Is it me, or does it seem that every year as Mike Schmidt flies south for spring training he always grabs the headlines? This year is no different and Schmidtty is all over the place. First, he’s got a new book which is set to be released on March 14th entitled Clearing the Bases: Juiced Players, Monster Salaries, Sham Records, and a Hall of Famer’s Search for the Soul of Baseball. Despite what you think of Michael Jack he’s an intelligent guy and this book is rumored to be a page turner.
He said himself the first couple chapters are a bit dull, but once you get past (or skip) them it gets good. It’s not a tell-all like the Canseco’s Juiced, but he does hit the steroid issue head on. Not to ruin the ending but I’m sure you’ve head by now that Schmidt feels that Mark McGwire should be inducted into the Hall of Fame while Rafael Palmeiro should not. His reasons are pretty straightforward: Raffy got caught while Big Mac did not. But that’s a whole different discussion; and to be honest, those comments are not what concerns me today.
On Comcast the other night, he – like many before him – commented on how the 2006 Phillies lack a true clubhouse leader. He claimed the club is essentially just a bunch of good friends who think they are a championship caliber team. Now this should not be construed as an insult, it was constructive criticism. It’s well clear that the Phils are a young team, especially the position players, and as much as Lieberthal and Bell have veteran status until they can lead by example they can’t fill this role. Schmidt went on to say it is in fact Charlie Manuel and the coaches who are the leaders of this team. That is an interesting way to put it. By their very nature and job description they are leaders, but of course this is grossly insufficient for a team trying to make the playoffs. Hopefully Schmidtty can instill in Rollins and Utley some key leadership points and encourage them to step up and rally the team this year.
Mike Schmidt is an interesting character with a lot to say. If you’d like to buy his book, it’s available in the Phillies Nation store. Balls, Sticks, and Stuff will be hosting a discussion group in April. But if you can’t wait until then, and would actually like to meet Michael Jack, contact us about the free tickets to see him in New York.