1. PAT THE BAT STRIKES BACK: Phillies leftfielder Pat Burrell, who finished last year tied for second in the NL with 117 RBIs, caused quite a stir earlier this week when he told Inquirer columnist Jim Salisbury that
“I’m never going to be good enough here,” he said of Philadelphia. “It doesn’t bother me. That’s just the way it is. It’s the nature of the city. They obviously want the best out of everybody.”
Burrell came to Philly with super-high expectations, as the #1 overall pick the year he was drafted. He struggled mightily in 2003, but has produced big-time in each of the last two seasons. Including last year, when he had the same amount of RBIs as the consensus Best Player in Baseball, Albert Pujols.
But why hasn’t he caught on with Philly fans? One, as an easy-going California surfer type, he’s not a “Philly guy,” and some in this town would rather lose with a team full of “Philly guys” than win with outsiders. Some still haven’t lived down his atrocious ’03 season, and others argue that he strikes out too much and isn’t “clutch.” He gets booed pretty regularly, and I heard at least 5 talk show callers over the offseason offer to “drive Burrell to the airport” were to get traded.
I’m with Pat on this one. He’s a player who produces, and deserves more respect than he’s gotten. And in a town where fans take undeserved shots at athletes every single day, why the hell shouldn’t an athlete turn it around on them once in a while?
2. ANOTHER ONE IN THE WIN COLUMN FOR THE COCKFIGHTIN’ PHILS: My favorite story of the whole spring: a promotional highlight video sent out by the Phillies organization to 4,000 season ticket holders- but some fans mistakenly received not a Phils DVD, but rather a Spanish-language video featuring cockfighting. Unfortunately for the Phils fans, Ed Wade did not appear in the highlights.
Inquirer reporter Todd Zolecki: “There have been no reported complaints from cockfighting fans who have been sent Phillies highlights by mistake.”
3. OPENING DAY: I’ll be at the Saturday afternoon exhibition game between the Phils and Red Sox at Citizen’s Bank Park (a preview of the same matchup that I’m seeing at Fenway June 25). But unfortunately, forecasts call for rain, which brings to mind the old Bob Uecker joke:
Q: What do Philly fans do when the game’s rained out?
A: Go to the airport and boo the landings.