I strange thing has happened recently. I, along with many Phillies fans, find myself on balance cheering for Pat Burrell more than boo-ing him. Crazy, huh? That has hardly been the norm the past couple of years. So am I back on the Pat Burrell bandwagon? Yes, and I would even say I never left. This is true because in many ways, the hail of boos that have consistently rain-down upon Pat have been boos of frustration, boos of “I know you’re a lot better than this.” His propensity to strikeout-looking only added to fans distaste for his apparent lack of effort. One phrase my friends often like to throw out during a particularly good stretch for Pat is, “yea, but he has to hit .600 one month just to reach .260 on the season.” The chart says that’s pretty close to accurate considering he’s at .268 now.
Yet this year has seen a resurgence in Pat the Bat. Although, he had an excellent year in 2005 and stayed relatively consistent in 2006, it was not until this year that we have seen him play with the emotion that fans respect. In Philly you have to not only be a good ballplayer, but you have to wear your heart on your sleeve as well. That’s especially hard when you play on a team with the likes of Aaron Rowand, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins. Though this year Pat has expressed himself more on the diamond, both in good times and bad. His three-run blast on Monday to tie a game the Phils eventually won in 10 innings, was one of several clutch performances by Pat this year. Does that mean he’s worth the $27 million he’s making over the next two years? No, not by a mile, but he’s definitely worth more to the Phils this season than he has been in recent ones.