Philadelphia Phillies: Pat Burrell Hits His Way into Fans' Hearts

Brian KraemerContributor IApril 29, 2008

Pat Burrell's stay in " The City of Brotherly Love" has come without just that, brotherly love. As the number 1 pick of the 1998 draft, the 6'4 slugging machine from the University of Miami(FL) was hailed as one of the best college hitters ever. He was soon brought to the big leagues full time in 2000, playing 111 games. He hit .260, with 18 HRs and 79 RBIs. Now as these numbers may not jump out, they are pretty good for a rookie. In his 2nd season in the MLB, he put up about the same numbers, a .258 BA, 27 HRs and 89 RBIs. While not the numbers he put up in college, the fans had not yet become as hostile toward him as they soon would. And the ones that had were soon silenced by his 3rd season numbers, he hit .282 with 37 HRs and 116 RBIs. But the next season his production dropped to a horrible low, where he hit .209 with 21 HRs, and only 64 RBIs. The boos soon became heavy and steady and poured on for the next 3 1/2 seasons as Burrell struggled to find his stroke. But as the second half of the 2007 season began, it seemed like he had done just that. And it seems like he has carried it on to this season. Since the start the 2008 season Burrell is hitting .349 with 8 HRs and 25 RBIs. Now when you hear his name shouted over the loud speaker in Citizens Bank Park, instead of an out ringing of boos, its clapping and shouts of positive feelings. Fans now are less apt to fire boos out when he strikes out, because chances are he'll get it back the next time around. And as fans start to warm up to Pat, maybe he will flourish without the constant harassment of the fans. Although its only been 26 games, if you asked a Phillies fan, "Pat the Bat" is good in their book, for now.