Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Winter Notes

“A more mature Myers meets Philly media” the headline and subject beam on the front page of the Phillies web site. That’s quite a quick recovery by most standards. Myers’ sort of rage is not the type so easily contained in a relatively short amount of time, but let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and hope he was more than humbled by the events of last summer when he assaulted his wife on a Boston street. Clearly the Phillies PR department thinks he has recovered.

His self image has certainly taken a visible turn for the better. A leaner Myers has shed a reported 30 lbs. in anticipation of Spring Training. In the past, his conditioning betrayed him as the season wore on. Now, having just signed a $26 million three year deal, Myers is expected to anchor one of the best starting rotations in the National League. Exonerated in Boston, forgiven in Philadelphia, and rewarded by the only team he has ever known, Myers has much to look forward to.

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A few pundits caution that the Florida Marlins might suffer a collective sophomore slump this coming season, to which I would reply, “Utley and Howard”. Just don’t count those kids out, especially the position players. Before anyone jumps down my throat, I am not suggesting the Marlins have any players of the same caliber as the two Phillies All-Stars, but only one year ago some were cautioning that Utley and Howard still had something to prove in their second years as fulltime starters.

On the other hand, young pitchers, always delicate it seems in this era, are another matter altogether. Already there are reports that Anibal Sanchez and Josh Johnson have had some arm problems. One report mentioned that Johnson might not even start the season with the big club and Sanchez just underwent an MRI on his shoulder. Still, the Marlins can throw a fairly potent every day lineup at you and can be expected to be very competitive.

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The defending World Champs hardly improved themselves during the off-season. They lost Jeff Weaver and Jeff Suppan among others, re-signed an ailing Mark Mulder and aging Jim Edmonds and have the Scott Rolen-Tony LaRussa sideshow to contend with. I suspect winning a World Series will not substantially brighten Rolen’s outlook that much and LaRussa has never been one to yield on questions of control.

Of course the Cardinals also have Albert Pujols, the one-man wrecking crew ,Chris Carpenter, one of the most reliable starters in the league the last few years, and sparkplug David Eckstein, but they won’t be enough.


RickSchuBlues said...

...yet who is going to conquer the Cardinals out of the rest of the flunkies in the NL Central? It remains to be seen.

Regarding the Marlins, evidently now they're planning on staying put and optimistic aboyt a retractable-domed stadium in Miami. Will that finally get the locals out to support them? Two world championships weren't enough...

Photos on SAAM? Is this a first? And is Brett Myers, looking very much like Bert from Sesame Street, ironically the first one to get his mug on this site? I'm really stoked to see Myers is no longer an asshole. Now, if he can just rub some of that instant-good guy formula on Karim Garcia, we might have an entirely likable team here.

Tom Goodman said...

RSB: Actually, Myers' picture is not the first though I hesitated to put it up there given my well-documented and ongoing opinion of his character. The first picture I ever posted was a rousing welcome at home plate following a walk-off home run by Chase Utley.

I agree the NL Central is a mess, but I cannot see the Cardinals getting much beyond that first hurdle...if that.

PhilsPhan said...

I truly thank you for your insight in stating that Myers' recovery is a bit fast. Until I found your blog, I have not found even one reporter who questioned this.

As a diehard Phillies phan, I truly hope it is for real, but you are right in questioning whether a personality change can occur THAT fast. What troubles me about this, is the fact that he is still calling the incident a "mistake". Hitting his wife "in public" can be called a mistake, but the act of hitting someone is NOT a mistake. I just hope they will be continuing their counseling so his change can become "real," and I hope Kim educates herself a bit more on the stages of domestic violence so she will be able to see old patterns emerging--before it reaches the "crisis" stage.

Oisín/Wizlah said...

I agree that the media's love in with New Brett is a bit hard to take. But I do think you have to credit Myers with doing the work necessary to get his head right.

Word was that about the only thing the phils did right was to ensure myers and his wife got along to couples counselling sharpish. He certainly sounds like a guy who has come to recognise where the pressure points were arising in his marriage and that resorting to violence isn't good enough. If that's the case and he's got out of the habit of blaming others and then getting in a temper, we may see the benefit onfield.