SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Jamie Moyer is Human, After All

His public ventilation about his demotion to the bullpen upon the activation of Pedro Martinez disappointed many fans. Those fans thought that Moyer was all about team, first and foremost, and that he was putting himself before the team by saying publicly that the Phillies had misled him about his role. I'm sure that Moyer is disappointed -- he's a competitor -- but he wasn't producing well enough to remain in the rotation, as increasingly each start, inning and pitch was becoming an adventure. It's hard for any competitor to realize when he's not producing and might be worthy of replacing -- that's what makes a person a competitor in the first place, because he works hard with blinders on to do the best he can and eliminate distractions and naysayers from his mind -- but Moyer shouldn't have been surprised. He's been in the business a long time, and he saw the Phillies only last year farm out starter Kyle Kendrick, who had won 11 games for them earlier in the season. These things happen, even if it's sad to see them happen to an elder statesman, a class act (still), and one of the winningest lefties in baseball history.

I explained the situation to my kids' this way -- for teams to win, the best players must be given the chance to play, period. They shouldn't play because of their contracts, where they were drafted, their relationship with the coach or the front office, their agent's relationship with the general manager, or the fact that they're veterans and therefore have earned a permanent place on a roster. All pro sports are very competitive, and the Phillies had to be honest with themselves and had to ask themselves about a month ago whether they could make a deep run in the playoffs with the following rotation: Cole Hamels (having an off year), Joe Blanton (who is pitching very well), Moyer (very high ERA), J.A. Happ (having a great rookie year) and Rodrigo Lopez (coming off arm surgery) and without Brett Myers (who wasn't pitching that well when he got hurt). Now their rotation consists of Cliff Lee (who's pitched great since the team acquired him), Hamels, Blanton, Happ and Pedro Martinez (who had a decent first start about a week ago).

Which rotation would you prefer? What would you have done if you were Ruben Amaro?

I'm sure that Amaro's and Manuel's decision wasn't easy -- Jamie Moyer is a good guy, a great competitor, a good teammate, but the Phillies had to make the move.

Even if Jamie Moyer was going to be unhappy about it.

Click here for Andy Martino's piece in today's Philadelphia Inquirer about Moyer's proving, after all, that he's human like the rest of us.

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