The Houston Astros, otherwise known as the Phillies-B team, are in town. The former Phils include Brett Myers, JA Happ, Michael Bourn, Nelson Figueroa, Jason Michael, Ed Wade (former GM) and Brad Mills (former Bench Coach, now Astros manager).
Myers started the game for the Astros with a huge chip on his shoulder since the Phillies dismissed him after last season. Not resigning Myers turned out to be a mistake as he has found his groove and is pitching very well for the Astros. Myers had an 8-7 record with a 3.11 ERA coming into tonight’s game.
The Phillies tried to chip away at Myers who, in the 2nd, struck out Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Raul Ibanez all in a row. Plowing through the meat of the line-up, he finally allowed a solo homer to Carlos Ruiz in the 3rd and another run on a Chase Utley single.
On the other side, Joe Blanton was having a good game as well. Although Blanton is still having issues getting through the 1st inning of nearly every ballgame he pitches in. Tonight, he escaped with only 1 run allowed in the 1st thanks to some timely defense which bailed him out of big trouble. Utley threw a runner out at home and Werth caught a tough fly ball that was sailing away from him.
But after the rocky 1st, Blanton was solid. He ended up going 7 innings, another rarity for his this year. In 21 games this year, Blanton has gone 7 innings or more only 8 times, including tonight. 6 hits, 1 run and 9 strike-outs later, Blanton left with a 2-1 lead.
But that lead was put in jeopardy when Ryan Madson came in for the 8th and drama ensued. Michaels singled and then Bourn bunted for what looked like an out. Howard tagged him and Bourn seemed to have run out of the baseline but the umpire ruled that Howard missed the tag and Bourn did not go out of the base line until after the tag attempt. Both Utley and manager Charlie Manuel argued the call heatedly, but to no avail. Manuel was tossed from the game.
And that play did wind up costing the Phillies the lead. Madson struck out Hunter Pence but then allowed a 2-run single to Carlos Lee to give the Astros a 3-2 lead. The Phillies then had to play from behind going into the bottom of the 8th.
With the lead gone, Werth was probably having very bad flashbacks to the 6th inning when he fell asleep at 2nd base. Myers was intentionally walking Ruiz to get to Wilson Valdez, who had a huge hit the last time a pitcher did that. But Valdez did not get a shot as Werth hung his head and was quickly thrown out wandering like a zombie off 2nd base. It was a huge opportunity lost.
Fast forward to the 9th and Brad Lidge kept the score steady; the Phils had one last chance to make something happen. Well, nothing happened, except the Phillies lost the game. No scoring in the 9th and the 3-2 score held up.
I will be going to Game 2 of this series tomorrow night to collect the Carlos Ruiz bobblehead doll which will be given away. My seat location sucks, but I hope to get a few photos to post on Wednesday. Game time is 7:05pm and Cole Hamels will pitch for the Phillies.
Photos by Jenn Zambri Photography
I was pondering this question a lot during the season and now that things have slowed down a bit, I came up with the answer: The Team Mom. Seriously. Part psychological counselor, part emotional cheerleader – it’s what every team needs and does not have. Ok, so we don’t have to call this position “Team Mom” but how about “Spiritual Counselor” or “Spirit Coach.” I think I like the last one best; mentally, it makes this person part of the “team.” Think I am a crazy, hormonal female yet? Read on…
It is a scientific fact that women are better communicator’s than men, among the many differences arising from our brain structure. Men are better at mechanical issues. In short, we handle emotional situations very differently. To quote evolutionary psychologist, Satoshi Kanazawa, “Women’s greater empathizing and mentalistic skills are the primary reasons why they are better at languages and why they are better judges of character. Women also dominate primatology, which, like mothering of infants, requires understanding and reading the minds of individuals with whom they cannot communicate by language.” So what does baseball need? Women!
After watching all the emotional outbursts and fighting we see on the field, why doesn’t each team have a “Spirit Coach”? Or some sort of counselor to calm these guys when the testosterone goes haywire? A women would be best suited as men usually take emotional advice better from females and they respond to the softer approach in those situations. And no PhD required…in fact, I think that would be intimidating to many. So, it should be just a smart person who knows baseball really well and has experience handling children. No, I am not saying that baseball players are children. But if you can handle kids, you are likely a patient and kind individual who can react in seconds if needed. These are very useful skills to have when a guy starts screaming and throwing things in the dugout.
It would be a real asset to have someone around that guys can air their emotional baggage to, without feeling their manhood is in question. Most men will not talk about the “sensitive” issues with other men, even a coach or a friend, for fear of looking weak or other repercussions. But send a mother figure to empathize with them and they turn to mush. It is also a scientific fact that talking out your problems not only helps with the issue, but reduces stress and enhances job performance. Think of it as a legal “Performance Enhancing Drug.” :O) How many more hits would a player get if he was relaxed and happy all the time? Instead of worrying about how you will perform, you can have the confidence to know you will do well. This all comes with inner peace, which cannot be achieved in a stressful environment with no healthy way to vent your emotions.
I vent my emotions through writing and many of you have been the recipients here of self-induced therapy :O) Writing is a healthy expression; punching a guy in the face or breaking your bat in half is not.
MLB should care for every player’s emotional well-being in addition to their physical well-being. Last year, the Rockies Troy Tulowitzki lost playing time after he slammed his bat and shards of wood cut his palm open. Shawn Chacon of the Astros had an extreme emotional outburst and actually attacked GM Ed Wade, choking him (although, we have all had this particular thought once or twice :O). He was suspended for the rest of the season. Player Carl Everett has been ejected, suspended, restrained and even banned from Winter Ball due to his many outbursts throughout the years. Do you think these guys could have benefited from a little emotional coaching?
If nothing else, this is protection on your investment. Teams pay players millions of dollars. Why risk a guy cutting his own hand by breaking a bat who then won’t be playing, but you will still be paying him, when you can take steps to prevent this? Hellooo?
Actually, this has just been a long, drawn out job application for me :O) Really, I am perfect for this position. Tell me all your problems…everyone else does. :O) Hey Phillies, just think “Brett Myers.” I am the solution. Call me. Hee! ;o)