In the middle of last season Pat Burrell was not a wanted man in Philadelphia. His lack luster, can't hit anything down and away swing, was the talk of the town. Not in a good way though.
Throughout the second half of last season, and carrying on into this season, he has turned things around. The only problem is, do the fans care enough to seem him stay, or were there minds made up a long time ago that he just has to go?
Not that the numbers were all that great, but they weren't that bad. His averages are quite good if you take a look.
Since 2000 he has an average of 32 doubles, 32 home runs, 104 RBI's, 98 walks, and 82 runs scored a year. His only downfall has been 157 strike outs, and a .250 batting average during this same span of time.
As it goes, unless Manny Ramirez is your left fielder, he is offensivley what any team would want in that position. Power, a decent arm, and run producing potential. And in those areas he has put up solid numbers as you can see.
So what gives?
Pat the normal, everyday guy doesn't seem to be phased at all by this. Pat Burrell the ball player doesn't either.
Jimmy Rollins has spoken out about the fans and their so-called mistreatment of the team. Why doesn't "Pat-The-Bat"?
Because he is smart. Because the cheers and boos are going to come no matter what, and you deal with that. He doesn't have any misconceptions about how great he is and how much money he is worth or makes. He doesn't need the MVP award to tell him he is capable of doing his job night in and night out.
That's how it should be.
The fans, however, only react to conflict. To the ones that push the pendulum back and say, "Who are you complaining to, we made the playoffs last year?" As if that should be good enough.
And he never will.
Why should he. He is not a Mantle or a DiMaggio. He doesn't have the speed or grace of a Willie Mays. He may never get a sniff of the Hall, but that still doesn't phase him. He is a blue collar player. He plays the game he's loved since he was a kid. We can all admire that. You would think that the blue collar "City of Brotherly Love" could as well.
No matter how many articles I read, or how many radio shows I listen to. There is always a caller, or writer, that wants Burrell traded. Like there is a magical person out there, that above all odds, is gonna give the fans everything they want all the time.
Well that doesn't exist. It probalby never will. Even the great players ruffle a few feathers now and then.
So for all the complaining and so called "unfulfilled expectations" that the fans chatter about, Pat Burrell is going to be Pat Burrell no matter what. He will put up 32 doubles, 32 home runs, 104 RBI's, 98 walks, and 82 runs scored a year. He won't blink an eye about the press or what fans think. Unless he does what other Phillies have done that didn't feel welcome.
Like leave town to win a championship.