This is The Dip, a weekly column penned by our own commenter, The Dipsy. Agree or disagree with what he says? Tell us by leaving your comments.
When Brett Myers is activated today, Phillies fans will have a month to watch one of the most vexing personalities in recent team history. It seems like yesterday Myers was a 21-year old kid that perplexed the Chicago Cubs on a sunny day at Wrigley Field. His stuff was electric in his debut – his fastball was fast, and his curve dropped off the table. I was convinced that the Phils had an ace for years to come. But a funny thing happened on the way to greatness.
What exactly that “funny thing” was, is still unclear. Through his first five years, Brett was just an “OK” pitcher. Sure, he always sported the nice fastball and that great curve (the 12-6 curve that, when thrown properly, was one of the best pitches in baseball). But for some reason Brett stopped evolving. At first he was viewed as a prodigy. Then an enigma. And lastly, after seasons of seeing one hanging curve or misplaced fastball too many, Phils fans seemed to accept Brett as the guy that would never put it all together; but hey, he wasn’t that bad either. In short, he was a great talent and an average pitcher.
And the personal issues: hitting his wife, calling a reporter a “retard,” and just generally acting like a child. Look, we all knew Brett was rough around the edges, but if he was going to act so boorishly we at least wanted him to pitch better. Brett was on his way to becoming an underperforming jerk.
Then 2007 came along and Billy Wagner went down for the season. Brett, with his new three-year contract in hand, volunteered to fill the bullpen spot. He sacrificed and then he thrived. And maybe Brett wasn’t so bad after all. The next season however, was more of the tale of 2008A and 2008B. The disaster of A saw him demoted to Reading and the attendant embarrassment. When he returned he was the best pitcher in the NL (season 2008B). Phils fans were impressed to say the least. Perhaps finally the light had been switched on. His at-bat in last year’s playoff game against C.C. Sabathia – where each ball he fouled off was followed by a roar from the capacity crowd – was a great postseason moment. In the wake of the World Series victory, I think it would be fair to say that we were all starting to like Brett.
Injured at the start of this season, Brett has returned ahead of schedule from hip surgery. Some will say he’s coming back to pitch for a contract. I like to think it’s because he wants to help his teammates win. And I’m a cynic! Looking ahead, maybe Brett will tap into that wellspring of talent and become that great pitcher we’ve seen glimpses of. And maybe it won’t be here. In any event, here’s to a great potentially last month as a Phillie. If he helps us win another World Series, he can fall out of an SUV everyday for the rest of his life if it makes him happy.