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Phillies could benefit from Aaron Rowand’s attitude in outfield: Fan’s perspective
He once smashed his nose into the center-field fence in Philadelphia while making "the catch" that many have never forgotten. When he did that in the spring of 2006, Aaron Rowand(notes) turned the Philadelphia Eagles' Ricky Waters mid-90's quote, "For Who? For What?", on its head.
"For who? My teammates. For what? To win," Rowand famously said while answering a media question about his motivation for doing what he did. Gavin Floyd(notes), that night's Phillies pitcher, appreciated his effort and went on to pitch a shutout that night.
The honesty and attitude in Rowand's action and his subsequent explanation, endeared him to all fans who understand competitive sports.
This current Phillies baseball era has been filled with many hard-nosed players who have worn red pinstripes. From the current pitcher's mound, Roy Halladay's(notes) preparation and in-game mentality seems second to none. Chase Utley(notes) stands out as the 'Pete-Rose type' among the position players, his dirty uniform and self sacrifice exuding a team-first approach that all fans love.
Sometimes players like Utley are criticized for putting their bodies too much at risk. His current spot on the disabled list might indicate that theory is correct. However, any professional athlete who plays hard deserves all the praise and positive career success that is earned.
And so it was with Rowand during the two seasons that he spent in Philadelphia. If it seemed like he was with the Phillies for longer than that, it's probably because he gave two games worth of effort for every one game he played.
The Phillies acquired Rowand, following the Chicago White Sox 's 2005 World Series Championship season, in the Jim Thome(notes) trade. After arriving, he became one of the players who helped push the franchise toward their 2008 World Series destiny. His passion went beyond talent and was a part of the passionate product that management intentionally placed onto the field.
Rowand has a .276 lifetime batting average and a .989 fielding percentage. In 2007, his last season with the Phillies, he appeared in his only All-Star game and won his only Gold Glove. While he didn't win a title with the Phillies, he did get his second ring with the San Francisco Giants last season. It is just that someone who won't be in the Hall of Fame, will have his name forever connected to World Series teams in both leagues.
It seems unlikely that two potential playoff rematch combatants, the Giants and the Phillies, would agree to trade with each other.
But, if that ever becomes possible, the Phillies would be wise to reacquire his leadership. If that never comes to be, adding someone like him to this team's outfield mix would be very helpful.
Growing up in the Philadelphia region during the late 1970s and early 1980s naturally enabled everyone to become Phillies fans. My friends and I learned the game on little league fields, through trading cards, and by playing APBA. That era became an important part of our young lives. This new golden era has sparked a resurgence of baseball passion in everyone who never forgot the feeling of those old school days.
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