Phillies Nation


An International Perspective

Since it’s World Cup season and I’m living in Europe, I feel obliged to drawn in some Phillies story lines from the tournament’s excitement (or disappointment if you’re a US fan).  The best opportunity so far comes from London’s The Observer and involves Bobby Abreu’s ex-fiancée, who you might remember from a post last May.

Costa Rica have expelled all media from their training sessions after former Miss Venezuela Alicia Machado, 28, used her press accreditation to ‘distract players with her body.’  Machado – ‘The Breast Queen’ – shouted ‘Hola, Hola’ to players; coach Alexandre Guimaraes had the media area cleared after players ‘lost their focus.’  Machado now says she’ll move on.  "I’m here to do this for Mexican TV.  It’s a wonderful job!  Next I try the Germans."

Classy.  Since it seems Machado will flaunt herself for money, perhaps Bobby could hire her to replace the Phanatic in his voodoo-atop-the-dugout routine.  If it worked on Costa Rican footballers I’m sure the Mets would take notice.

Speaking of Mr. Abreu, featured an biographic article of our not-quite superstar.  Besides tracing his roots from Venezuela, the piece focused on how Abreu is underrated when compared to other stars.  Teammate Jimmy Rollins makes a good point in saying:

"People think [Philadelphia] is a big market, but it’s not when you are between Boston and New York, then Chicago out west. That’s who we are really competing against. Bobby does what he does in New York, like he has been doing all this time, and he’s a superstar. But in Philly, he’s just Bobby Abreu. That’s too bad."

Even the man himself has wondered why he has not reached superstar status in Philadelphia, "I don’t know why I am underrated and my name does not ring here the way it does for other players. I have the same numbers every year."  I see two reasons why Abreu is not on level with the Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, etc.  First, as the article alluded to, he hasn’t won a championship with the Phillies (like the aforementioned) nor broke any major records (like Bonds).  Second, the Phillies have not marketed him as a superstar.  Sure fans are keen on the young fresh faces of Utley, Howard, and Hamels and the organization exploits this well; yet Abreu is treated more or less as a member of the old guard, a stale relic from the Terry Francona days.  Although Bobby does receive a lot of flak for his defense – and justifiably so – I do think a majority of Phillies fans appreciate him.  Yet for him to be catapulted to superstar status would take either a World Series MVP performance or some intense public relations support by the Phillies front office.  Unfortunately, I don’t see either scenario playing out.

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