PHILADELPHIA -- It was exactly one year ago today that fans across the greater Philadelphia area were debating: Does Alec Bohm actually hate this place?
Bohm had been caught muttering those words on national television in a moment of frustration the night before. He owned up to it after the game, offered an apology -- and even said he loved this place.
Fast forward one year, and Bohm received one of the loudest ovations of any player during Opening Day introductions last Friday. The same was true when he was called out to receive his ring on Sunday.
Much like the fan reaction that prompted Bohm's ire a year ago, it certainly didn't go unnoticed.
"Even with how I handled it afterwards, they still could have hated me for it. Who could have blamed them?" Bohm said. "So, I really appreciate them kind of accepting me the way they have. It's incredible."
But that mutual admiration wasn't happenstance.
Sure, Bohm did his part postgame that night to help mend bridges -- and he even received a standing ovation when he pinch-hit the following night.
"The fans, when he came back and pinch-hit the next night -- they gave him a very good ovation," manager Rob Thomson said. "I think that just kind of calmed him down."
Still, Bohm has made a concerted effort in the past 365 days to improve as a big league player -- both on the field and in the clubhouse. And, like the Philadelphia faithful, his teammates have taken notice.
"To have that happen early in the year, the little whatever it was -- he owned it. He did what you should do and people respect that," teammate Kyle Schwarber said. "But what sticks out to me, is [that] he really had a great year last year, but he came into this spring with goals on his mind to accomplish -- and he's been doing that so far. I can't say enough about him as a human being and a player. He's just a great kid."
Bohm has positioned himself well for a breakout year after spending the offseason working on his conditioning and his approach at the plate.
Entering Wednesday, he was slashing .341/.400/.610 (1.010 OPS) and leading the team in both homers (three) and RBIs (11). His hard-hit rate has also jumped to 56.3% -- up from 43.0% last year.
“He's always been super talented, but his maturity and his confidence are at a whole new level this year,” catcher J.T. Realmuto said. “Just the way he carries himself in the clubhouse, you can tell he never questions himself anymore. He knows he's one of the guys, and he knows he can step on the field and be the best player on any given night. It's been fun to watch."
It’s not as simple as maturing, though. For a player like Bohm, playing with that emotion and intensity is a big part of his game. Look no further than his bat flip Monday night after crushing a three-run homer in the Phillies’ 15-3 rout of the Marlins.
"What got me into the whole situation is, sometimes I didn't control those emotions very well,” Bohm said. “But I think [the fans] realize we all want the same thing, especially with how close we got last year, and they recognize players who play hard and want to win."
The fans also recognize Bohm’s transformation, one that recently prompted Thomson to say, “I've never seen a guy grow in one year as much as Alec did.”
The past year has also brought Bohm much closer with his teammates, particularly fellow infielder Bryson Stott.
"We've gotten so close, and it's really cool to play with some of your closer friends,” Stott said. “Even outside of baseball, we're really good friends. So just seeing what he's been able to do the past year has been really cool."
And Bohm’s current feelings on this place?
“He loves it, obviously,” Stott said.