As a former overall No. 1 pick of the Phillies, Pat Burrell will always be remembered in Philadelphia.
Two years after playing his last game in red pinstripes, Pat the Bat returns as the enemy, now patrolling left field for the San Francisco Giants.
“This is what it’s all about, this is what you sign up for,” Burrell said. “In order to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.”
Burrell played his final season with the Phillies in 2008, culminating in the franchise’s second world championship. After that season, Burrell signed with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Giants picked him up after he was released. Burrell made his home debut in San Francisco on June 11 and homered in a 6-2 win.
Of course, that was just the beginning.
Burrell finished batting .266 with 18 home runs and 51 RBIs. Not only did he prove he was still the player he had been with the Phils, he morphed into a leader. The 2010 Giants have no superstar. Instead, they are built around inexperienced players, in their first postseason.
Burrell knows that it’ll be a tough challenge facing a Phillies team that has made the playoffs every season since 2007. Having been a part of that franchise for nine years, he’ll have to put personal feelings aside.
“This is a great opportunity being that I played there and everything but in the big picture, this is business,” Burrell said. “These guys were in the World Series last year and so there’s no time to get caught up in stuff like that, it’s too important.”
Burrell was raised in San Jose and actually grew up a Giants fan.
“The whole situation for me has been hard to explain,” Burrell said. “Because it’s so great to be here and then to be in this situation, with the playoffs. It couldn’t have worked out any better.”
Reunited in Calif.
One of the benefits of coming to the Giants for Pat Burrell was being reunited with Aubrey Huff. The two are good friends and were teammates at the University of Miami.
“It’s been a blast man, spraying champagne twice this year,” Huff said. “We always talked one day about playing together to end our career, and we didn’t care where it was — if it was a last place team or not. It just so happens we’re in a run for the playoffs so it makes it sweeter.”
What would really be sweet is if the duo tasted a title. It would be the first for the Giants since 1954, before they moved to San Fran. METRO