It’s a lot to ask somebody, filling Roy Halladay’s shoes.
Mostly because he’s got those Nike Jet Propulsion Neverending Workout Sneakers; and they’re the Mark VI so they worked out all those glitches that had Roy finishing all of his stair-runs shouting for help from the roof of the Dunkin Donuts across the street.
But also because he’s Roy god damn Halladay, future Hall of Famer, second no-hitter in post season history thrower, and up-and-coming Amazon snakefighter. Cole Hamels, who despite his #1 talent has remained the #3 pitcher on a hyper talented staff, may not be exactly ready to take over for such a man, even if we are ready for him to be ready to.
Halladay recently expressed his interest in Hamels taking over not just as the Opening Day starter, but as a team leader, whether that be by example or intense screaming. Roy has the innate ability to make someone feel like they’ve been screamed at just by looking at them, so this, again, could be a touch one for Cole to take over.
Not many people have asked Cole’s feelings on the subject; one would assume he’d be honored and thrilled to the Phillies #1 2013 guy, but assuming all of the responsibility and pressure may not be as appealing. We saw him try to do too much once before in 2009, and look what happened–we didn’t even win the World Series.
He has grown in leaps and bounds since then, and so on Opening Day, Cole is taking a rather relaxed approach.
“It’s one game, one appearance and then you’re back into the normal baseball atmosphere. I’ve never really looked at it as this big sort of ordeal.”
He’s also pretty relaxed on leadership.
“I’m almost 30, so I should probably kick it in gear with the leadership role.”
Hey, relaxed is good. That means he’s loose and primed to go out there and channel that natural SoCal smarm in tandem with that sexy raw talent.
Leadership is an area where the Phillies have been criticized of late, mostly by other Phillies, so Cole will be answering some tough questions and be putting himself under a ton of scrutiny. Is it warranted? For the team, yeah – at least expected to be warranted, whether it should be or not is a question for another day. For Cole, not so much; the guy proved himself enough to earn that $144 million extension, and he is an aforementioned #1 ace, so the leadership thing is basically a byproduct of that.
And so, we wonder if just because someone in Cole’s position often does take on a leadership role, does that Cole necessarily should? Like Chase Utley, one does not need to stand up and shout to make a statement. Cole may be leading the Phillies by hurling a 20-win season, or stockpiling some other stat that means something.
In the end, though, it’s good to put these ornamental aspects aside, and know where his head’s at, with Opening Day still over a month off.
“I agree with Pap. Last year, I wasn’t fulfilling my end of the bargain either. We are all guilty. We all have to step up and take a role and a presence in this team and get back to what we’re capable of doing, which is winning.”
Sounds like we could get quite a bargain in 2013.