Hitting coach and former Phillies player, Milt Thompson, was fired last night. In the wake of an extended hitting slump, the Phillies management probably felt that someone needed to take the fall. And that person is Milt Thompson.
In an interview on Comcast Sportsnet, Thompson said he was not mad about and understood they wanted to make a change. Thompson has been the hitting coach since 2005 when Greg Gross was fired. Oddly enough, the person taking Thompson’s place now is Greg Gross.
Thompson told the press, “I’m the hitting coach and when the team doesn’t perform, it lands on me. I’m not going to make excuses.” He went on to say, “They want a new voice, so I have to respect that. I have nothing but good things to say about the Phillies. I have been a part of the organization for a very long time, and I had some good times.”
Thompson played in the outfield for the Phillies from 1986-1988 and again in 1993 and 1994. He was part of the 1993 Championship team that went to the World Series that year but did not get a World Series win until 2008 as the hitting coach.
On a personal note, I like Milt very much and he is a lot of fun to be around. He helped me with my batting on three different occasions as part of the Baseball 101 program for women and I always felt like he treated the ladies just as he would the big league hitters. And he always took the time at games to say hello when he saw me. Milt is a great guy and I will miss him.
As for the players, I can only imagine what they might be thinking right now. They basically got him fired. In my opinion, these guys would not be in the majors unless they know how to hit. The hitting coach is an important part, but should he really take the fall for guys who are just not doing their jobs?
That is not up to me of course, but maybe this change will light a fire under them. Because once a team starts cleaning house, no one’s job is safe. You have to think if the slide continues, that is possible the other coaches and even the manager may be next. If the players stop to think about that, maybe that will be some motivation for them.
Best of luck to Milt in the future! And good luck to Gross as well; he will have his hands full with this bunch.