
GIF: Moises Sierra Tried To Get Conor Gillaspie To Smile, And You Won't Believe What Happened Next http://t.co/Cjk0IjpdXG
— South Side Sox (@SouthSideSox) August 17, 2014
In his two years with the Sox, Gillaspie has been presented with perfect foils -- Andre Rienzo laid the foundation for Sierra's success -- but they've been short-lived. Rienzo's White Sox career is on the ropes after an ugly 2014, and now Sierra is out. It makes me wonder if Gillaspie is long for Chicago. To liken it to football, how many offensive coordinators must a team go through before they decide the quarterback is the problem?
If Gillaspie is still on the White Sox at the end of March, I wonder if he's going to feel pangs of regret for not embracing Sierra the way Sierra embraced him. I'd suggest this as his at-bat music next year to hammer the lesson home: