What else does he have to do?
When Abreu became the Phillies' first 30/30 player in their history, he had to figure that would gain him the respect of the hometown fans. After all, it was something that no other player in Philadelphia baseball history had accomplished. Instead, you can still find message boards and chat rooms filled with complaints about Bobby Abreu.
On the nationwide stage, he's just sixth among National League outfielders in All-Star Game balloting. Part of the problem is that Abreu simply doesn't get a lot of press and doesn't make himself available for an abundance of interviews. Some of the balloting issue also lies with the fact that the Phillies have played the fewest home games of any team in baseball, giving Philadelphia fans a bit of a disadvantage in voting for their representative.
In May, Abreu put up awesome numbers. Abreu led NL hitters with a .396 average and smacked 11 homeruns, compiling a .792 slugging percentage and an unheard of .535 on-base percentage along the way. His 30 walks led the league and his 30 RBI tied for the league lead. In 28 games, he stole seven bases, which helped him to score 22 runs in the month. As for his power, Abreu homered in six straight games and became the first player in Major League history to homer in nine of ten games that his team played in. He reached base with either a hit or a walk in every game of the month, except one. And while he was doing all of that, he garnered only enough votes to rank sixth among National League outfielders.
Those ever popular message boards will berate Abreu for "dogging it" and being "weak defensively", but many times neglect to mention the pure numbers. While he's not necessarily going to win a Gold Glove Award, Abreu makes many plays that other right fielders simply wouldn't. He also has an arm that keeps many runners from attempting to swipe an extra base on balls hit to right field. To say that he's not always as aggressive defensively as he could be may be the most legitimate of criticisms that can be levied against Abreu. The fact is though that it's not highly relevant and Abreu prevents more runs defensively than he allows.
For him to be sixth in the balloting is part of the blemish that shows up every season when fans vote their favorites into the All-Star Game. For a player like Abreu, who isn't even a favorite in his own backyard, how can he be expected to compete on a national stage?
It's time for Abreu to gain the respect of fans in Philadelphia and across the great game that we enjoy. We are watching a special player. Someone who is not only capable of doing things that no other Phillie has ever done, but who has already accomplished things that no other player in this city has done. There are likely to be many more achievements down the road for Abreu and we as fans should do more than just follow the accomplishments; we should be part of them, cheering Abreu on to bigger and better things and relishing in what he can achieve during a career that will hopefully see him stay in Philadelphia for the rest of his playing days.
|Ken Griffey, Jr.||261,554||8||36||.267||50||191||23||51||15||0||0||0||20||42||.335|
Here are some more numbers to consider for Bobby Abreu: