Alec Bohm is not the first to get fed up with Philadelphia fans. He’s probably not even the first to do so by the fourth game of any baseball season. The point of Philadelphia sports, and maybe the whole city in general, is to be ornery. That’s certainly its charm, if you find it has one, as it’s just about the only city on the Eastern seaboard that doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t. Brutal honesty was woven into the cobblestone 400 years ago.
Bohm had a rough night last night, even though the Phillies’ come-from-behind, 5-4 win over the Mets will help wash some of that away. He made three errors in the first three innings, including kicking off the game with this spasm of both body and mind:
Bohm is unlucky in a lot of ways. One, the focus on the Phillies’ defense was already glaring, because they spent the offseason signing big hitters in Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos, who could spend most of the defensive innings with a glove on their head and not be much worse off. Philly has been one of the worst defensive teams for a while now, which has kept them latched to a .500 record for seemingly a decade (it’s only four). So scrutiny of any defensive misplay by anyone in red pinstripes is turned up to 11.
Bohm isn’t actually a terrible third baseman, only -2 outs above average for his short career, according to StatCast. Fangraphs has him basically as neutral as well. The Phillies would probably kill for his level of neutrality all over the field if they could get it.
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More pressure exerted on Bohm comes from things that have nothing to do with him, as the previous generation of Phillies “prospects” that were supposed to be the glorious yield for all the shit the team had to eat from 2013-2017 didn’t really amount to anything. Bohm comes after that, with the glow of being a 3rd-overall pick just four years ago.
Bohm doesn’t even have a full season of MLB experience yet, but he hasn’t really hit. Which is understandable given that before 2020 he had played just 63 games at Double-A. The Phillies probably had him on the MLB roster in 2020 partly because there wasn’t anywhere else he was going to get ABs thanks to there being no minor league baseball that year.
So Bohm’s been working his ass off at third, hearing all the chatter wondering when he might actually hit, as Philly fans get pretty sick of having non-entity seasons. And this is a fanbase where “pretty sick” is just the default setting.
Bohm certainly had a clanger, and because Phillies fans always feel an urge to live up to the reputation established by the generations of fans before them, they’re the quickest in the league to boo anyone. They’re just waiting for an opportunity. They itch for it. Just the slightest nudge and it’s like you’re back at The Vet.
So it’s pretty obvious why he might feel like this:
Bohm made his apologies after the game, and charmingly didn’t run from saying it. He was pissed, he didn’t feel supported, and that’s what he was feeling at the moment. He’s probably the latest in a very long line of Phillies who wanted to take a flamethrower to the home stadium at times. That’s what happens when you have a sports crowd trying to put themselves over like a WWE crowd at the Raw after Wrestlemania. Philadelphia’s self-celebratory fashion of being miserable has had them up their own ass for a long time now.
Bohm almost certainly won’t be the only Phillie to feel that way this season. Wait until Castellanos or Schwarber have a bad weekend in the outfield and don’t homer four times to make up for it. It’s what you sign up for there. At this point it almost feels theatrical, but it probably doesn’t feel that way when you’re on the field.