Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Lighten Up

I'd like a nickel every time a ballplayer says he "just wants to have fun."

No one said ballplayers have to be miserable, you understand, but the notion that having fun is a priority has always struck me as odd. Baseball may be a game, but as ballplayers who've been traded, demoted, released, waived or signed to a figure below what they expected will always tell you, it's a business and they understand that.

All of that said, however, nowhere is it written that ballplayers have to be grim and miserable either. Unfortunately, the Phillies to a man seem depressed these days. Even J-Roll, always smiling and chirping away with opposing players whenever he gets on base, looks subdued those few times he's managed to get some quality time with the opposition of late. Shane Victorino, Jimmy's partner-in-mirth, looks beaten down.

Ryan Howard no longer glares at the home plate umpire when he strikes out looking. He just grabs the bat in despair and heads for the dugout. Meanwhile, Chase Utley, never one to smile in public, looks more than a little pained and bewildered. Perhaps only the always-stoic Pat Burrell remains much as he's always been.

Brett Myers is so lost he's stopped talking. From all appearances, Pedro Feliz never started talking. We can be sure he won't under current circumstances. Carlos Ruiz has never given any indication he can communicate easily to begin with. Geoff Jenkins, who struck me as a hail-fellow well-met sort, has retreated into a shell, a shocked one at that. Jayson Werth has never been much of a talker from all appearances. Chris Coste snapped at the umpire the other day. That's certainly out of character for a fellow who has always come off as just tickled to be here.

What a morose bunch. It's hard to say what should come first, lightening up so they can win a few games or winning a few games so they can lighten up.

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