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I happened to be logging on to Phillies Nation Tuesday when the word hit of Jamie’s comments to the press regarding his removal from the rotation. My first reaction saw my brow go white hot while my fingers went a blur across my keyboard so that I could register my outrage as quickly and unambiguously as possible. I, as well as others, were unhappy to say the least about Jamie’s comments. But as is almost always the case, sitting back and letting things cool off a bit, and trying to look at things objectively, is the best course.
Let’s start by recognizing there are really two Jamie Moyers. There is the local boy who made good. The man who has quietly gone about plying his craft while getting the most out of his God given abilities. An experienced voice in the clubhouse and mentor to young players. He is a humble man who has selflessly gives his time outside of baseball as caretaker of the Moyer Foundation along with his wife. It’s the worthiest of causes and people actually trample themselves to donate their time to help these children. I think Philly fans feel an emotional connection to who Jamie is and how he lives his life.
When you extract all of the above, which is easier for some than others, you get the other Jamie Moyer. This Jamie Moyer exists only in the here and now, and only between the lines of a baseball field. In 2008, Jamie had a stellar year. While many, including myself, felt that 2008 was not representative of the level of pitching we should expect in the coming years, Ruben signed him to a two year, 13 million dollar contract. Jamie’s style of pitching is unnerving, cumbersome, and often inconsistent. Add to the mix his stats and his age and you get a fan base that can be divided over his precise worth to the team.
I get the sense that because so many love one part of Jamie, it makes it more difficult for some of us to objectively quantify the other part, his performance on the field. Others are quite sure of what they see on the field and don’t really care about his “intangibles”. This creates conflict and division. That’s just the way it is.
2009 started terribly for Jamie, and Ruben reached out for Pedro Martinez. His presence, and the emergence of J.A. Happ, has left Jamie the odd man out of the rotation. While Jamie has had “pockets of effectiveness” the last two months, Ruben felt the need to keep Pedro coming, rightly or wrongly, and now he’s here. When Jamie got the news he was going to the pen he was understandably upset and apparently pretty raw. I don’t think anyone would fault him for giving voice to his disappointment. But what happened Tuesday was beyond the pale.
While sitting in the bleachers at Wrigley field before an assemblage of beat writers and others, he expressed his unhappiness. OK, that’s fine. But then he continued. In measured and soft spoken tones, Moyer went on to accuse Amaro of duping him into signing his contract by “assuring” him that he would always stay in the rotation. People can pick through the transcript to their heart’s content, but in the margins between his proclamations that he wished not be a distraction (which he now is), and that he would deal with the decision in a respectful way (which he didn’t), the message was clear: Ruben screwed me.
Ya see, Jamie popped off. He has now cast aspersions on Ruben’s integrity and has probably created a degree of alienation between himself and the front office, and without question, some fans. Count me among them. Don’t forget, this is not Ed Wade we’re talking about. Ruben Amaro has done a fantastic job as GM and most fans have his back on this one.
As I see it, in an off-season that included no mad rush to sign Jamie to a decent contract, Amaro gave him a lucrative one that included a guaranteed second year. I suspect that this was based in no small measure on his professionalism, character, as well as his past performance for the team. Tuesday, he set aside those very same qualities and talked smack about the GM that has been very good to him. Shame on him. Next on Jamie’s agenda should be to issue a half-hearted apology (or a sincere one if he can muster it) so we can all let bygones be bygones. After all, Jamie has earned the right to make a mistake.