Aaron Rowand is normally a pretty good looking guy, but he's looking pretty downright ugly these days. The aftermath of Rowand's game saving catch last week against the Mets is all over the center fielder's face. Colors ranging from black to blue, to red, to a greenish sort of yellow dot Rowand's face and are complimented by the splint attached over the bridge of his nose.
Rowand looks at it as just part of the cost of doing business in the majors. "I knew I could catch it, but it would mean having to run into the wall," explained Rowand. "If that's the case, so be it, we're here to win games."
If the Phillies extend their season into October this season, Rowand's catch will likely be the moment that the Phillies rally around. For a star-caliber player to completely sacrifice his body that way must send a message to every other player on the roster and in fact, throughout the organization. In a town that loves blood, sweat and grit, Rowand gave the populace plenty to love. We can only imagine how long and loud the standing ovation will be once he returns to the club from his stint on the DL.
Speaking of which, Rowand hopes to return when his time on the DL is up. He believes that he should be able to start working out next week and be back off the DL as soon as possible. In fact, the splint comes off later this week and he figures to start hitting off a tee as soon as the cumbersome looking thing is history. Just as his catch inspired teammates, his quick return will serve the same purpose. "That rubs off. You'd be kidding yourself if you thought it didn't," preached Rowand.
This is the first time in his career that Rowand has been on the DL and he doesn't like it. Especially since the team is playing so well. In many ways, Rowand has made this his team as the spark plug that built a fire under his teammates and that started way before the catch. Rowand is constantly getting teammates together for activities away from the field, looking to build friendships and loyalty. The fact that there was never much fire associated with the Phillies was something that Rowand sensed immediately after arriving from the World Champion Chicago White Sox. He set about to change that and he's done a somewhat miraculous job. While other players may get noticed a little more in the press, make no mistake about who the real team leader is for the Phillies. Aaron Rowand truly has made this a team that he's going to carry as far as possible, no matter how bad he has to look to do it.