The Wriz owes James Howard Thome a gigantic “Thank You” for several reasons. Initially, his arrival in the City of Brotherly Love made it exciting to go to Phillies games again. Sure, it was always and will always be fun to go to see the Fightins play, but sometimes the “fun” was the astonishment of watching David Palmer out duel Greg Maddux knowing it’s not SUPPOSED to happen but it IS baseball. But now we had one of the games premier players. He was the power hitter who could take over with one swing of the bat. An instant fan favorite. Sure it’s a tad worn, but I still wear my Jim Thome t-shirt with pride.
Thome was signed before the 2003 season, in part, to create an interest to sell tickets for the new ballpark. MLB pundits said we overpaid for The Pride of Peoria, much like the Nationals did for Jayson Werth. Unlike Werth, Thome earned his money hitting 47 bombs and 131 RBI’s and was 4th in MVP voting, but the long range effects are what were important.When the Phillies fired Larry Bowa at the end of the 2004 season, the Phillies brought in Thome’s good friend to replace him as the manager. We now refer to Thome’s friend as Uncle Cholly.With Thome batting clean-up and Good Time Charlie manning the dugout, Philadelphia was a place ball players wanted to be. Over the next few years, the Phillies systematically added and developed the key components of what would become the 2008 World Fucking Champions. This included dealing Thome to make room for a future MVP named Ryan Howard.
So it’s with a heavy heart that the Wriz says, “We don’t need Jim Thome.”
Let me explain. I don’t have a problem with Thome coming back. If he does great but this uproar to bring him back is ludicrous. I will say I liked the idea several weeks ago but that was so I could see #600, BUT THAT’S DONE AND GONE! So what you’re left with is a 40 year old designated hitter who can’t play the field. Don’t the Phillies already have that in Ross Gload? But we need a left handed power hitter off the bench? So, basically Thome will fill the same role he did for the Dodgers in 2009 when he hit .235 with ZERO HR’s and 3 RBI in 17 games.
Pinch hitting is a special ability not everyone can do it. You have to sit around most of the day and be able to pick up a bat at a moments notice and go get a hit. That’s hard enough but to think you can just send someone up to the plate and say “hey, go hit a home run” is just plain dumb. Pinch hitters can go form the best in the league to garbage overnight Just look at Greg Dobbs and So Taguchi. How do you expect someone used to getting 4 AB’s a game to make adjustments, when they see the batter’s box 3-4 times a week?
In about 6 or 7 years, Thome will be enshrined in Cooperstown, I know he won’t be wearing a Phillies cap on his plaque but I will be sitting in the crowd cheering for a guy that did it with class and hard work wearing a frayed pink shirt that used to be maroon that with any luck will still have “Thome’s Homies” legible on the chest.