As pitchers and catchers make their reservations for south Florida those of us remaining in the suddenly frozen tundra must content ourselves with the usual hope-springs-eternal reports that blossom in the sports pages every late February.
This week the focus has been on Pat Gillick, the new Phillies GM. Many of my fellow bloggers have posted links to these articles so I will refrain from duplicating their efforts. Suffice it to say, when the focus falls on the GM and not the team there is some cause for concern.
At this juncture, Gillick isn’t much more popular in the blogosphere than his predecessor, Ed Wade, who took several years not months to build up enmity. Much of the disappointment with Gillick revolves around his penchant for signing or trading for players he has known at previous stops along the way (Toronto, Baltimore and Seattle). Jason Weitzel posts today over at Beerleaguer that there are reports the Phils are even speaking with B.J. Surhoff, the oft-injured, presumably retired 42-year old first-baseman/outfielder/DH. I don’t put much stock in that rumor unless the Phils want him to be a roving hitting instructor. Not even the Gillick could be serious about adding a guy who spends more time on the DL than in the dugout. If it’s a character thing, let him become the team ambassador, on the order of the role Hugh Douglass assumed with the Eagles last season, only better. It often seemed that Hugh forgot the course on diplomacy.
The other thing I’ve noticed as I dutifully if reflexively read the articles in the newspaper and @ESPN on the Phillies’ prospects for the coming season is that these have already been analyzed in detail at numerous stops on the web at Beerleaguer, Balls Sticks & Stuff, Shallow*Center, The Philling Station, etc., and in comments therein by George S., Oisin, Kuff6 and others. The difference is, the bloggers and their faithful commenters are doing a much better job.