Philadelphia Phillies: 10 Reasons They Will Miss Raul Ibanez
To be clear right off the bat, the Phillies will not miss Raul Ibanez's production a whole lot. John Mayberry, Laynce Nix and Ty Wigginton should be able to make up the half-seasons Ibanez annually put together.
But there are some things about Rauuuulllll that will be missed. He was a very likable guy here and with that comes things we wish we could see maybe a few more times.
Here are 10 things the Phillies and Philadelphia will miss about Raul Ibanez.
The Rauuuuuuuullllllll Chant
There was no Phillies play the past few seasons that fans enjoyed chanting out their first name when he achieved something. After a while, the Phillies began blaring songs that sounded similar to "Rauuuuuulllll" like "Werewolves of London", and the whole stadium could be heard chanting his name after a big RBI double.
The Way Dan Baker Would Say Rauuuulll Ibanez
Before he stepped into the batters' box each game, Dan Baker always emphasized his first name perfectly. "Now batting for the Phillies, number 29, left fielder..." That's when he would take a brief pause and take a breath to make sure he nailed it..."Rauuuuuuuuulllll....Ibanez". He played into the Rauuuuuullllllll chants.
His Hunger to Win
The team benefited from his lack of a ring, as he injected a new hunger in the 2009 team specifically, to go out and win again. That was huge, as the team could have gone a little flat following winning it all in 2008, but new pieces such as himself and Cliff Lee helped make sure the pursuit would be going strong.
Lefthanded Pop in the Lineup
With Howard being out to start the season, and Utley's knee condition in question, Ibanez would have actually been the biggest source of left-handed pop early in the season. Although he frequently would struggle, he still could drive the ball to the outfield and over the fence from time to time.
The Level of Certainty That Came with His Game
With Raul Ibanez, you more or less knew what you were going to get: A set of 81 bad games and a set of 81 good games. You didn't know how they would be divided (he got creative last season and alternated monthly), but you knew that divide would be the case. I'm not sure you can say this about John Mayberry, Jr.
Downgrade to Laynce Nix
Have you ever noticed that Laynce Nix's best season is worse than Ibanez's worst season. Yes, they did cut costs with Nix compared to another outfielder they could have brought in, but he probably won't endear himself the way Ibanez did to Philadelphia.
Raul Ibanez was one of the classiest players to play for the Phillies, right up until the end. Even on his way out the door, he agreed to not accept arbitration, so that the Phillies could get compensation for losing him to another team. Who else has done that for the Phillies?
Not many could compete with the chew in Raul Ibanez’s mouth. Is there a player in the big leagues that has a more apparent golf-ball sized tobacco in their mouth? This is the one thing Ibanez has over Utley.
His Surprise Heroic Games
Ibanez often would have random games where he would come out of nowhere, being completely unexpected and just take over the game. He did this his three years in Philadelphia, the most obvious case being the game against the Pirates on July 31, 2011. He hit two homeruns that game; one took the lead, the other tied the game in the eighth. For an encore, he ripped a walk-off double to left field, which allowed Pence to launch his “Let’s go eat” campaign, and the Phillies to go without a loss for another week.
Memories of April and May 2009
Ibanez was unbelievable his first two months in Philadelphia, hitting 17 homeruns and about .350. The home runs were coming at good times too, including a walk off homerun the weekend they laid Harry Kalas to rest and Brad Lidge blew his consecutive saves’ streak. He got an All-Star selection out of it but unfortunately an abdomen/groin injury threw his entire season off and he never was the same.