A recurring criticism of the 2004 edition of the Phillies is that the team lacks personality. Watching the Labor Day game with Atlanta I asked myself, compared to whom? The Braves? Are Chipper Jones and J.D. Drew the second comings of John Kruk and Mitch Williams? Hardly.
Atlanta has about as much personality as a dial tone yet they are still running away from the rest of their division. Personality becomes an issue only when trying to fix blame; otherwise, who cares in the long run? Put another way, lack of personality, leadership, character or whatever you want to call it are cited only when teams fail to hit, score runs, pitch effectively and catch the ball at or above some pre-determined level of expectation.
Naturally, the loudest complaints on the subject are coming from the local media; after all, what else besides good copy do they have to look forward to with this team? But they should know better. How often are they going to come across overachievement and a barrel of laughs on the same club as was the case with the ‘93 Phillies?
Even those current Phillies with, er, personality to spare are not exempt from censure. Reports have it Larry Bowa is under strict orders to curb his outbursts. If nothing else Bowa has always been good for the periodic barb or rolled eyeball. Now, even he seems to be taking his team’s collapse in stride. No overturned buffet tables; no redesigned water coolers; no yelling behind closed doors; no declarations of embarrassment.
Let’s face it, this is a team only a mother could love.