By Don Bell

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There’s a ton of excitement and lofty expectations for the Phillies this season. No one knows that more than slugger Rhys Hoskins.

Sports director Don Bell went one-on-one with the first baseman about what it means to play here in Philadelphia.

Back in 2017, the Phillies finished with the third-worst record in baseball. But in August of that season, the team was given hope for the future.

Hoskins was that hope, and the 26-year-old still is.

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Rookie is a fun-loving puppy with 10,000 followers on Instagram. He’s famous, but slightly less known than his dad.

“This is a a big city,” Hoskins said. “It’s one of the top-five major markets in all of the United States, but it doesn’t feel like it. It feels more like a town, and I think that has a lot to do with the people.”

It’s been more than 600 days since Hoskins made his MLB debut and it appears he’s already comfortable as a franchise cornerstone.

He’s one of the big reasons why the team decided to spend “stupid money” in pursuit of their first playoff appearance since 2011.

“I said something in spring training, that there’s a picture in one of the halls of the dogpile in ’08 [when the Phillies won the World Series] and you can see the whole stadium and I told everybody that I was tired of hearing about what that was like and I was ready to feel it,” Hoskins said.

Expectations are now sky-high, which means when you lose, you may hear some of those famous Philadelphia boos, something that doesn’t seem to bother him.

“Something about being in this town, you understand the passion that these fans have. I don’t think they boo because they think that we stink, I think that they boo because they think that we can be better,” Hoskins said.

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And right now, you could argue that no Phillie is doing better than Hoskins. There was the grand slam on Opening Day and the big pay back in the Big Apple, when he crushed a homer off head-hunting Jacob Rhame of the Mets and then took the longest trot in MLB since 2015.

“What are the chances I would get to face the same guy again the next night and have an opportunity to do something like that? I would be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about it the night before. I guess I thought the trot was appropriate for the situation.”

Hoskins was saucy on that day, but mostly, he’s a calm guy that enjoys time with his fiancé and Rookie in his new adopted home.

“I love this city, it’s only been a couple years, but being able to walk around the city and find different places to eat, find little coffee shops, interact with some of the people, to go to some of the other sports team and watch some of those guys do their thing and see the way that they affect the city’s heartbeat, I’ve never really been around something like that. Hopefully, I get to build something long-term here,” Hoskins said.