Burrell for comeback player of the year?

Pat Burrell is eager to put a disastruous 2003 season behind him and help the Phillies reach the playoffs.

Updated: February 24, 2004, 12:37 PM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
We all know that baseball players are paid a lot of money and we all know that with that money comes extra scrutiny and intense pressure. We can say that it's part of the price of doing business at their high level of operation. At some point, though, we have to start feeling sorry for a fellow who has to answer the same question over and over again -- especially when the answer to that question is not known. Not only is it not known, but the only real answer the player can give is, "If I knew the answer to that, don't you think I would have fixed it by now?"

That question is, of course, "What's gone wrong?"

Few players have heard that question more than Pat Burrell did in 2003, a year in which his batting average tumbled 73 points, taking a lot of his game down with it. Things got so bad for Burrell that he took matters into his own hands this spring and called a press conference to cap the oil well fire of negative questions. In an attempt to put the past in the past, he informed the gathered media that this would be their last opportunity to ask him about the disaster that was 2003.

Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at