Of course Doug Glanville, a Penn grad, can write.
He does it quite well, actually.
Earlier today, Glanville penned a lengthy piece for ESPN.com in which he talked about the (life and!) career of Pat Burrell, whom he played alongside of for a few seasons. Glanville provided some anecdotal bits of tid on teammates’ feelings toward Bat, Bat’s work ethic and, of course, his extracurricular activities.
On Pat coming up as a rookie:
I remember watching Burrell's first batting practice and hearing the whispers around the field. His swing: "He hits with a lot of top spin." His image: "He kind of reminds me of any good-hitting first baseman with no glove." He was already eroding locker room goodwill, just for taking BP. All eyes were on him.
Then the real game began and he became more than the first-round draft pick on a joy ride; he became a teammate, my left fielder. He came off a spring training, where he truly looked like he was on his way. Dominating the game, hitting to all fields, hitting for power and average. It was the first moment when we all finally said, "OK, I see why they thought this guy was good."
On Pat's incredible work ethic, which, I think, is one of the reasons he was so well-liked here– he partied, yeah, but it was obvious that he wanted to win, badly:
I played with faster outfielders than Pat, but few worked as well with me. He always paid attention to where I had to position him for the hitter, always knew the situation, and if he had something to add, he respectfully suggested something else. Hustle was never an issue. If he didn't get to a ball, it was simply because he couldn't.
Even when the money rolled in, he was still working out there. The Phillies offered him a contract right after the first breakout year. All the armchair GMs (composed of both players and fans) came alive talking about how the organization couldn't wait to throw money at him. They decided he hadn't done it for long enough. Even if that was true, that wasn't his fault. He kept working on that ball down the left-field line.
And on Pat The Bat:
He also had to endure the jealousy and voyeurism around his social life, often more of a topic than his game. Certainly, he loved to get after the nightlife and seemed to be in a vicious circle between self and being in character (I called him "Ray Liotta" on a few occasions). Just as most players with his kind of access. But his name was daily tabloid fodder and everyone knew the fame level of his date before they did his batting average. Nothing was more interesting than when his Hollywood ex-girlfriend sang the national anthem when we were playing the Dodgers. He took a lot of heat about that one. From me, in particular.
Who. Is. Dat. Woman?
UPDATE: via smfiv in the comments, the celebrity was Rosa Blasi.