Hunter Pence was a good player in Houston for the better part of five seasons. He was a two time All-Star and hit exactly 25 homeruns in three consecutive seasons. Those of us in and around the Space City were quite aware of the skills possessed by the young outfielder. We marveled at how Pence could wreak havoc on the diamond while exhibiting all the grace of a newborn colt. But Pence and the Astros garnered very little national media attention. All of that changed when Pence was dealt to Philadelphia just prior to the trade deadline.
Suddenly Pence is a media darling. His tweets are a regular topic of conversation on MLB Network. His runway antics at Shane Victorino’s charity fashion show are the stuff legends are made of. After appearing on ESPN’s Jim Rome is Burning Pence went on to deliver a 13th inning RBI hit that would eliminate the Atlanta Braves from playoff contention. Fashion shows, tweets, interviews, and oh by the way some pretty darn good baseball are making Pence one of the most popular players in the league. I, for one, couldn’t be happier for him. Pence deserves all of the attention he is getting.
Now comes the true test of playoff baseball. Can Pence continue to play at a high level during the pressure packed days of October? Will the fickle fans of Philadelphia continue to adore Pence even if things take a turn for the worse? Let’s not forget- the city’s fans are famous for having booed Santa Claus. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that. I know Astros fans will join me in wishing Hunter and the Phillies the best of luck during the playoffs… at least against the Cardinals.