Connect The Dots...The Missing Piece To The Puzzle

The Phillies hype the likes of Pat Burrell, Jim Thome and Kevin Millwood, but there may be an important piece of the puzzle that we've all ignored. Maybe, the old saying is true; you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.

There was a definite theme to Wednesday night's Phils loss to the Marlins 3-1....call it "The Case of the Missing P". What you may ask is this all about?...please allow me to explain! Baseball teams are like puzzles, the pieces of a puzzle must all fit together for the puzzle picture to become clear. Lose one piece and the puzzle may become unclear and undistinguishable. In the case of our beloved Philadelphia Phillies, that puzzle piece was second baseman Placido Polanco....the missing P....or puzzle piece as you may wish to call him. Polanco, in his short time as a Phillie has become an incredibly important member of the team...and his absense last night was perhaps one of the big reasons that our offense struggled against righty Brad Penny - there's that P again! - of the Marlins. Oh, the Philadelphia Phillies have their Punto's and Perez's. their Plesac's and their Padilla's, even their Pratt's. And in the not too distant past their was Person and Poole, Pritchett and Parent, even Politte and Prince! Yet it says here that one Placido Polanco is the one P puzzle piece that most phits the Phightin Phils. We were warned about Polanco. Many Cardinals fans let us know how much we would appreciate this quiet, unassuming player with the low profile and personality. How you had to see him on a daily basis to appreciate all the little things he does to help the team come up big in the winning column. And, its more than his .350 plus batting average that makes this puzzle piece fit. It's more than his near league leading total of base hits or runs scored. It's even more than the smooth way he turns the double play, hits behind the runner, or takes a pitch for the team. These are all wonderful things, but they are not the essense of the man, and the way that he has quickly won over the hearts and minds of a demanding Philly phan base. Polanco is that most valuable piece, the bridge that connects the speed of Byrd and Rollins to the power of Abreu, Thome and Burrell. He bats in the two position with precision and skill....getting things started, keeping rallies going, even taking a pitch on the hand for the team - he leads the league in hit by pitch with 4. Puzzles can be complicated things....they are so much fun to put together, but maddeningly frustrating if a piece doesn't fit...or is missing. It says here that with this Phillies team....Polanco fits the puzzle to a T.....or a P, if you wish...and is the piece that makes the Burrell, Thome and Rollins pieces look oh so snug and perfect when all put together.

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