Domonic Brown has long been viewed as the Phillies’ golden boy, a five-tool prospect that would someday become the face of the franchise. Well, that day is here.
In the middle of spinning two separate deals yesterday — one that sent Shane Victorino to the Dodgers, another that shipped Hunter Pence to the Giants — the Phillies recalled Brown from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. It was widely assumed Brown would start last night in the now-depleted Phillies outfield. However, his flight to Washington, D.C. didn’t arrive in time. He’ll likely make his debut today.
Two years ago, Brown was expected to take over as the starting right fielder. But the 24-year-old struggled in spring training, then broke his wrist. This past spring, he lost a battle with John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix in left field so GM Ruben Amaro opted to keep him in the minors. Brown admitted he was disappointed, but he remained upbeat.
“I kind of believe that if you play hard, do things the right way, great things are going to happen for you,” Brown told reporters in February. “If you think great, you’re going to be great.”
Now Brown has a two-month tryout to show the big club what he’s got. Play well and chances are he’s starting somewhere in the outfield in 2013. Play poorly and the Phils might be in trouble. Either way, change — even drastic change — was necessary.
“I’ve heard the old saying, ‘When you’re in last place, you can try any damn thing.’ Really. I look at it that way,” Charlie Manuel told reporters. We ain’t got but one place to go, and that’s up.”
When will streak end?
The Phillies have sold out 270 straight games, including the postseason, a string dating back to July 2009. Even as the team struggled this season, it continued.
But, with fan favorites like Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence removed from the lineup, it appears that run is just about over.
Or, as skipper Charlie Manuel said yesterday, “ does feel like it was a pretty good while ago.”
And don’t think that homefield advantage doesn’t have an impact on players. One former Phillie went out of his way to compliment the city.
“The fans made it an absolute blast to play for, so it was a great experience,” said Pence, who spent just one year here. “I had nothing but great memories here.”
With a make-shift product on the field the rest of the way — and out of the pennant race — the question is how much longer can the streak last?
“We know at some point it is going to end,” Phils vice-president of ticket sales John Weber said recently.