Monday, May 28, 2007

Smoltz tells it like it is... what's wrong with that?

Finally someone has put Brett Myers move into perspective. It might not be popular but it still makes a statement. Smoltz wasn't being anything but honest when he told the media that he never remembers that an Opening Day pitcher gets moved to the bullpen within a month of the opening day game.

On a day to day basis, we Phillies fans can get a jaded view of what's really going on with our ball club. The Phils had more starters than they needed going into Opening Day that is a fact. The team originally penciled Jon Lieber into a relief roll early into the season. He didn't care for it, and made it known that he was a starter. When the Phillies ran into many bullpen problems through April including poor pitching, injuries and the like, they then made the decision to take Lieber out of the pen and put Myers into a roll of setup man in quick fashion. Myers seems to be ok with that, he isn't moaning and complaining about it publicly yet.

Your Opening Day pitcher is supposed to be your marquee name. Your 'go to' guy on the mound. The Opening Day pitcher that is hopefully going to lead the club to the world series. That is the context in which I think John Smoltz meant. You don't just shove your number 1 guy into to bullpen, it just isn't done in the MLB. It's like an insult in a lot of ways. I am glad Myers didn't have that big of a problem with it, because he has been real good in the bullpen but I don't expect him to stay there and I hope the Phillies don't either. Some of the moves the Phillies make have you scratching your head sometimes... They let Randy Wolf walk away, he's making around $7.5 million pitching for the Dodgers this year and he is 6-3 and we bring in Freddie Garcia who never wore the Philly pinstripes and throw $10 million at him and he's been a bust.

So on this Memorial Day I say, let's honor our country and the soldiers who protect it. Let free speech shine, even some comments by John Smoltz! Let's get ready for Phillies baseball tonight because it's dollar dog day and I can't wait for that home plate umpire to shout, "Play Ball!"

Rich Baxter

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