Opinion

A Reunion Gone Wrong

I had an interesting experience yesterday afternoon. On the one hand, the rain largely held off, great day at the ballpark, found out a lot of the people I interact with on Twitter actually exist in real life, and, most importantly, I got to see an impressive comeback win on Opening Day.

But I have to say, I was disappointed, Nation, in the conduct of our fans. It wasn’t the two drunk men (and a woman!) who got into a fracas a few rows away in the 400 level. And it wasn’t that after seven or eight innings, the crowd began streaming for the exits–the game had been pretty dull to that point, it was cold and wet. It’s not what I would have done, but I understand the logic.

Mostly, it was that during a burgeoning comeback in the bottom of the 9th inning, with at-bats being drawn out and momentum gathering slowly, the very kind of comeback that feeds on the enthusiasm of the crowd. The Opening Day crowd, already thinned by despair and bad weather, seemed to think it was at a church service, not a baseball game. Cheers would start, then thin out in a matter of seconds, leaving Phillies hitters to bat in virtual silence, not the kind of earth-shattering roar that could rattle an opposing pitcher.

But that’s not the only thing that bothered me. I was truly shocked by Phillies fans’ treatment of this man:

Brett Myers was always one of my favorite Phillies. Was he hot-headed? Sure. Petulant? Absolutely. Irresponsible or worse, at times, off the field. But he played with great passion, great intensity, and great skill–from 2005 to 2008, Myers won 40 games, saved 21 more, and struck out 643 batters in 672 innings. In that gap between Curt Schilling‘s departure and Cole Hamels‘ ascent to dominance in 2007, Myers was the top pitcher in the Phillies’ rotation and a key member of the 2007 and 2008 playoff teams (to say nothing of his spectacular postseason performances in the 2008 title run) before injuries derailed his 2009 campaign.

So when Myers returned in a Houston Astros for yesterday’s season opener, I intended to cheer him in the manner one would greet an old friend who’s moved away. After all, Brett and I have been through a lot together–he started (and won) my first Phillies road game in Baltimore when I was 16. I was there to cheer him on when he returned, in 2006, from that unpleasantness in Boston. I mean, I wasn’t going to cheer Brett Myers as he mowed through six innings of Phillies hitters, but for his service, I feel like he deserves a round of applause every time he comes back, at least, before the game starts–this isn’t J.D. Drew we’re talking about.

So as I was ready to cheer Myers as the game started, I was shocked to hear a crowd that, three hours later, couldn’t be bothered to eke out so much as a whimper for a 9th inning comeback, booing longtime Phillie Brett Myers. Booing lustily, I’d say. I was furious.

What the hell is wrong with you guys? And what gets me is that J.A. Happ, who will pitch for Houston on Sunday, will get nothing but love when he makes his Sunday afternoon start despite pitching for in Philly for a fraction of the time Myers did and at only a fraction of the effectiveness.

I guess my point here is that if we’re going to gripe about being the consensus “Worst Fans in The World Ever,” (though I have a hard time taking people seriously when they blame me for things done by people who, 40 years ago, lived near where I live now), then let’s do something about it. The idiots on 610 fetishize the “Philly type of guy,” who plays with great effort and great intensity. Myers epitomized that kind of person, warts and all, for the better part of a decade. The least we can do is extend him a little courtesy.

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0 Comments

  1. betasigmadeltashag

    April 2, 2011 at 10:00 am

    I 100% agree MIchael when it comes to Myers, He did not want to leave Philly, or pout about more money or not starting certin games, he moved to the pen when they needed a closer and moved back into the rotation when they brought Lidge iin to close. He did not ask out of the red pin stripes the brass did not even offer him any contract when his was up. He pitched his heart out for this team, pitched them back into the playoffs in 2007 on the final day of the regular season. I did not get the boos, and told the friends I was at the game with yestarday.”How do you boo this guy,” He is not JD Drew who did not want to play here, or Rowland who bad mouthed the city on his way out and could not get out of this place soon enough. Should he have recieved a standing ovation, probably not but a poilite gesture of our appreciation for what that right arm did for us for many years

  2. Tdubs55

    April 2, 2011 at 10:06 am

    Maybe people were booing because of the time he beat his wife? I know after that incident, even though he was our pitcher I was praying for him to leave. Glad I got my wish in ’10.

    • Jason

      April 2, 2011 at 10:17 am

      Totally agree. That’s why I’d boo. What he did was cowardly and disgusting. He’s an awful person and I’m not going to be cheering for him.

      He doesn’t deserve our gratitude.

