Only in Philadelphia
The Phillies open the season at home with a win for the first time since 1980, but a select few manage to ruin the thrill by booing Placido Polanco and Charlie Manuel.
It's a strange, surreal sensation to finally see what I've been writing about come to fruition in front of a sell-out crowd, knowing they haven't been as invested in this team as much as I have over the last few months. It's selfish to say, but it’s like I’m not willing to share it. Especially after yesterday.
In new manager Charlie Manuel's first decision of a long 162 game season, he chose to start veteran Placido Polanco at second base over Chase Utley, contradicting offseason statements by the team that Utley would begin the season as starter.
Manuel defended the move by saying Polanco had a better track record against the Expos/Nationals. He also reiterated that both players will see plenty of action this season, meaning one of them will need to sit while the other plays.
In response, when the players were introduced to start the game, certain fans booed Polanco. For being a steady hitter, a versatile fielder, excellent second baseman, and a productive man out of the No. 2 hole, they let him have it. And for deciding to start him over Utley, who's inexperienced, lesser defensively than Polanco, playing on a day when dead ground-ball pitcher Jon Lieber got the start and Kenny Lofton still wasn't 100 percent to assume the No. 2 spot, they let Manuel have it, too.
Despite all the bad decision making, they barely managed to play exceptional baseball, and only won 8-4. Lieber lived up to every expectation as a pitcher that doesn't give hitters an inch. Though he tired early, he jammed hitter after hitter, and sure-handed shortstop Jimmy Rollins and Polanco gobbled them up one after another. It's also hard to forgive Polanco for the sweet double play he helped turn, and for going 2-5 at the plate.