J.T. Realmuto feels the Phillies let fans down in 2019, 2020

J.T. Realmuto of the Philadelphia Phillies signs an autograph (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports)
J.T. Realmuto of the Philadelphia Phillies signs an autograph (Steve Mitchell/USA TODAY Sports) /

If there is anyone on the Philadelphia Phillies excited and ready to go for spring training to get underway this week, it is definitely J.T. Realmuto.

“I’m extremely excited. This is usually the time in the offseason where I get pretty antsy to get back and play some baseball,” the star catcher recently told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Danny Pommells. “It’s getting cold here. I’m ready to travel down to Florida and ready to get going.”

Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto thinks fans deserve to see a better outcome.

Heading into his third spring training in a Phillies uniform, Realmuto said the commitment level is “definitely all there” from players on the team. On a personal level, however, he feels as though the Phillies have let fans down the last couple of years he has donned red pinstripes.

Consider the 2019 season, when the Phillies were up as many as 3 1/2 games in late May, only to finish the season behind 16 games. In 2020, amid a historically bad bullpen, the Phillies fell just one why short of its first postseason berth since 2011 — despite the expanded Wild Card format.

Realmuto told Pommells that the Phillies will give everything they have to try to turn things around in 2021 — not only for the player themselves and the team, but for the fans.

“I take a lot of pride in the way I play the game and how the team performs,” Realmuto said. “I’ve been pretty disappointed with how the last two seasons went, so we’re going to work as hard as we can.”

“[Fans] are who we play for. We’re excited to get out there,” Realmuto continued. “We really hope to see you in the ballpark. We don’t know how it’s going to work this year, when and how many fans we will have, but we’re working as hard as we can to get you guys in the stadium.”

J.T. Realmuto says the Phandemic Krew put a smile on his face last season.

Fan support means everything to Realmuto — and he surely noticed and heard the presence of the Phandemic Krew. One Krew member in particular, Evan Holahan with his #SignJT sign and chant, left a lasting impression on him, adding that he “was out there just about every game” and could hear him screaming from inside the ballpark while he was in the batter’s box.

“We could hear the Phandemic Krew. That was special because honestly, we didn’t get that anywhere else,” Realmuto said. “No other ballpark we played in last year had fans standing outside and with that passion about the game of baseball.”

The catcher said fans are what he plays the game of baseball for and why he enjoys it. “It’s is for the fans, those interactions and just being able to put a smile on people’s faces,” he added. “In return, sometimes they put a smile on your face.”

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