The New York Mets’ plans to honor Chipper Jones were roundly mocked in this space last week, however it will not be necessary for the Wilpons to come up with similar ceremonies to mark the end of another notorious Met-killer’s career. No video montage, no gift certificate to McFadden’s, could possibly match the tribute unleashed by the Philadelphia Daily News’ Marcus Hayes, an effort the Big Lead’s Tim Ryan calls, “semen-encrusted” (thanks for that lovely mental image, Tim).
Burrell always was the biggest star. For better or worse, Burrell taught a generation of Phillies the way to act as a big-league player . . . and how to best survive in a demanding, sometimes vicious city.
He was born to the role.
The corner locker belonged to Burrell. He radiated charisma, with his Ray Liotta eyes and his Rat Pack exploits.
“He handled his business,” says Howard, grinning. “If you’re going to go out and party or whatever, you have to come in the next day to handle your business . . . I know it’s hard to believe, but he was very professional.
“He was a big-leaguer.”
“He was the guy,” says Shane Victorino. “He was a cornerstone piece on this team, But, when you think about Pat Burrell, and what he was in this city, not just from a baseball standpoint, he was an iconic person.
“He was everybody’s dream. Every girl’s dream,” Victorino says.
If I’m correct in reading between the lines here, Burrell’s leadership by example and how well he “taught a generation” of younger, aspiring studs how to be big leaguers is closely linked to his ability to nurse a hangover.