Enough time has passed since Milt Thompson’s unceremonious firing that he can emerge from his place of hiding and address the public once more.
It was late July of last year when the beloved icon from that 1993 team everyone loves received the phone that changed his life: ”You’re fired. Please collect any bats you brought from home and clear the premises.” The Phillies needed someone to blame for the seemingly complete lack of offense, and the hitting coach was someone who could be terminated without too much of a shake-up in the clubhouse.
Now, it’s the 2011-12 offseason, the Phillies’ hitting coach is Greg Gross, and we followed a 1-0 loss in a playoff elimination game by signing a closer for the cost of maintenance on the Capitol Building. If that isn’t an indication that the offense is totally fixed, I don’t know what is. Isn’t it great to know exactly what we’re doing!
Regardless, Milt seems to have come to terms with things, and wandered into a school in New Jersey to talk to local students about putting their studies first and never, ever trusting a baseball team if it says it loves you.
As a professional motivational speaker, Milt is able to suck it up, go in there, and change lives, which is admirable. Some people get fired from a coffee shop and spend the day crying on the bus. But this aspect of his career takes us on a logical loop. How many other hitting coaches are also motivational speakers? I’ve never heard anything about Greg Gross teaching sixth graders about the dangers of inhaling paint thinner.
I mention this because who needs motivation more than the Phillies offense? Who could benefit more from a trained baseball man with a minor in making you feel good about yourself? Sure, hitting coaches are for the most part ineffective, because they deal with grown men who may be set in their ways. But what if the guy who was underhanding you fungoes was telling you about your endless potential between each toss?
Would have helped me. Of course, my old hitting coach was always mad at the team because he blamed us for his wife leaving him. But still.
Good for Milt.