Geoff Blum is 37 years old, and has been in the major leagues since 1999 when he was called up by the Montreal Expos. He's been a part of my baseball conscience since 2001.
In early 2002, I was 14 years old and just beginning to care about baseball again. Living in Vermont, I wasn't truly connected to any team; sure, Boston was close, but I didn't quite "feel it" for the Red Sox. I desired to have a connection to a team that I could relate to, and the Monteal Expos fit that bill perfectly.
No one cared about the Expos, not even citizens of Montreal. There were no fans, no corporate support, no hope for baseball revival in Quebec. MLB had just taken ownership of the franchise after Jeffrey Loria fled Canada for the warmer confines of Miami.
As spring training 2002 began, I took an interest in the 'Spos. They were a three-hour drive from my home, and it was a fun rivalry to have with my dad, who is an avid Phillies fan. This is when Geoff Blum became a household name for me.
On March 12, 2002, Geoff Blum was traded to Houston for Chris Truby, a "change of scenery" trade for both players that was intended to provide a starting 3B for Montreal while they waited for Fernando Tatis to return from surgery. After all, Blum hit only .236 in 2001; no one would miss him, right?
Wrong. Geoff Blum was revitalized in Houston, hitting .283 and providing a spark off the bench and as a stopgap starter while the Astros waited for Morgan Ensberg to bloom. Chris Truby, on the other hand, was traded to Detroit two months later for Jose Macias, who never came close to Blum's production.
Do you care? No. But Geoff Blum could have been the piece that would have put the Montreal Expos over the top in a season where they gave up Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, and all their integrity for a playoff push that was never realized.
Welcome to Arizona, Geoff Blum. Hopefully you can stick around and give our young players the guidance they need.