I guess we thought that Shane leaving the Phillies would be the end of his commentary on the Phillies, especially after that nice little epilogue a few weeks ago.
But it seems that Boston Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino has plenty more thoughts on the Phillies; namely the small fires Jonathan Papelbon has been setting with all this “leadership” business.
Shane is willing to blame 2012 on the absence of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard; a safe answer, as it offends no one – a backhanded compliment to the two of them, actually – and from most angles rings true. But it doesn’t explain why Jimmy or Hunter or Shane himself didn’t step up and take point with their admitted leaders having disappeared.
Chooch did his part, unquestionably; Doc had his own problems, Cliff stumbled and his effectiveness also depends on the offense’s ability to get him runs, and Cole’s season was mired in contract talk. We can complain and wonder why no one was willing to step in, and torch-bearer Papelbon has even admitted that they (and he) should have, but didn’t. But if we stop the bleeding at Ryan and Chase, then nobody’s feelings get hurt.
And that’s what Shane is doing.
“Early on, we all tried to deny that missing Ryan and Chase was a big thing. But it was.”
They did do that, didn’t they? All putting on brave faces so we wouldn’t despair. That’s sweet. But after the 30 or 40th time that the “stunning turnaround/comeback” thing failed, it became apparent that no amount of masking the horror in post game pressers was going to fix anything.
Again, the thing that sticks out for me, really, is yeah, the Phillies are a worse team without their first and second basemen. But why was there a curtain of complacency drawn over everybody else? A combination of bad timing, bad luck, and injuries? We say “Ryan and Chase” because their absence was what was different, but it’s a demoralizing thought to consider that your team is one bad set of knees away from crumbling at any moment.
Anyways. Shane hasn’t given up hope.
“…[the Phillies] are going to be fine.”
In the end, Shane, we’re all gonna be fine. We just may have to work through some shit first.