First it was Rich Dubee. This weekend, Ruben Amaro dropped his ax on Mick Billmeyer.
Before his role this past season, Billmeyer worked as the bullpen catching instructor from 2004 to 2008 and the bullpen coach from 2009 to 2012. By all reports he was a well liked dude who made everyone laugh, except Jonathan Papelbon, who is incapable of feeling laughter or joy. Todd Zolecki recounted this hilarious story:
The Astros swept the Phillies in a four-game series at Citizens Bank Park in August 2010 to drop them to three games out of first place in the National League East. The Phillies then flew to San Diego to open a seven-game road trip. Billmeyer, sensing the team was down, had players rolling on the ground in laughter before the series opener at PETCO Park, impersonating pitchers’ mannerisms on the mound.
Not sure how the team will ever replace those antics. Maybe batting stance guy is finally due for his major league coaching debut.
The thing I will most remember Billmeyer for is the time he got caught stealing signs when the Phillies played the Colorado Rockies in 2010. The guy was sitting in the bullpen with a pair of binoculars acting like he would never get spotted. The Phillies received a warning from Major League Baseball, and fans got to make jokes about Mick Billmeyer for weeks. Thinking about it now, maybe it was just an attempt on his part to get the team loose just like his impersonations. Oh Mick, you jokester!