Bob Ford had the beat on Pat Burrell after the Phils NLDS victory over the Brewers. The recently maligned slugger, who hit two home runs in the clincher, predicted his big game, according to Jimmy Rollins:
“He only did that once before, a long time ago, and he was right then, too. He said, ‘I feel good, my back’s all right, I worked out some things in the cage. They’re pitching around the big guy and Chase, and I’m going to get ’em today.’ “
Burrell’s homers secured a nice lead for the Phils, one Burrell became nervous about when he was pulled from the game for Eric Bruntlett:
“You don’t get nervous when you’re playing, but once you come out, you get nervous and the panic sets in and it’s like, oh my God, is this going to happen?”
Forgive my gloating here. Obviously I’m proud to be a Phillies fan today, and we all should be, but I’m also very proud to be a Pat Burrell fan. We’ve had Burrell in pinstripes for nine seasons; we’ve watched him grow up and flower as one of baseball’s better sluggers. We’ve had to wrestle with his production — is he worth the time and effort; was he worth the gigantic contract extension; should the Phils play him everyday … and so on. Yet through it all the man has said all the right things. He has never badmouthed the city or the fans. He played it funny with selecting “Dirty Laundry” as intro music. He has basically embraced Philadelphia — this Arkansas native-turned Florida boy who had the charm and physical prowess to do anything has done nothing but become a Philadelphian, through and through.
And with all the heat raining down on him, with his career close to a crossroads, and with his life in Philadelphia possibly closing, he comes up with the biggest hit of his career, a two-out, two-strike blast to break open a series clincher.
Ford’s piece also goes into the Burrell-Rollins relationship with a humorous anecdote about when they met. These two have been together for 11 years, toiling through the Phillies system with too many letdown seasons. And here they are, now on the precipice of a World Series berth. Would be a fitting way to close Burrell’s Phillie career, if it’s the case.