      • Chuck

        April 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm

        But I’m guessing that you cheered for Michael Vick when he almost single-handedly led the Eagles to another postseason berth…

    • Phillistein

      April 2, 2011 at 1:37 pm

      This is rather silly. I know people who know the Myers and supposedly she’s as whacked out as he is. Is this to condone what he did? Absolutely not. Anyone who punches his wife anywhere at anytime is a big time idiot. However, they seem to be two peas in a pod – and they’re still together.

      So, I agree with Mike. Myers deserved better. The guy battled, wore his Phillies heart on his sleeve. Went down to the minors when he was asked. Actually – he did everything he was asked.

      Was he my favorite Phillie?………………Nope

      IMHO, did he deserve to get booed……………….Nope

  3. Dropped Strike Three

    April 2, 2011 at 10:08 am

    I agree.His 2010 performance and the way he pitched yesterday is exactly how he was projected to be. It’s a shame that injuries and his personal life soured his reputation amongst Phillies fans, but the guy deserves some credit for what he did in the red pinstripes. It’s not like he fled town for the highest pay day or burnt bridges here.

  4. AFN

    April 2, 2011 at 10:12 am

    I think people booed because Myers, since leaving, has repeatedly said he wants to be booed by Philly, that he appreciates the motivation and intensity of the fans and doesn’t want any special treatment. He got exactly what he asked for. I think if you look at it that way, its actually a good thing. Philly loves Myers, in their own special way.

    • Tracey

      April 2, 2011 at 12:48 pm

      @AFN: I like that idea!

      I was there, and I didn’t boo him (though I felt inclined to boo the ZZ Top beard — yuk). But I admit that I chuckled when people booed. And yes, they did boo him quite vigorously, but I don’t think that makes them the worst fans in the league. There’s nothing wrong with vigorous advocacy for your own team.

      I was pleased that this time, I didn’t hear anybody shouting “sucks” after the name of every opposing player. That’s moronic. If every player on their team sucks, then how much pride can we take in defeating them? Or worse yet, in losing to them?

  5. The Dipsy

    April 2, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Hey Mike – Its nice to have connections with certain players and/or teams throughout our sporting lives. I have connections of my own. Brett Myers was always a gamer. Always took the ball. He was also seen by some as a red neck, wife beating, drunk that said stupid and boorish things during his tenure in Philly, where he failed to fulfill the world of potential that everyone thought he had. Intersect that with a city that is somewhat low in tolerance to begin with, and you can get a drastic reaction, which he saw yesterday. I’m not sticking up for Phils fans. They are great fans but some of them can be mean – and meaner when drunk. On the other hand, Brett was not a national treasure when he was here and he wasn’t that wonderful a pitcher, and heis personality could polarize. I liked him. I waited for all that talent to kick in, too. I even laughed when he hit his head falling out of that truck and got a concussion or whatever. I wanted to keep him. That said, he was a jerk. While you are a bit outraged that Brett got the business yesterday – I am not. If Philly fans hate a guy they are gonna torture him. And I like that.

    The Dipsy

  6. branderson

    April 2, 2011 at 10:18 am

    That’s too bad they booed him. Yeah after the whole thing in Boston I was irked by Myers but he is one of the core members of the staff during the transition to greatness period for the Phillies. He was a dynamic player while he was in Phily, no doubt. I loved his grittiness and definitely think he was a hard worker. How key was he when he stepped into the closer role? Huge.

    Anyway, sick start to the season. Let’s go Phils!

  7. Scotch Man

    April 2, 2011 at 10:41 am

    I was truly pissed about how Myers was booed. He was part of the ’08 magic that so many seem to have forgotten already. He was the guy on the mound when the Phillies clinched their first playoff berth in 14 years in ’07. How soon we forget.

    I’m very happy for his success with the Astros and happy he had a nice outing yesterday. He was a gamer and he played the game right. I’ll never have anything bad to say about that man. He was a Phillie most of his career and if you gave me a Wall of Fame ballot with his name on it, I’d probably pick him.

  8. Michelle O'Malley

    April 2, 2011 at 11:15 am

    I felt the same way, Mike. I cheered for Myers and asked the people around me why they felt the need to fawn all over Happ and not Myers (or any of the other ex-Phillies wearing an Astros cap for that matter). No one could answer me. Disappointing, for sure.

    • Tracey

      April 2, 2011 at 12:51 pm

      Maybe they boo Myers more than Happ because they view Myers as more of a threat to his former team? In that light, it can be seen as a compliment.

  9. Frank Riccard

    April 2, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I wonder if Jayson Werth will get booed. I would have said no when he initially signed w/ the Nationals, but now that he’s gone ahead and said that he hates the Phillies, I’m not so sure.

    • NJ

      April 2, 2011 at 3:10 pm

      This isn’t Werth or Burrell or Rowand or almost any other former Phillie who has left in a professional manner doing what 99% percent of baseball players do when their contracts are up.

