Wednesday, November 4, 2009

An Open Letter to Jimmy and Ryan

Dear Jimmy and Ryan,

You can do this. I know that New York is hostile territory and the Yankees are very good, but the opportunity to realize your year long goal of repeating can be found in Yankee Stadium over the next couple of days. Broad Street is still an option.

A World Series Championship last year and a return to the fall classic with a chance to repeat is terrific, but you sit on the brink of greatness. This team has an opportunity to be recognized as the best Philadelphia sports team ever. With this nucleus of talent and tremendous team chemistry, this team also has the chance to be recognized as one of the greatest baseball or even sports teams ever.

The two of you have been important leaders through the rise of this Phillies team, both on and off the field. The foundation of this team's winning attitude, demeanor  and highly appealing personality trace directly to the two of you, and Chase, of course. You have been greatly instrumental in the success of this organization's current era. For evidence, you need to look no further than your mantle to see the glistening MVP trophy that you each earned through extraordinary contributions. Those seasons surely are not your total body of work, but serve as shining testimony to what you mean to this team.

To this point in the 2009 World Series, the baseball world has not witnessed your true capabilities or the way you can take a game over. But, it's not too late. The first opportunity starts at 7:57 PM tonight, and I am confident that the second opportunity will follow on Thursday night- same time, same station. The Phillies can do this, and it sure would be easier if the real Jimmy and Ryan show up starting tonight.

The team, and particularly the both of you, have a history of responding well with your proverbial "backs to the wall." Whether its been overwhelming the Mets to steal the NL East from their grasp down the stretch, or more recently in this year's playoffs, down to your last strike with your team facing defeat, crushing clutch two baggers- you have come through in a big way.

Jimmy, you're the igniter. Besides the marvelous defense that is always part of your game, you have the ability to be the catalyst for the entire offense. Everyone is aware of the statistics that show how well the team does when you score a run, but how about three? The Phillies are at their best when you are getting on, stealing bases, ripping liners into the gap and racing around the bases. Remember the feeling and results of "catching" the ball on your bat.

And, Ryan, as you demonstrated so well over the last four months, you are pretty much capable of putting a team on your back, even a team loaded with stars. You were clearly the most valuable player in baseball over that period of time until you hit a little snag in this series. There is no question that the Yankees have pitched you tough, but an adjustment here or there and that will be over- in a prolific way. Perhaps its simply a matter of staying back and taking those outside pitches the other way?

Nothing that has happened in the first 5 games matters now. Everything is in front of you- the whole season, the team's quest, the Phillies destiny. Treat every at bat like its your last, applying maximum intensity and concentration on each and every pitch. But at the same time, as hard as it may be, relax and enjoy the moment. Bring those trademark smiles that light up a room and channel the adrenaline coursing through your veins into the type of performances that have made you our  hometown heroes.

No matter what happens over the next two days, this Phillies team has been an absolute joy to watch and has a lot more to offer in years to come. And, I know as always, the players will leave everything out there on the Yankee Stadium field, but the two of you simply being Jimmy and Ryan could go a long way towards realizing the dream of another trip down Broad Street. You can do this.


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