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Philly loves you Aaron Rowand, but the Phillies are doing just fine



When the Giants designated Aaron Rowand for assignment last week, it was only a foregone conclusion that rumors would again surface regarding a possible return to the Phillies.
After all, the Phillies and Giants discussed a possible deal to reacquire the centerfielder last winter. Nothing ever materialized and Rowand remained in San Francisco, which he has allegedly regretted all season.

When you look back at the Phillies’ transition from 86-win specialists to World Series Champions, you could very well draw the argument that this change took place over one play.

That’s right, Rowand’s nose-breaking, blood spurting, game-saving catch against the Mets in 2006 might have single-handedly changed the mindset of this Phillies team. A message was sent without anybody speaking. No longer did players walk with the nonchalance of Bobby Abreu. Instead, they took on Rowand’s “hard baller” mentality- and it payed off with a division title the very next year.Aaron Rowand catch, Courtesy of www.bleacherreport.com

In acquiring Rowand, the Phillies got their Dave Cash of this generation. Rowand may not have had a catchy slogan like “Yes We Can,” but like Cash, he generated positive enthusiasm, and coming off a championship with the White Sox in 2005 (as did Cash with the Pirates in 1971) didn’t exactly hurt either.

After the Phillies posted their best regular season record in history (as of this date) of 101-61 in 1976 and made the post-season for the first time in a quarter of a century, Cash thought he deserved more than what the Phillies were offering him after the season. The Phillies told him they needed to take care of other super stars such as Mike Schmidt before making a commitment to Cash, so he left for the Montreal Expos.

After 2007, which saw the Phils reach the post season for the first time in 14 years, Rowand was offered a 5-year $60 million dollar deal with the Giants. Pat Gillick had a hunch that with Rowand’s aggressive style of play, there was a chance that he wouldn’t be productive towards the end of that kind of deal, so Rowand walked as well.Dave Cash 1976 Topps baseball card

It turns out Gillick was right. But the point is, both Rowand and Cash served their purpose wearing the red pinstripes. Simply put, they taught the Phillies how to win. After all, it’s no coincidence that both Phillies teams of their respective eras won World Series titles shortly after both players’ departures.

But fact of the matter is, the Phillies are doing just fine without Aaron Rowand, and bringing him back would only be a hindrance- for the team as well as Rowand. Not that Rowand would be a bad clubhouse influence (as he was labelled in San Francisco), but he wouldn’t be eligible for the playoffs and he would only take at-bats from an emerging John Mayberry Jr.  Rowand did enough for this team back in 2006 and 2007 to the point that bringing him back for three weeks and then telling him to go home to watch the playoffs on television would be a complete disservice.

So in closing, Aaron, you helped this team become winners and you will never be forgotten in Philly, but were doing just fine. Not coming back here at this time is for your own good.

Best of luck.


In the meantime, Keep On Phightin!

Joe Vallee is a lifelong Phillies fan and former Phillies batboy. Joe has claimed to have seen about 98% of every Phillies game since the early 1980's.

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Thumbnail: www.lehighvalleylive.com

Rowand catch: www.bleacherreport.com