As Brad Lidge’s ugly season marches on — if last year was “Lights Out,” this year is definitely “Come As You Are” — Phillies fans and writers can’t stop dreaming of alternatives. The Philadelphia Daily News‘ Paul Hagen, for example, nominates CSTB favorite Country Time.
That’d be Billy Wagner — the guy whose loss and blown save in two games against the Astros kept the Phillies from the wild card in 2005. And also the guy who helped the Phillies finish off a four-game sweep of New York back in August of 2007. Is it something about facing former teams? Guess not, since he was brutal in the ’06 NLCS as well.
Wagner also coughed up seven leads during 2008 before requiring surgery; Lidge has now blown eight. It all seems a pointless topic really – should Wagner do well with the Mets these next two weeks, a wild card contending team will waiver-claim him, and/or the Mets will want a real return (at least from Philadelphia). And if he doesn’t, then it’s moot.
Besides, the Phillies already have a former closer poised to come off the DL and play September hero. Because it isn’t just Brad Lidge’s pitching that is lacking — it’s also his personality. I mean, what’s the matter with this guy? He keeps coming out and talking to the press after every blown save or tough outing, including each of the last two nights. Not once has he physically threatened a beat writer, or even blown one off, as reigning World Series MVP Keanu Reeves seems prone to do. They taught him well at Notre Dame I guess.
Whereas Brett Myers, of course, is one of those public figures of whom you you can actually ask, “when did you stop – ok, “allegedly” stop – beating your wife?” and it’s not a “gotcha” question.
Which is why the news he’d miss a scheduled rehab start on Saturday was kind of a big story. It was first reported that he’d injured his left eye while playing catch with his four year-old son Kolt. Scott Boras tried to sign Kolt then and there, but soon the story changed – turns out Myers actually tripped out of the backseat of his wife’s Escalade while they were out for dinner.
More from MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki:
The Phillies said early Saturday that Myers suffered an eye injury while playing catch with his son, Kolt. But the Phillies later said Myers changed his story.
“I know exactly what people are going to think,” Myers said in a telephone interview Saturday evening with MLB.com.
In other words, they will think Myers was intoxicated….
And that’s why he said he initially told Brian Cammarota, who is the team’s Minor League athletics trainers and rehabilitation coordinator, that he got hit in the eye with a baseball. But Myers said soon after the first call to Cammarota, Kim urged him to call Cammarota back with the true story.
“I’m an idiot,” Myers said. “I’ve never felt so frickin’ embarrassed in my life.
First statement, agreed. Second statement, really? This was worse than the arrest?
Because I know my first thought wasn’t, “oh, Brett must have lied because he got a little drunk.” I also didn’t figure that he had a power-washing accident. No, when someone who was once arrested for domestic violence turns up with a shiner and is less than truthful about how he got it, your first thought’s probably gonna be… domestic violence. Especially when Myers’ wife, having refused to testify against him in 2006, said back then she started it (“I became upset with him and I pushed him away from me”).
The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Andy Martino did acknowledge all this history, and even called the local sheriff’s office to make sure there hadn’t been an incident report (they did not return his call). His colleague Jim Salisbury also interviewed Kim Myers:
“No, I did not hit him with a frying pan,” Kim Myers (above) said, with a laugh, while teasing her husband for being a “klutz.”
Well, okay then. I’ll take the whole thing at face value for the sake of making several other points.
First, if you’re described on a 911 tape as “smacking a girl around…he’s a pretty big guy… and he’s hitting her hard,” but you can also hit a home run off C.C. Sabathia, hey, it’s all good, dude! Granted, Myers received legal vindication, while Michael Vick did not, but now that he’s served his time, methinks the Eagles new QB is one long “Wildcat” TD run away from feeling more accepted in his new hometown.
Second, I guess we are supposed to view Brett Myers as a guy with focus problems, anger issues and a boys-will-be-boys penchant to throw back a few too many until Boston gave him the big wake-up call. That probably pisses off domestic violence advocates, but let’s just stick to baseball here. THAT’s the guy who’s gonna stabilize the Phillies bullpen? I know closers can be crazy, and Myers was a decent – if not perfect – closer in 2007, but I’m not sure I feel any better about him facing Manny or Albert Pujols in a playoff game than I do Lidge. Whether he’s getting arrested, threatening a writer, being sent down to the minors or enjoying a night out in Jacksonville, volatility and drama follow #39 around.