First, the Phillies gave Chipper Jones a painting and forced Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins to shake his hand. Now, they’re seeking the approval of another awful Phillies-rival by trying to give Cody Ross millions of dollars to represent them.
In 2010, Cody Ross set a Major League Baseball record for transformations from a bland, colorless oufielder with a resume as intriguing as a puzzle with one piece to titanically productive, dinger-bashing, cutter-slapping, RBI-barfing playoff hero. ”Ross the Boss,” they called him, because those words rhyme and that makes it funny.
His dorky smile lit up AT&T Park as Giants fans who, just weeks before couldn’t have cared if he lived or died, watched as their limp offense burst to life with the power of Ross, and inexplicably ran through superior Braves, Phillies, and Rangers teams on their way to a World Series trophy.
So impressed were the Giants with Ross’ efforts that they watched him sign a contract with another team in January 2012 and waved good bye. Assimilating with the amorphous Red Sox Failure Pile, Ross probably assumed he’d be part of another playoff run, collect another nickname, and warm the hearts of another city with his patented from-nowhere run-splosion.
Hilariously, things did not work out for Ross or Boston in 2012, and Ross the Boss became more like Ross the Low-Level Factory Assembly Line Worker who Doesn’t Realize the Two Pieces he Puts Together All Day Every Day are Parts in a Giant a Failure Machine.
Now Ross, a junkie for the love of a fanbase, is without his fix, and needs to go somewhere where he can do some hitting and get a fresh tongue bath from the masses. Ross said recently that he’d like to sign with “a winner,” so why the Phillies are keeping their foot in the door as he tries to slam it shut is strange.
But they’re not the only ones. An actual winner, the Yankees, seems very interested, as do the Red Sox. Seeking a three-year, $20 million deal, Ross brings a smiling face, timely hitting, and the poisonous vitriol of thousands from the Delaware Valley to the table.
It took a bit to swallow that we’d have to come around to Jonathan Papelbon. But at least he had no direct antagonism in Philadelphia folk lore. Ross would not be met with applause. His baseball skills would, in time, smother any narratively-formed toxicity we as a fan base have for him. It would just be a long time and take a lot of home runs. Because as the old Philadelphia-area 2010 saying goes,
“Seriously?! Cody fucking Ross?!”