The day a lot of fans have been waiting for has arrived. On the day the world is supposed to end, according to some, the Phillies have announced that prized prospect Dominic Brown will be returning to the big league club to provide some offensive punch for a team that's struggling to not only score runs but to simply get base hits.
It appears that Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and GM Ruben Amaro disagreed about calling up Brown so early, with the GM convinced more time in Triple A would do the youngster some good. Manuel, who has a success of bringing young players, especially those with potentially prolific bats, along at a pace that makes their transition to the major leagues successful, wanted the kid up here as soon as possible.
The stalemate between the two men ended when Amaro folded his hand and issued the call-up order to Lehigh Valley.
Dominic Brown is once again a Phillie. Barring something strange happening or complete failure on his part it will be the last time Brown is "called up" from the minor leagues. He should be here to stay, and Phillies fans everywhere hope he lives up to the hype.
However, was it a good idea to call him up at this precise moment? Yes, the Phillies recently dropped four straight and five of six. They have loosened their grip on first place in the National League East, and their dominant pitching can only carry them so far.
But Pennants cannot be won in April, May and June. They can surely be lost but despite the panic surrounding their offensive (un)production they have in no way damaged their quest for a third pennant in four years.
Promoting Dominic Brown today is a mistake. It could have waited a week or two, when that other player toying around in the minor leagues is ready to return as well. Brown is a fantastic talent. He's got all the tools to succeed in the major leagues and may very well have a superstar career. In a couple of years he may be the face of the franchise and one of the best players in the National League, he's that talented.
However, bringing him up now is asking him to be savior, and that's a lot of pressure to put on a 23-year-old. The Phillies will say all the right things, to the media, to the players and especially to Brown himself.
They will tell anyone who will listen that Brown will be eased in, that there is not much expected of him, and they will truly mean it and believe it themselves. But it's the fans and the media who will expect Brown to carry the team offensively.
He will be under extreme scrutiny and his every move will be watched by hundred of thousands. The first moment he steps in the batter's box at Citizens Bank Park he will be greeted with a standing ovation, and the love fest will continue for a while.
But what happens the moment he begins to struggle, as all rookies and young players do? What happens when he goes 2-for-34 and strikes out 20 times? What about when he overthrows the cutoff man attempting to show off his arm and nail a runner at the plate and the winning run scores? Will fans continue to give him standing ovations as the savior, or write him off as quickly as they written off Raul Ibanez and Ben Francisco? Time will tell.
Dominic Brown should have been called up this year. If he hadn't have gotten hurt, he more than likely would have made the big-league club out of spring training. However, once he was sent to the minors the best time to call him up would have been at the same time Chase Utley is activated from the disabled list.
Between the two, Utley is the star and would have garnered the media and fans attention either way. Brown's return to Philly would have been a story but the BIGGER story would have been Utley, and he could have been eased into spotlight.