BY HOMER PLATE, Contributor
Not soon after the Phils made a valiant effort to repeat as baseball’s world champions, the rumor mill started churning out more studs then the Chippendale’s in a sperm bank. Obviously, Figgins and Halladay were at the typical names being tossed around as those on their way into town. It’s a name that could be on the way out that was the biggest shock. Our fearless, sometimes brainless, but always playing at 110 miles an hour centerfielder, Shane Victorino.
I realize that most media outlets in the City function simply incite people to listen (and call in). I will never forget back in college when a local sports talk radio show actually detailed that in an employment ad. It read, and I quote, “Must be able to take opposing opinions to generate listener’s calls.” I always wondered how Eskin got a job up until that day.
But let’s get back to the harsh and frightening reality of what losing Victorino would do to this club. You could get an answer simply by walking outside and reaching your hand inside someone’s chest and ripping their heart out. They’d be dead in just a few minutes. So would the Phillies.
You could take away Chase Utley and besides the sudden rise in inventory of hair gel at the local hair salon, the Phils would move on. You could take away Ryan Howard and other then not being able to navigate off of the reflection of that 200 Karat bling in his left ear, the Phils would move on. I’m not too sure Cole Hamels knows he’s still here so we surely could move on if he left. But our heart and soul? The team would not recover.
You can talk all day long about 45 homers and 130 RBI’s. You can watch with amazement as Cliff Lee mows down hitter after hitter. But the intangibles like motivation and intensity are something that money can’t buy. And Shane Victorino defines both of those words.
Obviously we hope that the front office isn’t looking at this as a money situation. When the local scalpers are driving Bentley’s we know that everyone is making money, and plenty of it. While I’m not suggesting that the Phils become the Yankees and go out and buy a championship (and even the Yanks only won one with the currency kids), they certainly need to look beyond the numbers and make the right decision here.
One only needs to look at guys like Bobby Abreu, Allen Iverson and Donovan McNabb. They sure as hell have better have a lot of bells on their toes because they will never have rings on their fingers. For all of the downside from a baseball mental perspective that Victorino may bring, and I can argue that even they are few, he is the heart of this team. If the rumors are true, I certainly hope the Phillies brass seriously reconsider not wanting to overpay for our heart, because not too long after he boards the plane and leaves town, this team will die.