Every time the Ben Revere of the Philadelphia Phillies walks up to the plate at Citizens Bank Park, the song on the Public Address System is Jay Z’s and Kanye West’s “Who Gon Stop Me?”
The answer these days, with apologies for Jay Z’s and Kanye West’s grammar, is nearly no one.
Since a slow start in April, Revere has been one of baseball’s best hitters. A notoriously slow starter, Revere is now hitting a team-leading .300 and that’s in stark contrast to how he started the season. In 22 games from April 1 through April 24, Revere was 18-for-87 (.207). Last month on this date, Revere was hitting .243.
The starting center fielder has had multi-hit games in 20 of his last 53 starts. He’s had four three-hit games in his last 11 starts. Revere had three hits in Monday night’s 3-2 win over the Washington Nationals and his speed at the top of the lineup has been a factor in the Phillies breaking out of their season-long offensive funk.
His speed and hustle down the line nearly turned a routine ground ball into a fourth hit before being called out (the replay showed he was safe). After he scored the first run of the game, he landed a perfect backflip.
Defensively, although having a weak arm, Revere has been effective at running down balls in the gap and has made several spectacular diving catches this season.
In many ways, he’s gone from a fan target to a fan favorite. His game reminds the grandfathers in the stands of another Phillies center fielder from a bygone era, Richie Ashburn: great speed, subpar arm, singles hitter, good base-stealer.
More importantly, at least to Philadelphia fans, is the fact that he hustles. His uniform is always dirty. He runs out balls to first base every time, unlike shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who jogged to first base on a ground ball to deep shortstop Monday night and was thrown out at first. “I’ve got to wonder why Jimmy Rollins was thrown out by three feet on that play,” radio broadcaster Larry Andersen said.
Andersen was being diplomatic. He knew. So did Philadelphia fans, who booed the maddening lack of effort. Ashburn was, and now Revere is, a different kind of player. The late, great announcer Harry Kalas might call him, “a wacky, wonderful, throwback.”
Now a whole new generation of Phillies fans are finding out what their grandfathers meant when they talked about Ashburn. For now at least, they are seeing it every day in Ben Revere.