The previous post, about a prank Phillies pitcher Brett Myers played on teammate and fellow pitcher Kyle Kendrick showed a nice side of Brett, didn't it? He's a fun guy. Great teammate. You can just tell he's good in the clubhouse, bringing guys together, helping create the all-important "chemistry." It's interesting that when a Ford or Sun Microsystems lays off thousands of workers, it's never blamed on bad chemistry between the workers getting their pink slips.
Yet I digress.
Brett Myers, that's where I was. I know. I haven't forgotten. So, that's the fun-loving Brett, the consummate teammate; the guy who ended up having a very, very good season in 2008.
There's another side. I want you to see both, not because I'm out to bash Brett. But to prove a point. Guys like me, it's easy to be loved. We're out there performing, doing what every fan would give their right arm to do (of course, with only one arm, it's tough to do what we do - Jim Abbott doesn't count, by the way, since he had two arms). Where was I? Did I mention the two sides of Brett Myers yet? Um... Okay. So you can easily love us because we're doing for a living what you want to do. We're on TV. In the papers. You admire us. You stutter when we're in the same room as you. You act different. Our fame ranges from national to local to semi. So what's not to love? Nothing. It's as simple as that.
Then, there's the other side of us you usually don't see. That's what Jimmy Scott's High & Tight is all about. I'm trying to show you the other side of baseball; the part you don't read about in the papers or catch on SportsCenter. The human side. And Brett Myers is definitely a human being.
Two items I want to offer as exhibits A & B to prove he's human and not just a loved ballplayer. Neither is the kind of proof you want to share with your 7-year old at the breakfast table, so let's keep this between us, okay?
EXHIBIT A THAT BASEBALL PLAYERS, ESPECIALLY BRETT MYERS, ARE HUMAN
Check out this POST at the always-good Bugs & Cranks blogsite. It was 2007 and Brett was serving as the de-facto closer for the Phillies, not a role he expected to find himself in. Apparently, he blew a save. Want to know what that feels like? I wrote about it HERE. You can use that as background for this exchange between Brett & a post-game reporter:
Sam Carchidi: “You thought they both were pop ups?”
Brett Myers: “Yeah, didn’t you? You think they crushed ‘em?”
SC: “The first one I thought was out, the second one no.”
BM: “Yeah, cause you’re a retard, you don’t know shit about fuckin’ baseball. You’re filling in for somebody.”
SC: “How do you spell ‘retard’?”
BM: “You know how to spell it, it’s in your fuckin’ vocabulary, I’m sure you know.”
SC: “You are classy, I’ll tell ya.”
BM: “Go on. [Get] outta here, you fuckin’ idiot.”
SC: [pointing at Brett Myers] “You’re the fuckin’ idiot.”
BM: “Hey! You pointin’ at me motherfucker?! I’ll tell you what, dude, I’ll knock you mutherfucking out! FUCK YOU!!! You’re tough when fuckin’ people are standing in front of you, aren’t you, you piece of shit! Come on! You fucking idiot. Yeah, you’re tough when fuckin’ people are standing in front of you, you stupid ass.”
SC: “I’m a retard?”
BM: “Yeah, that’s right, YOU ARE, you’re a fucking idiot. You ask stupid ass fucking questions!”
Click on the link to hear Brett in his glory. Then read the comments at the bottom of the post. I love the Comments section of blogs. Talk about Democracy. You can always see pros & cons to everything. No difference here.
Now, how do you feel about Brett Myers? It doesn't matter, because I think Exhibit B is even more telling.
EXHIBIT B THAT BASEBALL PLAYERS, ESPECIALLY BRETT MYERS, ARE HUMAN
It's June, 2006, one year earlier than Brett's verbal tirade against the reporter. The Phillies are playing the Red Sox in Boston during Interleague Play. This happened (thanks to Deadspin):
BRETT MYERS PUNCHED HIS WIFE IN THE FACE
It is commonplace among Major League Baseball teams to send the starting pitchers for upcoming road series ahead of the team, allowing them to get on a normal travel schedule. That's what the Philadelphia Phillies did with starter Brett Myers, who was scheduled to pitch against Boston tomorrow afternoon. Problem was, Myers brought his wife with him.
That led to Myers allegedly punching his wife outside a Boston bar last night, leading to his arrest on a domestic violence charge. Police showed up after a 911 call and saw severe swelling on the left side of her face — he used his pitching hand — and she said he had punched her. He was arrested on the spot, and he was released on $200 bail ... paid by his wife.
There's so much to say here. First, I don't like how the headline is so condemning: "Punched" says it's a no-doubter. I don't agree with it, especially because, later in the post, the word "allegedly" is used. "That led to Myers allegedly punching his wife outside a Boston bar last night."
You can read the full story from a Boston.com HERE.
There's just so much badness to be read into this. First, the fact that Brett hit his wife. That's bad. The fact that she, in return, paid his bail is bad too.
Now I don't care if she looked at some guy in the bar the wrong way. Or even if she said something nasty to Brett. Because it's possible she started the fight over something and she just went nuts on him the way he did on the reporter. I'm not saying that happened, but it's possible, using the logic of your 7-year old at the breakfast table, that she started it. Still, even if she did, in no way did she deserve to be hit by the pitching hand of her once-locally and, after this, nationally-famous husband.
So what happened after? I just read up on it and found that, according to Brett's wife Kim, she did kind of start it.
"A statement from Kim Myers filed with the court agreement said she and her husband had been arguing about what to do after dinner — she wanted to go to another bar, he wanted to return to their hotel.
“I became upset with him, and I pushed him away from me. That’s when other people saw us disagreeing with each other,” the statement said."
Eventually, a judge dismissed the case at the insistance of Mrs. Myers, and both Kim and Brett were able to move ahead with their lives, Brett winning the World Series this year.
So what's my point about all of this? Is it to dredge up ancient history (not so ancient, let's be honest) on Brett Myers and punish him for winning a World Series? Is it jealousy because I didn't win a World Series this year? Is it to embarrass Kim Myers?
No My point is that we ballplayers are human. We are complex creatures, just like the family man at Fidelity Investments who decided to fire 1700 workers; just like the boyfriend & girlfriend who can't decide if they want to keep going out or break up; just like the father who grounds his daughter for no real reason, other than his wounded pride.
One last point to bring up: Brett Myers is not the first baseball player to hit his wife. That doesn't condone his actions. I write this to further my point. Other guys have done it, so we aren't angels and we're not going to heaven in front of you because our bank accounts are fatter. Check out this very good article, again from Deadspin, to see a list of other baseball players who've unleashed a little aggression on their female partners.
When you see a ballplayer like Brett Myers punk someone on TV, enjoy it. Have fun. But just remember, there's a dark side to him too. They say only you can pick your friends. I think the same can be true of those you admire as well.