February 24, 2005

I miss Doug

Doug Glanville, the slim center fielder with an Ivy League degree, leaves a void in Philadelphia as large as the one in the seat of his uniform pants. Now in Yankee camp, here's a look back at the Glanville era in Philadelphia. (Photo: Diane Staskowski, Reading Eagle, 1998)

My favorite heckle of all time is one I heard directed at Doug Glanville during a Marlins-Phillies game in 2003. A Florida fan shouted "Where's your ass, Doug!?"

It's strange seeing Glanville, a Phillie for six of the last eight seasons, in Yankee camp. Over his 9-year career, he's always been different, better suited for band camp than baseball camp. But alongside Derek Jeter, A-Rod, and Alyssa Milano-sweetheart Carl Pavano, it's like he stumbled into a Calvin Klein photo shoot on his way to a Star Trek convention.

As a fan, I've always been fascinated by quirky players. Glanville truly doesn't fit the Yankee mold, or any baseball mold for that matter. Just as his uniform hangs over him like a sack, Glanville and baseball weren't supposed to fit, either. When he was a kid, he adopted the Phillies as his favorite team, even though he grew up a stone-throw away from Yankee Stadium in Teaneck, N.J. Though he was athletic, the pursuit of knowledge, not home runs, pushed him most. He would graduate with honors from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in engineering, claiming Lewis Lattimer, a great African-American man of science, as his inspiration.

But after college, baseball, not Pulitzers, came calling. He was drafted by the Cubs and spent his first two Major League seasons there before a trade for second baseman Mickey Morandini sent him back to his college hometown for the next five. His best season was 1999 (.325 BA .376 OBP .457 SLG, 34 SB) when he posted all-star numbers for a center fielder. After stints with the Cubs and Rangers, he resigned with the Phillies last year, a one-year, $1 million contract.

Baseball-wise, it was a move the Phillies shouldn't have made. Added to the cluttered centerfield mix of Byrd, Michaels and Ledee, his uselessness at the plate (.210 BA, .244 OBP, .265 SLG ) undercut the benefits of playing him in the field.

Glanville was brought in by the Yanks as a non-roster invitee to compete for the spot vacated by Kenny Lofton. At 34, his primary competition is Bubba Crosby for the final defensive reserve spot in outfield. Mark Feinsand, covering the Yankees for mlb.com, believes he is the frontrunner to win that spot. If not, Glanville could retire.

Best and worst Glanville moments in Philadelphia:
His best and worst moments both came last year. On Sunday, April 18, Glanville blasted a walk-off home run to lift the Phillies over the Montreal Expos 5-4 to cap a three-game sweep. He was greeted at the plate by an onslaught of teammates. Man they loved Doug.

The worst: On July 25, Glanville misplayed Michael Barrett's short fly ball leading off the ninth inning, costing Eric Milton a no-hitter, and eventually, the game. Fans came down hard on Glanville, but I still maintain it wasn't his fault.

Favorite Glanville article:
I can't believe it's still online: Jason Stark's retelling of a Bob Brookover story in the Philadelphia Inquirer on how Glanville’s unbelievable home run against Curt Schilling was payback for an online Everquest incident.


At 2:42 PM, Blogger me said...

I miss ass-less Doug, too.

At 2:54 PM, Anonymous Tom G said...

Coincidentally, there is a good article about Glanville in the NYT today.

At 3:01 PM, Blogger Jason Weitzel said...

Always stealing my stuff, this, "New York Times," whoever they are.

At 9:41 PM, Blogger Eric B. Meyer said...

If Doug had his way, Citizens Bank Park would have been abutting 30th Street Station. We'll miss him.

At 9:41 PM, Blogger Eric B. Meyer said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:54 AM, Blogger el123chico said...

i was actually in attendence for both of those glanville moments last year. his home run in to beat the expos landed a mere 6 rows in front of my seats.

At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Brian Michael said...

Yes, we'll all miss Doug. While at Penn his thesis was on the viability of a ballpark in west philly. He's also a sentimental favorite with Cub fans, another of his twice baked teams.

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