I’m not mad at Raul. I certainly would be if were losing a lot. Or probably if we didn’t have the best April record in Phillies history. Or if I couldn’t find my keys this morning.
Raul is where my irrational hopes and impossible fantasies come from. When somebody jumps on this team–your Pete Orr’s or your Michael Martinez’s–Raul is why there’s always that notion, after they’re debunked as secondhand trash or at most, “nothing special,” that maybe, they will be the awesomest they have ever been for no reason at all. As a 37-year-old outfielder who was noticeably not Pat Burrell, the bar was very low, but Raul grabbed that bar and used it to clobber his way into a first ever All-Star appearance.
That’s probably the problem, though. And like me, on this topic, Charlie Manuel has gone insane.
“I wrote Julio Franco off three times – and he played another 15 years.”
Well, that’s not really fair, because Julio Franco’s trainer was a life-giving genie he had somehow captured and imprisoned in his subbasement. Or possibly the devil. The point is, if you’re going to start throwing around comparisons to Julio Franco, that alone may be an indication that a guy is past his prime (Besides, if Chuck was ‘writing off’ Franco 15 years before his career was over, then it was 1992, and Franco had the highest batting average in the league only one year earlier. So… short fuse for Charlie in the early’s ’90s. Maybe Honey, I Blew Up the Kid kept selling out).
“Shit, another weak grounder to second from Raul. They gotta put Mayberry in there before the Mendoza Line is a sick fantasy.”
“Yeah, but Julio Franco played until he was 48.”
You see how that just sort of comes out of nowhere like a flawed logic-meteor? I’m not sure if plugging our ears and pointing blindly at a baseball card from 1993 is the best way to handle this, especially when Raul’s probable replacement hit a game-tying home run in his stead this afternoon.