I have never put much stock into the wisdom of Steve Phillips and quite frankly most of his commentary validates his failure as a general manager. This morning on Mike and Mike in the Morning, Phillips was not only absurd in his analysis but reckless in his speculation. While discussing the ongoing pennant race Phillips praised the Rays for their young talent. Praise that as a baseball fan I feel is well deserved as they have already won more games in 2008 than they had in all of the 2007 season. Regardless of the final outcome, 2008 is already a success for this young team. Following his praise Phillips then went on to state that the difference making heading down the stretch will be the youth versus the aging players on the teams in the chase, but he didn’t stop there.
To further illustrate his point, Phillips then went on to discuss the recent rash of base running blunders that have been highlighted on ESPN over the last week. He states that on Sunday, in a 45 minute period he witnessed 8 base running blunders including 5 base runners doubled up on line drives. At this point Phillips became irresponsible in his reporting and attributed the rash of mental mistakes to amphetamines.
To quote Steve Phillips:
“There are so many mental mistakes right now and I think, well, you never want to point to one play and say “ah hah”, but that’s where we see the lack of amphetamines in the major leagues impacting the game. I will tell you, that you are seeing so many mental mistakes because guys are getting run down right now and I think that the young guys and the fresh legs and the younger, less experienced guys are ultimately going to be better this time of year because they are younger and their legs are fresher. So, I think this is another reason to point to the Rays being able to sustain success.”
I tend the look at the Rays success as a culmination of years of building a system that is finally reaping the rewards. I have felt all season long that the Rays are winning because of strong pitching, the manufacturing of runs, and timely hitting but apparently I am wrong. According to Steve Phillips it is the lack of amphetamines in their aging opponents that is the real driving force toward the American League East crown.