Now, now. We all saw this coming.
We all knew that as soon as the media and fans got a sniff of a position battle in Spring Training, a simple matter of numbers and performance would get ballooned into a barbaric castration of souls; a bitter contest as two men struggle to fit in one spot and maintain employment in this grating economy. Their well being, self-respect, and children depend on how well they play baseball for one month before the heat takes hold.
This year, the contest emerged for a bench spot between 2011 MLB caught stealing leader Juan Pierre, who once robbed Barry Bonds of #714, and 2004 MLB stolen base leader Scott Podsednik, who is married to a Playboy Playmate. They both brought their game to Clearwater, giving the writers a chance to craft narratives beyond “Phillies Are Old; Could Still Be Good Though.”
All of that, that I just said. We saw all that coming.
What you didn’t see coming is that both Podsednik and Pierre are hitting over .300 (.347 and .313 respectively). But people keep telling me that numbers like batting averages don’t matter, so it’s time to focus on the number the Phillies decided did matter: 800,000.
The move, while an important one for the team, leaves Podsednik in an awkward situation. He now has to go home to his hot wife and explain that his chances of making the team are astronomically lower, but he should still play baseball for the remainder of the preseason. Some guys would carry on some sort of blind hope, knowing that maybe if they just impress the right people a little more, the unlikely could become reality.
Take for instance, Hector Luna. Apparently, Charlie Manuel loves him, and he’s hitting .302. Apparently the Phillies camp is full of guys hitting over .300. Which again, doesn’t matter. But it is happening.
”Ah, no. No.”
–Scott Podsednik on his chances of making Phillies roster
It’s always difficult to watch a man crumble before you, but in these final days of Spring Training, we’re going to see a lot of that.