12.15.2008

PAT THE BAT

Though I will always root for the Oakland A’s of my boyhood, I’ve grown fond of the Fightin’ Phils the longer I’ve lived here in Philadelphia. Of course, their recent World Series success has captivated the entire region, as has the presence of such likeable young talent as Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Cole Hamels, all homegrown talent.

But for the last several years, if you had asked me who my favorite Phillie was, without blinking I’d say, “Pat Burrell.” If you know the up and down story of “Pat the Bat,” you know there have been years in which that answer would’ve gotten me quizzical looks. Maybe it was the fact that I first saw him at the minor league game in which I had “the conversation” with my then-future father-in-law. Maybe it was the fact that he worked hard and never dissed the fans or Philly even during the most discouraging of years. Or maybe it was the fact that, after all the booing and naysaying, he ended up having a pretty darn career here.

Whatever the reasons, in an age in which players come and go all the time, not seeing Burrell in a Phillies uniform will feel weird to me. But with the recent signing of left fielder Raul Ibanez, it is almost certain that the Phils will send Burrell packing. Hey, he went to Bellarmine Prep in the Bay Area, maybe the A’s can use him as a DH?
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