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Life imitating art

The Cardinals' Rick Ankiel is doing a fair imitation of Roy Hobbs, the hero of Bernard Malamud's baseball parable, The Natural.

As you may recall, Hobbs was a budding pitching phenom who was cut down before his career got started when he was wounded by a gun-toting femme fatale  (an event reminiscent of an actual shooting involving first baseman Eddie Waitkus by a woman stalker). In The Natural, it takes Hobbs years to fight his way back to the majors, but as an aging everyday player rather than the promising pitcher he once was.

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In Ankiel's real-life story, he was a young pitcher who looked like he was on his way out of the game as a result of location problems and arm miseries. He had played in just two major league games in the last seven years. Now, he has hit three home runs since being recalled from the minors late last week. Ankiel and the Cardinals may not  not end the season is a shower of fireworks as the mythical Hobbs and his New York Knights did, but redemptions -- even if they're only brief ones -- are nice to see.

Photo credit: James A. Finley/AP

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