Phillies Spring Fever
Here we are with just over two weeks til “Pitchers and Catchers”, a quote that brings joy to the heart of any true baseball fan. Now I realize we're a week from the biggest game of all, the Patriot Perfection Bowl, but I can't wait for the boys of summer . Coming off their first post season performance in 14 years, only to be swept by a young Rockies team, really left a bad taste in my mouth. Surprisingly similar to this year's Cowboys' horrific ending to the Giants. So the sooner the better to get baseball started again.
This year's team seems to be poised to defend their NL East title, and can hopefully make a deeper run into the post season. The loss of Aaron Rowand, a Philly favorite for the intensity he played the game with, won't hurt this team as badly as most think. Shane Victorino will man center field at Citizens Bank and trust me we won't miss Rowand. I know this is border line blasphemy, I loved having Rowand. After running face first into the wall he was asked by a local reporter “For who, for what”. Not realizing the origin of this Philly born quote, he responded “For who, MY TEAM, for what, TO WIN”. The man instantly became as Philly as Rocky to me, but trust me we won't miss him.
What Victorino lacks in power, Jenkins and Werth will make up for, but the speed Victorino brings to position is incredible. He plays defense every bit as intense as Rowand. He has a Patriot missile for a right arm, and I once saw Victorino dive 3 rows into the stands head first, full extension like an NFL receiver in the end zone. In his second season with 400 plus ABs he continued to flourish. Under the tutelage of Davey Lopes he increased his stolen bases from 4 to 37, and he doesn't get caught. Only caught stealing 4 times all of '07. In '08 he should have 500 ABs and this kid will get 50 SB, easy.
The starting pitching staff should be improved with Myers coming back from the bullpen. Don't look for any sophomore jinx on Kendrick, this kid is way too poised. One of the moves I really question Charlie on was pulling Kendrick in that game against the Rockies so early. The addition of Lidge should shore up the closer spot Myers held, and look for Romero to take over the 8th inning spot. With Madson coming back he should hold the 7th. The rest of the starters consist of wonder kid Cole Hamels, the player/coach 44 year old Jamie Moyer, and the enigma of Adam Eaton. What does Eaton bring to the table? After a disastrous '07 campaign, he looks to rectify things and assure the Phillies that '07 and the 6.29 ERA was am aberration. But if he doesn't turn it around, look for the Fightins to go with Durbin or a mid season call up for Carrasco as they did with Kendrick. It should be fun, so get ready!
As always I won' take up any more of your time. Please feel free to send any questions, comments or feedback to JYB41@comcast.net . Until next week kids God bless America and her Baseball team. Go Fightins.