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Ross Gload is the Saddest Man

For most of the season, 35-year-old Phillies journeyman bench bat Ross Gload has been nursing a bum hip which has severely limited his ability to play the game of baseball competently. He has walked in 2.4 percent of his plate appearances while striking out in 22.6 percent of them. Of his 19 hits, four of them have gone for extra bases (none of those four extra base hits were triples or homers). He currently sports a .238/.256./.288 slash line in 84 plate appearances. All of this he has done with a .311 BABIP. Yes, compared to his career norms, he has actually been a bit lucky on balls in play.

The solution would appear simple: put the aging, injured, and ineffective player out to pasture. It is something the Phillies could have (and should have) done over the last four months with precisely zero negative consequences. And yet, there he still is, on their major league roster. It is something that has puzzled me every time I’m watching a game and see him preparing to make one of his likely unsuccessful pinch hitting appearances. “Holy shit!” I exclaim. “Ross Gload is still payed paid (ed. note: derp) to play baseball for my favorite team. How can this be?”

Just yesterday, after watching Gload go 0 for 4 in a rare start at first base in place of Ryan Howard, I realized that the answer to my question has been staring me in the face all along:

Just look at those eyes! How can one possibly DFA a man who is so clearly anguished by a past of abuse and rejection? His face would not be out of place in one of those Sarah McLachlan “save the animals” commercials. If he were smart, Gload would use his sad eyes for coercive purposes. I can only conclude that Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. has on numerous occasions attempted to cut Gload loose, only to face a crisis of conscience upon looking him in the eyes. Here’s how I imagine the conversation going:

Amaro: Hi, there Ross. Have a seat.

Gload: Hey Ruben, what’s up?

Amaro: You know we really appreciate what you’ve done for us over these last two seasons.

Gload: Of course. What is this about?

Amaro (looking down sheepishly): Listen, Ross, we, uh, I know we’ve been over this before, but I have a very specific vision for the future of this team, and unfortunately I don’t see you as a part of that future.

Gload: (Sad face)

Amaro: We’re going to have to designate you for…

He looks up briefly, accidentally making eye contact.

Oh God. Not again.

Gload: (Sad face)

Amaro: Stop that, please.

Gload: (Sad face)

Amaro: Ross, goddamnit, you can’t keep doing this.

Gload: (Sad face)

Amaro: I’m serious this time, we have to let you go.

Gload: (Sad face)

A staring contest ensues.

Amaro (averting his eyes): Alright, alright, alright! You win. Just get the hell out of here.

Gload (standing): Always good to touch base with you, boss. Take care.

Gload exits, closing the door behind him. Amaro hurls his Blackberry at the closed door.