Bloody, But Unbowed
That’s a first.
The Phillies have scored 11 runs in their last six games, including tonight’s 4-0 loss to the Giants at Citizens Bank Park. They have hit .244 overall and .152 (7-for-46) with runners in scoring position in that span. But it has much been much worse than that. The Phillies have hit just .241 overall and just .208 with runners in scoring position since July 26, averaging just 4.1 runs per game after averaging 5.5 runs per game their first 96 games of the season.
If it has been frustrating for you to watch at home, it has been even more frustrating for the players in the clubhouse.
What’s the solution?
“You’ve got to keep grinding and keep fighting,” said Raul Ibanez, who is hitting .133 (10-for-75) in his last 21 games. “I think it was Shakespeare who said, ‘My head is bloody, but unbowed.’ Keep fighting.”
That was the first time I had heard a player quote Shakespeare, so I gave Ibanez major points. I still do. But I looked up the quote and William Ernest Henley actually wrote those famous words in the poem Invictus, which is Latin for unconquered.
The poem seems to fit some of the team’s offensive struggles. Sister Marion Hoctor, professor of English at Nazareth College of Rochester, New York, talked about the poem after Timothy McVeigh left it as his final message to the world before execution in 2001: “The poem is powerful expression of stoicism — you fall back on your own resources, you don’t fall back on religious resources. If you are going to truly be ‘invictus’ — which is Latin for unconquered — you must be true to your own convictions. So ‘Invictus’ means ‘I have not been conquered.’ … He’s saying ‘I’m in possession of my fate, I have been strong, I haven’t cried, or winced’ in the face of the ‘bludgeoning of chance.’”
There you have it.