A Phillies Fan's Letter to Pat Burrell
I wanted to thank you for what you have done for this Phillies team, which will forever be my team. You were the longest-tenured player on this year's 2008 World Series Champions, having been on the team for nine years.
You might have had a lot of rough spots that frustrated us fans, but you stuck with us, and took it all with a smile. You deserved every last cheer you received during the World Series parade and celebration, and you can wear your championship ring with pride.
I have a lot of fine memories of you Pat. I'll never forget Harry Kalas proclaiming "PAT BURRELL! PAT BURRELL!" when you hit your come-from-behind, two-run, walk-off home run to beat the Giants by one.
You've been a key gear in the machine that is the middle of the Phillies order, helping the Phillies offense move along whether it was with your two homers in Game 4 of the NLDS, or being part of a span of back-to-back-to-back home runs during the regular season.
And, of course, your double in the seventh inning of World Series Game 5 will never, ever be forgotten. This all isn't to discount your tremendous physique, that we have all come to appreciate.
With all these memories, we would really, really love to have you back, Pat. I doubt there is a single Phillies fan that wouldn't be happy to see you here for the rest of your career.
After all, there aren't many players who can spend eight rough years in Philadelphia and remain as positive as you have.
You've taken a lot of criticism over the years, but at the same time have earned the nickname "Met Killer", hit countless memorable homers and hits, and expressed your love for this city. I really appreciate what you've done.
That all being said, Pat, I have been concerned a bit with some aspects of your track record. You're a great player, but you do have a bit of baggage that worries many writers and General Managers alike.
Your .209 average after signing your last contract is a major red-flag, one that can't be ignored. You have had some great moments, but at the same time you do have a lot of slumps. You're on the wrong side of 30, and your fielding has come into question.
These concerns are why lots of teams have been cautious about pursuing you during the Winter Meetings. I regret sounding like an arbitrator, as I really admire the way you play, but we have to be realistic if things are going to work.
So, Pat, I implore you to hear us out. Your time in Philadelphia doesn't have to end. You can continue to play in the field, and play in the city you love, but you're going to have to meet us halfway.
Take a shorter deal and sacrifice a bit of money to come back. You can continue to play for the Phillies, and in the mean time prove your real value.
I know you can shake the slumps and strengthen your game enough to really make an impression on Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies' front office.
I realize that few players are willing to sacrifice more money and years to play for a team they love, but I'm hoping that you really meant it when you said you loved Philadelphia.
I won't be bitter if you move on (so long as you don't sign with a division rival), and I hope you succeed wherever you go.
However, I'm really hoping that you can work out a return to Philadelphia, and that you can continue to chisel yourself into the Philadelphia Sports Pantheon the same way you have chiseled out your impressive physique.
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