Alec Bohm made a strong first impression in 2020. In 44 games, the rookie third baseman recorded a slash line of .338/.400/.481, delivering some clutch hits along the way.
Alec Bohm is clutch— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) September 8, 2020
11 for 23 with 13 RBIs with RISP
He does it again. Phillies come back after blowing lead again for second straight win pic.twitter.com/KibYswGoeX
It seems like the future is bright for Bohm, and the Phillies may have found a dependable middle of the order bat for the next several years. But before everyone starts rushing out to buy their replica number 28 jerseys, you might want to question just how dedicated the Phillies are to their young star.
Why do I question their dedication? Because every game Bohm shows up to play at Citizens Bank Park, he has to walk past this:
That’s right, the Phillies have a statue of former third baseman Mike Schmidt positioned prominently outside the stadium. And they didn’t stop there; They also have Schmidt’s retired number on display, and there are plenty of references to the World Series championship the team won with him littered throughout the stadium.
While it’s nice to honor past success, did the organization consider the effect it might have on future third basemen like Bohm? How can Bohm be expected to succeed when he has to deal with a constant reminder that the team won the World Series thanks to a different third baseman?
Do you think it’s a coincidence that the list of people who’ve played the hot corner since the statue was built is extremely unimpressive? Remember Cody Asche, and how he was once projected to be the team’s third baseman of the future? He eventually had to be moved to left field, probably because he couldn’t take looking at that statue every day, and knowing he had a near-impossible standard to live up to.
Maybe things will turn out differently this time around. Maybe Alec Bohm’s talent is so great that he’ll be able to overcome the high level of pressure that statue places on Phillies third basemen. But if Bohm ends up disappointing us like his predecessors at the position, we’ll have to question if the Phillies didn’t have a large hand in his failure.