August 24, 2004

Myers: Closer would be ‘a lot more fun’

Phillies pitcher Brett Myers indicated he'd be all smiles if he was moved to closer. Larry Bowa intends to continue developing him as a starter.

In an article included in the e-newsletter (we all receive this and trash it), Brett Myers said being a closer “would be a lot more fun” for him.

Bowa’s reaction: “He’s a starter. We have to give him an opportunity. We may give that some thought eventually, but not now. You don’t want to make that decision at 24.”

Our take: Madson and Myers should swap roles in 2005
BPF believes Myers’ age isn’t a good enough excuse anymore, and he’s has had enough “opportunity.”

Myers has been in the starting rotation since mid-2002, giving him ample time to get comfortable, and it sounds like he’d be just that, "comfortable," coming out of the pen.

From everything we’ve heard or read about the 24-year-old, he’s like a bull a China shop and loses focus easily, as evident with every aspect of his game, even in the way he seems to change batting stances game to game.

Madson, on the other hand, was a cool cucumber this season, keeping it together in tough spots and earning the BPF coveted midseason MVP award.

Bowa’s reaction is typical Bowa
A good manager can recognize how a player can be used best, and forget what he was intended to do back on draft day.

Ron Gardenhire, manager of the AL Central-leading Twins, is a good example of a manager who pencils in his lineup card with only winning in mind. Two unlikely players who've thrived under Gardenhire include Lew Ford, a career minor leaguer, who's doing a tremendous job batting cleanup, and Johan Santana - who worked from the pen just one season ago - has emerged as staff ace and is frontrunner for the AL Cy Young.

It’s not like moving a guy to the pen is punishment, but that's the way Bowa sees it. “He’s a starter” is a perfect example of his black or white philosophy.

August 23, 2004

Backyard Baseball: Sanches solid in relief for R-Phils

RHP Brian Sanches has shut the door more than any Reading reliever this season.

At 26, Sanches, who was traded from the San Diego Padres in March, spent three years in the Double-A Texas League with the Kansas City Royals organization.

He's the subject of Tony Zonca's latest Phillies Pheature on the Reading Phillies Web site. Quoting from manager Greg Legg, he says the key to Sanches' success is a revamped fastball:

"Anytime Brian came in early in the year he went right to his curveball," Legg said. "I complained about it to Rod (Nichols, pitching coach). Rod made a good point: He said a lot of relievers are taught from an organization standpoint to come in the game and the first pitch is a breaking ball, strike one. Rod talked to him, and after that he's come in and thrown more fastballs. I think his fastball has got better because he's locating it better. He's having impeccable control with it, in and out, and they've worked down in the pen to get him more velocity."

In 68 innings, Sanches is 4-2 with a 2.62 ERA, 60 SO and 24 BB.

Manager Greg Legg feels confident Brian Sanches, whose childhood idle was fellow Texan Roger Clemens, is ready for the next step.

Personal essay: Marriage ruined my blog

On the morning of Saturday, August 7, in the final hours of bachelorhood, I sat at my parents’ kitchen table and talked about the moves at the trade deadline. Rodriguez was working out well in his first few appearances, I reflected over a cup of juice, but it would be nice if the Phils could score runs.

I knew I was locked on baseball as a way to repress the anxiety. Then 1:30 came and it was time to get dressed. Then 2:30, and I was standing in front of the church with 150 friends and family, focused on to the woman coming down the isle. It was one of those moments you never forget, and I swear to you, I didn’t think of the Phils more than two or three times during the whole service.

The day is already a blur, but the hazy details are magical: Her dress; her hair; the scallop and bacon hors d’oeuvres.

As soon as the music stopped, and folks started clearing out, we were shuttled away to hotel near the airport before a 5:00 flight to San Francisco, and then, Hawaii, where we’d spend then next eight nights in warm embrace.

Between snorkeling, lu’aus and helicopter tours, I lost track of the Phillies, which is hard to believe because who can forget a guy like David Bell.

Part of the problem was that games would be over by 3 in the afternoon Hawaii time, which I never got used to, and I couldn’t remember whether the scores I saw on TV were the results from last night or that day. It gave me a headache just thinking about the Phillies anyway, their poor pitching, bad bats and inept GM. I thought of this as I mechanically glanced over the boxscores in the Maui Times News while eating pancakes and pineapple at breakfast buffet.

"Wow. The Phils were now 6.5 back. Pass the poi."

And so it went for the rest of the trip. By the end, I had forgotten the names of the new Phillies acquisitions. When I checked the paper on my first day back, they were 7 or 8 games out of first, and had lost 5 straight at home.

But in terms of Berks Phillies Fans, the blog I started with big plans in mind, I was slapped with a brutal reminder the first time I logged on as a married man. My last post was on Gavin Floyd being called up to Scranton, my hit counter seemed stuck in the same position, and I knew, right then and there, that marriage had ruined my blog.