Phillies’ Unsung Storylines

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of  RCN or any other agency, organization, employer or company.

One of the reasons why the Phillies have had the kind of “surprising” (by most fans’ expectations) season to date is the team’s flexibility.

New Manager Gabe Kapler made it very obvious in spring training that he wanted players to play multiple positions—regardless of whether or not they had any prior experience playing new spots.  Learning a new position on the fly at the Major League level is nothing less than an amazing accomplishment, and players like Jesmuel Valentin are really the unsung heroes as this team stays in playoff contention.

Mind you, it’s not just the physical aspects of playing a brand new position (and we’re not just talking about moving from second base to shortstop).  The mental aspect of going from the infield to the outfield and then back in again (and doing it with no experience at lower levels) is one of the most impressive/least talked about aspect of this year’s Phillies.

Once more, it takes a special athlete to be able to make these adjustments and carry on as “good soldiers” in the clubhouse, when players are asked to make these significant changes for the overall good of the team.  Moving to a new position is one thing—but doing it while keeping the clubhouse a positive experience for the whole squad is also something that should not be overlooked when analyzing Philadelphia’s success this year.

This unselfish approach is something that Phillies Shortstop-Second Baseman-Third Baseman-Pinch Hitter-Right Fielder-Relief Pitcher Jesmuel Valentin has shown throughout his baseball career…and MLB fans are finally getting to see what this versatile player can do at the Big League level.

I had the great opportunity of speaking with Valentin—once at Reading, again at Lehigh Valley after spring training last year, and again earlier this month in Philadelphia, about this unique ability to successfully move around, playing new positions, while still trying to prove that he can hit Major League pitching.

Here’s a portion of my interview with Valentin…

There are more “feel-good” stories surrounding the Philadelphia team—some that sports fans everywhere will be become aware of – should this unlikely collection of prospects continue to play—and beat—some of the best teams in all of baseball.

Be sure to check out our “SportsTalk” program for more Phillies interviews as they chase a playoff berth.

Also, don’t forget to catch our final “SportsTalk Gets Wild” program of the summer as our “RCN SportsTalk presented by ‘The Morning Call’” will broadcast live from the Buffalo Wild Wings on Grape Street in Whitehall, this Thursday, from 7-8pm.

Our guests will be members of the World Champion Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleading Squad (complete with their Super Bowl Pendants to showcase).  Come on out to see the program in person and 10% of your food bill will go to support the Miller–Keystone Blood Center.



Chris Michael About Chris Michael

Chris handles play-by-play for RCN sports events, including baseball, football & basketball games and produces/hosts the station’s 60-minute live call-in show. Among Chris’s other responsibilities include reporting on local news & sports stories, conducting “Take 5” interviews with community and political leaders, producing commercials, voiceovers and promos; and generating blog entries and videos on the internet. Click here to listen to the weekly Sports Talk podcast.

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