Yesterday, Brett Myers pitched his first game in Philadelphia since he beat his wife, got arrested, and, after starting against the Red Sox less than 36 hours later, took a leave of absence from the team. The Boston fans, of course, booed Myers lustily. I mean, really gave it to him. Inhaled deeply and really let it all out, projecting from the diaphragm. What would Philly’s famously hardass fans do when Myers took the mound? As it turns out, not that much. A few catcalls here and there quickly gave way to cheers as Myers pitched well (but ultimately lost) against the Braves. And those waiting to hear harsh words from the city of Brotherly Love would be well advised not to hold their breath. Says philliesfanpage.com:
Manuel decided to let Myers go out for the 9th inning. His pitch count was at 100 and he handled a Braves lineup that was without Chipper and Andruw Jones. But Myers gave up a lead-off walk and Renteria ripped a double to left field that rolled all the way to the wall…
At least Myers went very deep into the ballgame. When he left, the fans clapped and cheered, acknowledging his effort. Myers returned the favor by giving his hat a little wave. In time, Myers’s one mistake will start to fade.
At first I couldn’t tell whether “one mistake” was a reference to Myers’ punching his wife or giving up that run-scoring double to Edgar Renteria. (Not to mention, I doubt that a man who brazenly beats his wife on a public street while she screams, “I’m not going to let you do this to me anymore” is a one-time offender.) But this is just a blog, I told myself. Blogs are, you know, shameless (HBW category, anyone?). Surely the folks over at that fine, Pulitzer-bedecked institution, the Philadelphia Inquirer, would shine the cold, hard light of day on this debacle. After predicting in Sunday’s paper that Myers would face his deserved boos, Inquirer columnist Jim Salisbury pulled an about face. On Monday, he wrote:
A kid in a T.O. jersey in the right-field seats was booed louder than Myers. Third-base coach Bill Dancy drew more derision from the crowd when he held Pat Burrell on a hit by David Bell in the second inning. Mostly, Myers was cheered…The crowd’s reaction was not lost on Myers. He doffed his cap as he walked off the mound in the ninth inning.
Now, some folks might be troubled by the fact Myers was not ridden harder by the fans. Some might even make the ridiculous suggestion that those who supported him were somehow soft on domestic violence.
Really? Is that such a ridiculous suggestion? I mean, I was hoping for boos, I admit it. In the absence of booing, stony silence would have sufficed. But to actively cheer? At his very first start at home since his arrest? And to elicit an actual tip of the cap? Come on, people. The mind reels.
The early read on all this is that Myers probably gets to stay. It wasn’t a good night on the scoreboard and in the standings, but the Phils may have acquired a 25-year-old pitcher with a heck of an arm.
Uh, yeah…a heck of an arm. Heck of a right hook, too.