Remember when the Phillies couldn't beat the Florida Marlins? Now, the shoe is on the other foot.…
Ricky Won't You Please Come Home
Ricky Ledee is also a fan favorite for the clear allegiance he felt about playing for the Philadelphia Phillies. When Ed Wade called Ledee to inform him he'd been traded his first words were, "Please don't tell me I've been traded". He loved playing for this city and this team. It was the first time he felt like a real part of a team. He wants to be here, he cares about being here and some might say it's a reach, but it seemed that this team went slowly down hill after he was gone. If nothing else you cannot deny that his presence made a difference.
There are of course a couple of people standing in line for the CF job. Marlon Byrd was brought back up from AAA Scranton after Ledee was traded. Byrd had been sent down to work on problems he was having at the plate. But Larry Bowa made it clear that Byrd is not protected for next season. "If spring training started tomorrow he'd have to win a job as the starting center fielder," the Phillies manager was quoted as saying. And as for Jason Michaels he too is a possibility but the likelihood of him securing the job seem slim. He has been great off the bench and I suspect he will remain in the same role next season. And the other player in the rotation, Doug Glanville sounds like he is on his way to the front office as his playing career looks to be just about over.
So then there is our boy Ricky. It certainly doesn't hurt to have a player on this team who has been to a World Series (with the Yankees in 1999). And his strength on the field and at the plate is always solid but there was an even more important component that he brought to the Phillies; leadership. In the clubhouse, Ledee was known for being a strong leader and his spirited energy and strong mindedness made a great impact upon the team. Bowa acknowledged that the trade was a particularly tough loss to the club but that it was unavoidable. That of course is debatable. But leadership is something that was a major hole in the Phillies lineup. Ledee has been acknowledged as the reason Bobby Abreu began to turn himself around after Ledee got on the right fielder and encouraged him to start coming to the ballpark earlier to work on his swing. It obviously worked. So thank you for that one Ricky Ledee.
The Phillies brass needs to focus on pitching and deciding if Kevin Millwood is worth keeping around as well as making a firm decision on Eric Milton and Corey Lidle. Center field should be the least of their worries but it is a question mark that must be removed. In my opinion, center field has been spoken for. And right now, the Phillies everyday center fielder is wearing the wrong uniform.
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