      The Phillies were very good to Brett Myers through several high profile incidents, remember this is a guy who got punched out the night before a minor league rehab start in his contract year, the Phils could have put him on the bonfire then and there. It was totally unacceptable for his sniping afterwards and he deserves nothing but criticism from the Phils fans who have every right to boo him.

      This isn’t fans booing a guy doing well which is in bad spirit, it was fans doing to Brett Myers what he did to them.

  10. Frank

    April 2, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I was there… I didn’t think that people were booing with any serious ill-will towards Myers. Keep in mind that Myers was similarly saying he wanted to “stick it to the Phillies”. He’s on the other team; we would’ve (and did) boo plenty of others…

    Keep in mind, Larry Bowa and Jim Thome even got boos in the 2009 NLCS. When you’re the enemy in a big game, you’ll be booed. I think how both Thome and Bowa have been treated since then are a testament to that.

    The wall of fame plaque is interesting; he could end up on there someday. Until then, boooo…

  11. Bruce

    April 2, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Hey! No surprise that there will always be Philly boobirds in a crowd. They enhanced that particular ‘reputation’ (fair or not). šŸ˜‰

  12. Tracey

    April 2, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Michael, I guess you were in a different part of the ballpark than I was. Where I was, people were going nuts through most of the 9th, using the 2010 penants as makeshift rally towels.

  13. emayer

    April 2, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    I was there with my brother and we both cheered Myers on. And even though it came at the expense of my own team, I was happy to see him pitch the way he did.

  14. AB

    April 2, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I couldn’t agree more! Brett Myers, for all his flaws, is a WFC. Myers went 2-1 in the ’08 playoffs, including 7 IP, 2H, 2R against MIL, 3-3 with 3 RBI against LA, and 7IP, 3ER in TB. When we needed him to close, he became a pretty good closer. I’m not going to pretend he was one of my favorite players, BUT HOW DO YOU BOO A WFC LIKE THAT?

    The only “WFC” that you’re allowed to do that to is Adam Eaton.

  15. Brooks

    April 2, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Its interesting to read some of the memories of Brett while he was here.
    I like when he gave Cole Hamels a hard time (after Hamels made a statement he just wanted the season to be over with)-Cole needed it at the time
    I loved in the 08 playoffs during warmups – the pitchers generally throw long ball in the OF, stepping further from the catcher after each toss. Brett was soo pumped, he went immediately to the rf corner and threw the ball to Chooch but, it was over his head and into the CF stands – that is how stoked he was.
    I loved it when he got pumped to close a game and his fast ball would hit 97 mph!

    What I didnt like was
    The wife beating
    The fan bashing
    The fact that he was not able to get up for most games, the way he did for some
    When he left Philly, he said he couldn’t wait to stick it to Philly
    When he was called to leave the BP and come back to the starting rotation, he voiced his preference to stay in the BP (BEFORE saying he’d go where Cholly needed)

    Would I boo him? If he continued to bash Philly, I would boo him. If he continued to display behaviour akin to when he beat his wife – yes. But now, I would not.

  16. southonbroad

    April 2, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    I wouldn’t have booed, but I’m sure as hell not going to cheer for a guy who beats his wife. Personally I think it shows less class to cheer for a lousy human being who happens to be good at playing a game, than it does to boo for… well, almost any reason. I’m not showing “courtesy” to a guy who thinks his wife’s face deserves the “courtesy” of his fist.

    That said, I WAS irritated at how many people left early, and how out of it the crowd seemed toward the end of the game. Let’s aspire to the “best fans in the world” commentary rather than living up to our–I’d like to think–undeserved bad reputation, shall we?

  17. Brian Sr. of CO

    April 3, 2011 at 2:48 am

    Could it be that when he left, we said he wanted to “stick it to the Phillies”? Could be his arrogance and ignorrance towards the organization and fans after he left that people don’t like? I know that bothers me. You could do one of two things when you leave a place you want to be. You could be like Cliff Lee and say “I never wanted to leave” after being traded, or you could be like Brett Myers and want to “stick it to the Phillies”! Cliff Lee was traded away, and he still handled it with dignity and class. Brett Myers was not re-signed, and he decided pull a Donovan McNabb and start bashing. Even Pat Burrell. We wasn;t re-signed, and I don’t recall hearing him go on tangents about the Phillies. I could be wrong about the Burrell. Thats just me. The thing that gets me is when people leave early. HELL NO! Come on people, thats what other fans do, we Phillies Phans don’t leave early!

  18. Anthony

    April 4, 2011 at 7:33 am

    Maybe people just have issues cheering for wife beaters.

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