Back when the Phillies didn’t have Cliff Lee, they were forced to turn from the gaping hole he had left behind and have a gander at just who was around that they could tout as a salvageable get from the deal. They bragged to us the merits of Phillippe Aumont, a human giant with “Ryan Madson” levels of fury when it comes to lockers. His stance on folding chairs was never made public.
The Phillies gleaned at the lad, rolled their sleeves up, and began forcing change; which anyone who has ever trained a pet or gotten married can tell you, happens both instantly and flawlessly whenever attempted.
Phillippe was sent to Reading with a mission: Become a starting pitcher. Also, get better at pitching.
Remember in Vertigo, when Jimmy Stewart is very clearly and very methodically trying to turn the woman that looks like his old girlfriend into his old girlfriend by giving her clothes and hats that resemble the ones his old girlfriend used to wear? Remember how that ended?
This was a less ill-fated adventure, but the affects were negative all the same. Phillippe played 11 games in Reading and sucked, probably striking terror into the hearts of lockers throughout the Phillies farm system. The organization was forced to admit they had maybe probably put him in too high a level of their minors and sent him down, down, down to Clearwater.
Seattle had tinkered with Phillippe’s shit as well, putting him in constant states of transition which, surprisingly enough, caused some stress and strain on the lad’s arm and brain.
But that’s all in the past! Cliff Lee does play for the Phillies now; the other folks Phillippe came over to Philly with are being shuffled about the lower chambers of the minors (This “…wasn’t done for any specific reason,” reports the Inquirer), and Phillippe is, once more, being asked to change.
For the good of the Phillies, he is being bent back into the shape of a reliever in 2011.
When I was four or five years old, I got a Hess fire truck for Christmas. Before you could shout “It’s a collectible!” I had it out of the box, smashing against the floor and laughing hysterically. The ladder snapped in half, some wheels fell of; it was an epic disaster for Hess FD. Cost the department thousands. Only years later did I know that by itself, it was worth a chunk of change–and together with the other Hess trucks we dug out of my grandfather’s attic, it was worth even more.
If it hadn’t been placed carefully into the hand of a manic, borderline psychotic child, it could’ve been of use. And I can’t help but worry that, to a lesser degree, of course, poor Phillippe may fall victim to these hurried career adjustments over the past few years. Hopefully, he’ll fall back into his old routines as a reliever. But there’s a chance the damage has been done, and even when set up next to the rest of the Phillies’ trucks, you won’t be able to ignore the damage.