Philadelphia Phillies' Trea Turner watches after hitting a two-run home run against Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Jose Ruiz during the ninth inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, May 24, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

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Most Phillies fans are well aware of the struggles Trea Turner has dealt with over his first two months in Philadelphia. But he’s back — at least, there are signs of life.

When you sign an 11-year, $300 million contract and experts around the league put you on their shortlist for National League Most Valuable Player, it’s shocking when that player performs as poorly as Turner has.

In nine seasons in the majors, the star shortstop has never had a rougher start. In 217 plate appearances, Turner’s batting average is a career-worst .250. His slugging percentage is under .400. Previously, he’d never struck out more than 20% of the time. So far this season, he’s whiffing in 26.7% of his plate appearances. 

Wednesday’s game against the Diamondbacks appeared to be headed in a similar direction. After hitting the ball hard in his first three at-bats, with nothing but three outs to show for it, he suffered what may have been his worst plate appearance of the season.

Boos rained down from the sellout crowd as Turner trudged back to the dugout. But the beauty of baseball is it offers ample opportunities for redemption.

Enter the bottom of the 9th. Bryson Stott singles with two outs to bring Turner to the plate, representing the tying run in a 5-3 game. Still waiting for his first truly impactful moment in a Phillies uniform, Turner came through.

After the game, Turner was asked how he felt about being booed.

“They don’t bother me,” he told reporters. “My mom prepared me for anything in this game — in this world. She was tough on me from an early age. She told me today, she was booing me.”

The Phils won it in 10 innings on an Alec Bohm RBI single, but it was Turner’s moment that truly ignited the fanbase and allowed the Phils to board a plane to Atlanta for a huge four-game series against the division-leading Braves with a little bit of confidence and momentum.

Had Turner not come through, the Phils would have been swept away by a good Arizona team, a deflating series of losses that would have made for a painful trip down South. And, his own mother would likely still be booing him.

How can you not be romantic about baseball?

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