(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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Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Phillies Should Fire Their Hitting Coach

Last year, when their lumber was laboring, the Phillies fired their hitting coach, Milt Thompson, who, as memory serves me, was also the hitting coach when they led the league and or Majors in many categories in 2007, 2008 and 2009. But when they slumped or had a AAAA lineup because of injuries or both, the brass decided that they needed to fire Thompson. The players felt terribly, showed remorse and then hit well enough to win the division and go to the NLCS, only to labor again at the plate.

So now, they have a hitting coach in Greg Gross, who, like Thompson, is a Phillies' alum, but, who, unlike Thompson, doesn't have any track record of success with the big club. I heard on the radio tonight that the team has scored fewer than 4 runs in more games than they've scored over 4 runs, and, well, at almost the half-way point, it's time to shake up a squad whose bats look like they're pulling baseball's version of Rip Van Winkle (that is, if Washington Irving still gets read in high school literature classes). So, since the brass cannot fire the hitters, they should fire the hitting coach.

Of course, it's probably not Greg Gross's fault, and he makes a fraction of what most of the players make. But still, it's the simplest option. Gross will get fired, some hitting guru will replace him, the (overpaid) starters will express remorse and then go on a tear. Seemed to work last year. But if anyone can get Raul Ibanez, he with a .285 OBP, to stop swinging at the ball as if it were the slo-mo version of a golfing rendition of Swan Lake, or to get Domonic Brown to shorten his swing or to get Shane Victorino or Jimmy Rollins to stop swinging for the fences as if they were playing in the steroids era, good luck. Because at some point, this type of change must come from within.

That's my thought of the evening as to how to help fix the Phillies. Got any better suggestions?


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