I felt that this story from the 2008 Home Run Derby deserved its own article seeing as I didn't want it to get lost in that last long article...
A little side story from my night in the Bronx…
About halfway through the second round, I realize the guy next to me is calling his friend to his left by a very familiar name, for the sake of this story and the safety of all of those involved we’ll call him, Verdy, because that’s his real name.
I realize that of course that’s Verdy, the same guy who used to work at Ramapo College Baseball Camp and that’s why I recognized him. So I nudged my cousin as a sign to pay attention because a good story is about to follow, and I started talking to him.
Zack: “Hey you used to work at Ramapo College Baseball Camp right?”
Verdy: “Yeah, why did you used to go there?”
Z: “Yeah I went there a few years back, maybe you might happen to remember Jason Phillips?”
Time out: For those of you who might not know who the great Jason Phillips is, he had a seven year career spanning from 2001 until 2007 with the Mets, Dodgers, and Blue Jays. He was a career .249 hitter with 30 home runs and 168 RBI. The reason I say this is because I am confident that he will stay in the Japan League for the rest of his career.
Anyway, Jason Phillips does not have 20/20 vision, a problem many major leaguers might suffer from. But instead of wearing contacts, Phillips has always worn a kind of Rec Spec goggles throughout his career.
Now for future purposes in this story I will say right now that I do not have any problem with his choice of eye wear. I just think it’s pretty rare that you come face to face with someone who wears this unique eyewear. OK, back to the story.
V: “NO WAY?! You’re a butthead (PG) Zack?! Oh my god, you got me in so much trouble for that stunt you pulled.”
Z: “Yeah, I’m sorry but it was hilarious.”
V: “Of course it was, all the counselors loved it.”
Brad: “What’d you do?”
V: “This little crap (PG), decides it would be funny to bring a pair of scuba goggles to try to get Jason Phillips to sign them. Not only would Phillips not sign them, but he was pissed. Your little stunt cost us a couple thousand dollars.”
Z: “Wait, how’d that cost you a couple thousand?”
V: “He almost left, he didn’t want to talk to the campers after that, and Coach Martin had to pay him a couple thousand extra just to stay, and to try to stop him from going back to the Mets and telling the guy who was coming next week that Coach ran a camp that let the campers do whatever they wanted. So on top of paying him to stay, we had to pay him just so he didn’t talk too badly about our camp so we could try and keep getting Mets to come and talk to you guys.”
So not only was Jason Phillips terribly offended by the actions of a 13-year-old kid, not only would he obviously not sign my scuba goggles, but he wouldn’t even shake my hand after I apologized and told him I was only joking.
He also had to try and swindle a couple extra thousand dollars out of a Division III baseball program who obviously runs camps like they do to try and help finance their season.
Hope you feel really big in Japan Jason; no one is missing the .208/1/12 you brought to the Blue Jays in 55 games last season.
Here's to keeping' it real Jason Phillips.