Reminiscing the Rocky Saga of Brett Myers
Ever notice that the local sporting goods stores in the decade that carried Howard, Utley, Hamels, (even) Gordon jerseys seemed to not have too many No. 39s on the shelf?
I loved Myers from his first start on July 24, 2002. I thought he was the second coming of a young Curt Schilling with plenty of spice left in between each pitch. Looking back seven years later, what's left on the table for this former first round pick?
Myers was General Manager Ed Wade's stallion coming into the new century. The Jacksonville native climbed his way to elite status and earned a lot of attention in such short notice. With a decimated Phillies' rotation that needed reviving, Myers catalyzed an abysmal staff to lead a group that ultimately won the World Series in 2008.
Before I get ahead of myself, Myers' story was far from glorious. Aside from showing worth in 2003 with a 14-9 record (and his first career shutout against the vaunted Red Sox), the following year showed signs of stark reality. Barely any run support plagued the starter to a mere 11-11 record with a 5.52 ERA. Hitters found their spots off him, tallying more hits (196) than his innings (176).
2005 was a minor transformation for Brett. He notched 208 strikeouts in 215 innings pitched. He carried a playoff contender to a few games away from the real deal, and he boasted a career best in ERA (3.72).
Everyone in Philadelphia knows by now that Myers ran into legal trouble in June of 2006 when he was arrested and charged with assault on his wife in Boston. Heavy media coverage and angry fans fueled the fire as he took a leave of absence, still managing a decent season statistically.
2007 became a year unlike no other. In rare cases does an Opening Day starter actually pitch the final out of the season as a closer. Myers did that in fashion, shutting the door on the Nationals with his 21st save of the year. It was his biggest, too as the Phillies celebrated what was to be their most adrenaline-pumping yet.
In 2008, Myers had a tale of two seasons. After struggling with only one win between April 22 and June 27, the plug was pulled on as he was sent down to the minors.
Called up on July 20, Myers was a man on fire with a 7-4 record and 3.20 ERA in 13 starts. He also contributed in the NLDS with a legendary at bat against CC Sabathia of the Brewers.
Then in Game 2 of the NLCS, Myers embarrassed the Dodgers going 3-3 with 3 RBI's. It was the first time in LCS history a pitcher accomplished that feat.
Fast forward to 2009, late August. He endured a nagging hip injury in May and is hoping for a return to the bullpen sometime before the playoffs begin (if the Phillies clinch a spot).
He becomes a free agent after this season, and on an unlikely return (by some), how will Myers go down in Phillies' history? He's been there since 2002 until now, when such journeymen like Jon Lieber, Freddy Garcia, Eric Milton, Cory Lidle, Kyle Lohse have come and gone. Is Myers a hero or just another guy on the mound? A wife beater or bounded potential? A hearty ace or a forgotten number?
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