When the Houston Astros traded Hunter Pence to the Philadelphia Phillies last summer, the quirky right fielder received the baseball version of early parole, based on good behavior. Suddenly, the choke up hitting, sidearm throwing All-Star made his way from the outhouse to the penthouse of the National League. Pence was immediately rewarded with a trip to the postseason, which would culminate in a five-game series loss to the underdog, but eventual world champion St. Louis Cardinals.
In 2012, Pence has put together a solid season. Despite his best efforts, the Phillies (due in large measure to a slew of injuries) find themselves at the bottom of the NL East. The team’s record still stands far better than that of the Astros, but there is no way Pence would have ever envisioned playing on a Philadelphia team that resides at the very lowest rung of their division.
Pence’s name has even been linked to a bevy of trade deadline rumors, as a result of his team’s unlikely predicament.
What a difference a year makes.
Last week at least, Pence still found himself in good spirits, as he stopped to sign autographs for fans at Dodger Stadium, prior to the Phillies rubber game with LA. This scene is visible per the above iFolloSports.com original video.
Pence has done everything the front office and fans of Philadelphia have asked of him. For this reason, the Texas native may find himself back in the midst of a pennant race in the very near future. Maybe this is why his level of on the field frustration appears to have not impacted his relationship with the paying customers of his sport.