Some players are hoping to build on breakout seasons. Others are fighting for their jobs. Mike Lieberthal is playing for a different reason: Because it's there.
According to a story in the Delaware County Times, Lieberthal considered making ’06 his last, but was talked out of it by former players.
"I thought about [retirement], " he told the newspaper. "But former players I've talked to have said, 'Play as long as you can,' that if you leave the game too soon, you're going to be bored and miss it. And I think I would."
It’s the kind of talk that only comes from a player whose fire has been long extinguished. He gives the standard line about sticking around to win, but it sounds like he's speaking for someone else.
The fact is, he's only noteworthy now for his tenure and connection with the past. He’ll become an endangered species soon, a fossil from the Ed Wade era.
Under the new plan constructed by Pat Gillick, veterans and unprovens find themselves with comparable job security, all but the relaxed, chilled, slouching Lieberthal, whose contract makes him a lock to stick around until it expires after the season.
Unless backup Sal Fasano suddenly becomes someone other than his mostly poor-hitting, part-time playing Triple-A self, Lieberthal will be shouldering most of the load once again, with every ounce of job security he’s held since Wade signed him to a long-term deal.
Isn’t it strange how a 14-year Phillie doesn’t fit in anymore?