"I get to be here every day," Gload said. "I called myself the 25th man on the roster the first four or five years of my career, and to this day I still could be called that. No one is going to go, 'Wow, he's a great player,' but this could be my eighth opening day after playing six full years in the minor leagues."
The man in the Phillies clubhouse who may best relate to Gload is hitting instructor Greg Gross. Like Gload, Gross spent the majority of his 17-year career awaiting that one chance to hit every night, knowing it might not come.
Gross finished his career with a .287 overall batting average and a .240 average as a pinch-hitter. His 143 career pinch-hits rank fifth all-time.
"I actually realized late last year how amazing he was," Gload said. "I think he had 130 pinch-hits. I hope I'm not shortchanging him at all, but I know he's way ahead of me."
Gload, who will turn 35 in April, has a career .283 average overall and a .279 average as a pinch-hitter. Two years ago with Florida, he led the majors with 21 pinch-hits and 15 RBIs. In his first season with the Phillies, he hit .227 as a pinch-hitter, but .281 overall.
After replacing Milt Thompson as the hitting instructor in the middle of last season, Gross said he admired the way Gload conducted his business.
"I'd be hard-pressed to find someone among the teams that I saw who did the job as a lefthanded hitter off the bench as well as he did," Gross said.
Two things, in particular, impressed Gross. One was the way Gload filled in at first base during August when an ankle injury sent Ryan Howard to the disabled list. The other was the way Gload reacted to a hitless, four-at-bat stretch in late September.
"He's pretty intense, but he has a good way of going about his business," Gross said. "I can remember late in the season, he pinch-hit four straight days and he hit the ball right on the screws four times for four outs. What was impressive was he let it out right then, but the next day there he was going through the same routine."
Knowing all too well what it's like to go 0 for 1 and be done, Gross said nothing to his most productive lefthanded hitter off the bench.
"That's what makes the job so tough," Gross said. "You do everything right and you have nothing to show for it. You can't say, 'Hey, that was a good at-bat.' You can say that to a guy who gets 500 at-bats, but those kinds of guys don't want to hear, 'Hey, good swing.' Not when you're getting four at-bats a week."
Gload knew exactly what Gross meant.
"It's a very tough job," Gload said. "You have to have thick skin. You can go 0 for 4 in a week, and that's all you're going to get to play. But I've enjoyed it. I like it. I like the challenge. I always say when you're pinch-hitting, it's a really good day or a really bad day. There is no in between.
"You get this big adrenaline rush, you get a fastball down the middle of the plate and you're a little late and you pop it up, and usually it's a big situation in the game, and that's it."
As much as they can identify with each other, Gross said he never offered Gload any advice about being a pinch-hitter last season. Both men believe you have to adopt your own routine.
They also agree that playing for a contending team makes being a pinch-hitter more bearable. Gross got to be a hero in the Phillies 1980 National League Championship Series when he went 3 for 4 in that unforgettable five-game series with the Houston Astros and laid down a bunt base hit that many believe triggered a five-run rally in Game 5.
Gload, meanwhile, said last season was the most fun of his life.
"That probably was my best year from a team standpoint," he said. "We led the big leagues in wins and we played as a team and battled through stuff. We had so many injuries, and every guy up here contributed. Obviously, we didn't like the way it ended, but it was probably one of the most exciting years of my career."
Contact staff writer Bob Brookover at 215-854-2577 or email@example.com.