Young players don't just get a phone call from a windowless room full of thirty men in suits, informing them for which team they will be playing during their adult years. There is much pomp and circumstance, from thousands hours of pre-coverage to the mid-draft speculation to the post-draft wind-down celebrity wine mixer.
In the between all of that, MLB asks each team for a representative, giving each franchise a chance to honor a former player, coach, or other icon.
23 former MLB All-Stars highlight decorated list of club representatives for 2016 MLB Draft on June 9th. pic.twitter.com/6qtzPOgVm7— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) May 23, 2016
As you can see, the Phillies have tapped Mike Lieberthal (and Ed Wade) to serve as their reps. Mike Lieberthal, you need no reminder, served as the Phillies' homegrown catcher from 1994-2006, becoming a de facto leader and refusing to quit, even when the team and the rest of its players sucked or when his body began to fail. At 44 years old, the Glendale, CA native is often cited as one of the new organizational bright spots of the years in which he played on the team.
Given his fairly innocuous, friendly career here, it makes sense that some people absolutely despise him.
what the shit is with all this anti-Lieberthal sentiment on my goddamned internet right now pic.twitter.com/Gri4ukNwu0— your point prover (@Phylan) May 23, 2016
I have a few questions for you, people who don't like Mike Lieberthal: Who are you? Who do you really have a problem with? Yourself? Your parents? The cankerous imp clutching your shoulder with its yellowed talons, hissing in your ear that you should hate everything? The man is going to, what, sit at a table? Maybe answer a phone? It's got all the impact of a guy in a restaurant realizing he's been stood up.
Lieberthal bridged the long, deep void between playoff seasons - he probably houses some stifled bitterness to that fact - and all it cost him was both of his knees. Instead of Chase Utley, he had Marlon Anderson. Instead of Roy Halladay, he had Kevin Millwood. Instead of Aaron Nola, he had a 23-year-old Bruce Chen. The Phillies put him on the Wall of Fame in 2012 and then pretty much closed the book on the rest of the mid-'90s to early '00s (I assume they might have left Scott Rolen some unanswered voicemails). I'm having a hard time figuring out what his presence could do to hurt the Phillies' drafting plans, whatever they are, outside of burning the building down and then finding all of the prospects and individually burning them down, too.
He's the only former ball player who is not an MLB Network analyst. For god's sake, let him sit at the damn table, what possible reason could you have for wanting to deny him the slightest enjoyment of life while his knees age ten times faster than the rest of his body, you screeching internet weasels?!
Really, it's the Phillies' fault for bringing in such a controversial, polarizing figure from their past like Lieberthal. Fortunately, they'll have Ed Wade there to smooth everything over.
In conclusion, I wrote all of this very late at night.