[Originally Written for Bleacher Report by Shay Roddy (11/4/2008)]
Dear Philadelphia Phillies,
You were born and raised far away from the suffering city of Philadelphia. You were thrown together and asked to perform as a team. You did it. You have written your own chapter in this city’s history a chapter that will forever be cherished.
To quote the great Flyers coach Fred Shero, “Win now, walk together forever'” and how right Shero is. You will always be looked upon by this city as Champions, as heroes, and as idols.
Thanks to everyone who made any contribution to this team and thanks especially to the following individuals:
Dear Pat Gillick- Thank you for filling the team’s nooks and crannies with quality performers. Finding the Greg Dobbs’s, Jayson Werths and Matt Stairs’s of the world. Thanks for polishing off the core Ed Wade started. We will miss ya Pat.
Dear Charlie Manuel- You were once written off by the fans of this city as a poor manager. You came in as the exact opposite of Larry Bowa, a person who is revered in this city. You made strategic mistakes and never came off as the brightest when you spoke. You always knew yourself and you always knew you could do it. You never failed to create a positive clubhouse environment and with the help of a terrific coaching staff, including Jimmy Williams, Davey Lopes and Rich Dubee, improved your strategic game. You are the reason we are winners Charlie. Hats off to you.
Dear David Montgomery and Bill Giles- You guys took the brunt of the wear on the ownership. David, you stuck with this team, made the correct personnel moves and led the front office into becoming a winner. Bill, you became the whipping boy for the secretive owners. You were born and raised in this organization no one deserves it more than you two. Thanks.
Dear Jimmy Rollins- You are they catalyst of this team. You accepted discipline from the manager and didn’t make it into a big deal. You had a down year but carried the team on your back all of last year. Congrats to the reigning MVP.
Dear Jayson Werth- An unsung hero. You started the season in a platoon but your exceptional play payed off and you got the nod each day. You had timely hits, tenacious D, and enthusiasm each day. Thanks J.
Dear Chase Utley- Yeah Chase, we are the “World Fucking Champions.” You did it. To quote a New York Times article, “Utley is Mr. Everything, but egotistical he is not.” This describes who Chase is. He is a silent leader everyday, leading the Phils to victory.
Dear Ryan Howard- Yeah Big Man. 48 homers and they call this a down year. You’re unbelievable. No one has ever put up a start to their career near to what you have. Congrats.
Dear Pat Burrell- It looks like the longest tenured Phillie will move on and where do I even begin? You carried this team through April. You won our hearts over the course of your nine-year career here. You came in with high expectations, made some mistakes, but kept growing. If we can’t have you back, I just want to take this opportunity to formally thank you.
Dear Shane Victorino- The Flyin’ Hawaiian! At the beginning of the year people questioned your ability to play everyday. You answered loud and clear with a terrific year. I would call you an unsung hero but your story and success have been sung all over the world by ESPN, SI and the like. You really stepped up your game and became a fan favorite. Tip of the hat to you.
Dear Pedro Feliz- You came in and played some stellar defense. You continually stunned us with your glove. You came up with a few timely hits and certainly can’t be overlooked as an integral part of this ball club.
Dear Carlos Ruiz- You are the biggest unsung hero of this team. Your stellar blocking and the way you handled this pitching staff are your greatest attributes. You gave Brad Lidge the confidence to throw his out pitch, the slider. You came up huge in the playoffs with big hits in key spots. You are a huge part of this team and I am honored to call you a champion.
Dear Cole Hamels- You took this staff to a new level. The NLCS and World Series MVP as a 24 year old – wow! You really established yourself as an ace and anchored one of the best pitching staffs in the league. People made fun of your philosophies on rest and questioned if you were a gamer. You answered back with terrific start after terrific start. Nice job Cole.
Dear Brett Myers- You had your ups and you certainly had your downs. You proved to be a gamer and battled back from a stint in Triple-A. I commend you for battling back and becoming a stud at number two. You showed what a fantastic pitcher you can be and I have no doubt you will be that guy next year.
Dear Jamie Moyer- 45 years old and still going strong. You pitched game three of the world series while battling a bad stomach flu. You continue to amaze us focusing on the principle of location not speed. Your fastball may rarely hit 80 but that doesn’t stop you. Hopefully we can see you here next season.
Dear Joe Blanton- You came over from the A’s and meshed with this team perfectly. You pitched well through the playoffs and the World Series. You even came up with a big home-run in game 4. You proved to be the missing link in this rotation.
Dear J.A. Happ and Kyle Kendrick- You two were never quite good enough to make the final rotation. However, you both played important parts in leading this team to the playoffs. No doubt you will both play integral roles in the franchise’s future.
Dear Phillies bullpen- The best bullpen in the NL! You got contributions from the least likely of sources. You prevailed through injuries and pitched exceptionally. Kudos to you guys.
Brad Lidge- A perfect season! When Pat Gillick signed you, you were on crutches. When the season began you weren’t ready to go. You got ready quickly and haven’t blown a save since last September. This is a season that will go down in the record books.
Ruben Amaro, Jr- Though this season was great we must look ahead to the future. You have been tutored by fantastic GMs and there is no doubt you’re ready. It’s up to you to bring another World Series to Philly.
The Loving Passionate fans of Philadelphia