Tonight we welcome him back.
He’s likely to perform at Citizens Bank Park for the first time since we traded him.
It’s a different place without him here. Gone are the days when he’d stand there in his position, a sea of 40,000 strong serenading him with cheers.
His old teammates are memories here in Philadelphia. Jimmy. Cole. Shane. Jayson. Pat. Roy. Cliff. Most of them are gone for good. Some return, drift back into our consciousness. And when they return we laud them again, toast their accomplishments and share memories with friends. But they won’t hurt us. Their job is not to win, only to bask in the limelight.
Last weekend we saw a few other friends from histories long past. Gentleman Jim, Placido and Wolfie returned home to receive celebration. Fans applauded, even danced, and we remembered the good days.
But he returns tonight not for those reasons. For he has found himself reborn in Los Angeles, a key member of a Dodger team thick in the National League postseason conversation.
Ironic, huh? One of the teams he helped beat in two consecutive postseasons is now his own team. He wasn’t very good in one of those series, but in the other, much better. He was, however, great in the World Series, right? The heady play. The perseverance. The big knock.
So today, let’s stand and give a huge cheer to a former Phillie as he returns to Citizens Bank Park, a place that helped define his career.
Today, let’s honor Joseph Matthew Blanton.
Love you, Kentucky Joe.