What’s Up, Vic?

Shane Victorino got to the Phillies clubhouse later than normal yesterday morning at Citizens Bank Park.

He is almost always one of the first arrivals, quickly changing into his workout gear, ready to go, chirping at whomever walks in his direction. He’s all energy all the time, ready for a laugh or a wise crack. But not yesterday. Victorino seemed oddly quiet upon his arrival, after the clubhouse had already opened to media. (I could probably count on one hand the times I’ve been in the clubhouse before him.) He changed out of his t-shirt, but otherwise remained in street clothes as he slowly walked through the clubhouse, eventually packing his red Phillies travel bag for the team’s trip to Colorado and Los Angeles after the All-Star break. (He was the only one in the clubhouse doing so.)

Maybe an hour later, Charlie Manuel posted his lineup. Victorino was hitting seventh.

Maybe an hour after that, Manuel replaced Victorino in the lineup with Jason Pridie.

Some speculated Victorino got upset with his spot in the lineup and stormed out of the clubhouse. He very well might have been, but Manuel denied this.

“That’s the first thing I asked him,” Manuel said. “He said absolutely not.”

Instead, Manuel said Victorino simply was not in the right frame of mind to play.

“When I talked to him, he was kind of hurting today and he was down,” Manuel said. “He was down because of his performance. I decided to go with Pridie. I just scratched him and gave him a day off. … I saw [Victorino] in the clubhouse, sitting beside his locker. I walked up and started talking to him. He was down, talking about his hitting, especially from the left side, things like that. He was down. He’s got a lot on his mind, I guess.”

Victorino is hitting .245 with 13 doubles, two triples, eight homers and 37 RBIs in 86 games this season. He is hitting 31 points below his career batting average, 30 points below his career on-base percentage and 63 points below his career slugging percentage. Not only is Victorino underperforming this season, he is eligible to become a free agent after the season and he could be traded before the end of the month. He is seeking a five-year contract from the Phillies, but there seems to be no chance they go anywhere near that long.

Victorino is an emotional guy. I have no doubt this season is weighing on him, both because of the losing and the long-term and short-term uncertainties about his future. He wants to stay in Philadelphia, but I think he sees his time in Philly might be coming to an end. Now, that’s no excuse for not coming to the ballpark ready to play. He’s getting paid $9.5 million this season (or more than $58,000 a game) to play. But while I understand it’s hard for some people to accept, there is a very big human element in this game. Players get distracted, they get depressed, they struggle with confidence, etc. Victorino has to hope the four-day All-Star break clears his head, he gets on a roll along with the rest of the team and the front office becomes buyers before the trade deadline because right now that’s all he’s got.

17 Comments

That’s a well rounded, thoughtful and well written entry, Todd.

Nice post except about the team being buyers. Be realistic, this team is out of the running this year.

Ball players only being human? Cry me a river and give me the $58k per game.

Guess he was hungover after partying in AC until after 3AM? Or maybe he got sick from his Wawa hoagie in Margate at 4am?

What are you saying, A? Are you saying that you saw him doing those things or are you just insinuating?

I guess you don’t read Crossing Broad or have a twitter account?

Wow. Awfully quiet in here. It was a good run. Is this what it feels like to be out of contention before the all-star break and deemed “sellers”? I wouldn’t know. Chin up though. 5 straight division championships and 1 world series. Not nearly as great as the 14 year run by the Braves… but there will never be another one like that, will there? Phils fans should be very proud. Don’t confuse the Flyin’ Hawaiian’s pitty party with “confidence issues”. If I was playing like he is in the midst of a contract year, I’d be pretty depressed too. He’s literally watching millions of $$$ “flyin’” out of the window with every terrible at bat. Hawaiian style.
See you in 2013 Phrillies. Maybe Vance Worley can more than make up for the loss of Cole Hammels… maybe.

“Awfully quiet”? I count four comments time-stamped before yours — that hardly qualifies as silence. What did you expect, fans lighting up the blog with enthusiasm and excitement? (You’d have bashed them for that, too, right?) And who’s Cole “Hammels”? But the big question is this: why do you, and other Braves fans, feel the need to come onto a blog where folks have basically already recognized reality and given up on the playoffs, or even a winning record, this season? That’s not trolling. That’s just pathetic.

Dave – We’ve (Braves fans) heard it plenty the last few years from Philly fans. It’s called trash talking… not trolling. All we heard was how our run of divisional titles meant nothing because of our one pathetic world series championship. Turns out, your team can’t even accomplish our “pathetic” accomplishment. If it’s any consolation, I like a lot of the Philly players. It’s the fans that need to come down to earth a little bit. Not going to apologize one bit for enjoying that a little. Serious question: Are the Phillies still still selling out every game? Attendance is usually another one we hear from the philly faithful.

bravomania: Remember, fan is short for “fanatic.” Coming down to earth isn’t part of the equation. But I’m not surprised to hear a Braves fan say that. You seem to be firmly planted on earth, for better or worse.
And yes, the Phillies are still on their sell-out streak. I suspect it will come to an end, as all things good.
Most of the trash-talking Braves fans hear from Phillies fans is how the team can’t sell-out playoff games. Always plenty of good seats available. Around here, Atlanta is known as a horrible sports town. I’m not sure what that means in the grand scheme, but for the success that the Braves have had, it’s puzzling to those of us who wait many years between championships.

Can’t even argue with that one Muleman. I live in 300+ miles away in another state and go to more Braves games than most in Atlanta. Definitely a shame. Phils have a lot to be proud of. A lot of home grown talent, passionate fans, and a front office that makes good decisions. I still enjoy hating them :)

Well said, Todd! I get sick of the “You’re making a millions dollars a game, just play!” mentality. Just because these guys are making a ton of money, doesn’t make them robots. Or any less human! Besides the depression of the team doing so poorly, stresses in their personal lives comes into play, too. Can anybody here honestly say, that poor working conditions, and worrying about a sick child, doesn’t affect their job performance. I can’t.
I’ve often said that the Phillies should have a Sports Psychologist on staff. Or maybe they do?

so as we hit the ASG where do we stand? 2013 promises the following: 1B Howard, 2B Utley with Galvis as backup for his DL stint. SS Rollins. RF Pence C Ruiz. A rotation of Doc, Lee, Vannimal and a closer of Pap. Everyone else, signed or not, is up in the air. I’d like to see them take the $10 million that comes off the books with Polanco and resign Cole at $20-$25 million a year for 6 years. the 5th starter is whichever of the babyaces who wins the job in the spring. I would love to see them take Vicorino’s $8 million and part of Blanton’s $8.5 million and sign Bourn as CF. (let him hit 2nd if Charlie is too scared to move JStroll). That leaves 3B to be addressed. Forget about Wright-it ain’t going to happen. We need a good fielder guy with ab bit of power and good contact. We should have about $5-6 to pay. The bench of Nix, Galvis, Wiggy is fine. Krantz replaces Schnieder at C. I’d like to see Brown get the LF job and either he sinks or swims. Time to give him the job or get rid of him for a bag of balls. Mayberry is a wasted roster spot, I’m sorry to say. The Pen needs to be redone from a-z except Pap. We need it all.

F I J. Bourn will sign with the Nationals.

WWTCD?………….What would the Cubs Do?

Hire people like Theo Epstein & Jed Hoyer , be patient & rebuild.

Stevejeltz, the cubs would continue to lose. steve D: dont think the Nats get bourn. he openlt loves the Phillies

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