Phillies Reese Hoskins’ career may be over. He’s had his lows, but the wins…

Rhys Hoskins sat at a picnic table one morning in March 2021 and, for 30 minutes, agreed to talk about perception. This was a sensitive topic then – and now – because everyone in Philadelphia has an opinion about Hoskins. He has been, since 2017, the Phillies’ most scrutinized player. He had ideas he wanted to share. But he was never sure if her participation would be fruitful.

He was asked midway through the interview, What would you like the image of Rhys Hoskins to be?

“I don’t think I want him to change,” he said. “I want to be a good person. First. Someone who cares about people. I obviously love this game. I want to be respected at that club. I want to know that I come here every day and do the work that I know I need to do the way it needs to be done.” with it.

There’s a quote from “The Last Dance” where (Michael) Jordan says, “I wanted to work out as hard as I could because I wanted to be able to ask the people around me to do the same.” And that sounds different for every person, right? But that kind of stuck with me. I’ve never been a really outspoken guy. So if I could drive in some way by what I do, how interesting I am, and the things I think need to be done in order for us to be Successful – I think that’s a good thing to remember. I’d also like to be known as a winner before this is all done. I think we’re on our way.”

There are people who think they have a picture of Rhys Hoskins. Or there is a picture of Rice Hoskins they want.

“What do you think this is?” Asked.

His image as a player?

No, Hoskins said. “Why do you think I was watched more than anyone else?”

It was the way he came to the majors. It was very good and fast. He was the brightest glimmer of hope in a franchise he longed for. That was the timing. Before Aaron Nola became the best pitcher. by JT Realmuto. Before “dumb money”. By Bryce Harper. Before everything.

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“We weren’t very good,” Hoskins said.

It was veiny. There were a lot of ups and downs. too much. People tend to remember the lows — not the highs.

He said, “So do I.” “So do we. That’s just the way we work. Like, I definitely get that.”

More than anything, people wanted Rhys Hoskins to be good. They saw her when she was really good. They wanted that guy – all along. But that’s not how it works. Sometimes, they overlooked what it actually was. The good, the bad and everything in between.

He said that day: “I’ll take it.”

Rhys Hoskins will be a free agent after the season. It’s his seventh year with the Phillies. (Nathan Ray Sibeck / USA Today)

On a Thursday afternoon, about 150 feet from the picnic table, Rhys Hoskins’ career with the Phillies may have come to an end. Maybe he should have sent the ball to him more cleanly. His nail might not have hit the turf at a critical angle and his left leg wasn’t twisted, tearing his anterior cruciate ligament and forcing surgery that would — barring by a miracle — end the 2023 season before it ever began.

He has always been the tragic figure of this franchise. Misplaced as the best player in dreadful teams. He was installed as the club’s spokesperson on collapse after the collapse. And finally, a solid player in a star-studded team with such great expectations. This was the best Phillies team ever assembled around Rhys Hoskins, and now, he won’t be a part of it.

Hoskins made its debut in a 10-0 loss to the Mets. It was August 2017. Vince Velasquez was snapped after allowing three runs in a 32-pitch first inning. Only one player from the Phillies’ lineup that day, Cesar Hernandez, is still active in the majors—and that’s as a non-roster invitee trying to make the Detroit Tigers. Hoskins played left field—a position he learned quickly—because the Phillies didn’t want to displace Tommy Joseph, who didn’t play in the major leagues again after 2017.

Hoskins and his colleagues celebrate with a colleague in 2017. (Matthew Sumner/Associated Press)

Hoskins homered twice in his fifth game. After that, he made 16 runs in 29 matches. He started a triple play from left field. He finished fourth in National League Rookie voting. Then, in 2018, he missed a fly ball that resulted in a loss of six unearned runs in 20 innings that were only broadcast on Facebook. He hit 34 homers. He took September – the epic Phillies meltdown – hard. He never played left field again.

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He wondered if he would spend his time in Philadelphia. Everyone around him signed an extension. His friend, Scott Kingery, signed one before he even played a big league game. Hoskins bought a home in Philadelphia with his wife, Jamie. They made time for the community. He saw teammate after teammate — the guys he thought would be at Citizens Bank Park when the clouds lifted — leave. He answered questions. take the blame. He posted a career-high 125 OPS+ – 25% better than the league average.

Last October, just hours before the Phillies won to clinch their first postseason, Hoskins took time to reflect. “One of my favorite things to do is when something comes up on Twitter, like Lineup, for example, September 25, 2018Hoskins said. “You know? It’s like, wow. Where we were as an organization to where we are now. Just the names. That’s crazy. It’s just insanely different.”

He lost millions of dollars Thursday afternoon when he tore a ligament in his left knee. It is not impossible that Hoskins, the free agent, will return after this season. Perhaps this injury increases the odds of a short-term deal with the Phillies. The first year following ACL surgery is a difficult one. He could be the designated hitter in 2024 with Harper returning to right field. maybe. Maybe not.

But he had his moment.

Hoskins bats a brave Spike in Game 3 of the NLDS. (Bill Streicher / USA Today)

A few weeks ago, Bobby Dickerson shook his head. The veteran coach saw it all in this game. He knew Hoskins’ game had limits. There was no bypass. But this did not match the sometimes tired perception of him.

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“I could never get mad at Rhys Hoskins,” said Dickerson. “Never. Because his desire for it, his work ethic, his concern for the Phillies, his concern for the city of Philadelphia, his concern for where we’re going as an organization — it’s all off the charts. It’s the highest of the highest levels.”

Perhaps the Phillies are looking at Game 3 of last year’s National League Series — the day postseason baseball returned to Citizens Bank Park — as the start of the next great era. Maybe not. But Hoskins’ swing and bat will forever be part of the fabric of the court. The moment was filled with symbolism.

“Nobody on this team deserves that moment more than they do,” Nick Castellanos said afterwards.

He was right.

In a few weeks, the Phillies will receive their rings to celebrate their National League championship. There will be a lavish pre-match party. The players will be introduced, and perhaps Hoskins with his crutches can join them on the lawn. Maybe there will be louder cheers for some of his teammates. that’s ok.

“It’s interesting that you asked that,” Hoskins said that March morning two years ago. “I get asked about it a lot.”

asked what?

“Just, like, why?” Hoskins said. “Why visualize like that? So it’s fun.”

Perhaps it would be better, instead, to remember the victories.

(Top photo: Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

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