The first news we got yesterday wasn’t that anybody was gone, it was that somebody was on his way here. Which, in turn, told us that somebody was gone.
Ryne Sandberg erased Dom Brown’s name from the Lehigh Valley lineup card last night, signalling not only that an outfielder was suddenly needed in Philadelphia, but that all those #freedombrown tweets were finally getting through to someone.
Dom was headed to the Big Show, again, for his shot at a starting spot. Again.
There’s no denying we’ve been here before–it’s all on video. Dom came up once before and knocked an RBI double that had us all giggling. Then he sat there for a while and forgot how to do everything. Then he came to Spring Training for an outfield spot that was his to lose. He lost it, breaking his hand in the process, and apparently losing the majority of his motor skills.
2012 opened and Dom Brown was no longer the guy everybody squealed about. He was starting, quite fretfully, to blend in with the crowd at Lehigh–older “prospects” who had their shot and blew it or never got in the first place, and now hung around for the chance to fill in as a fourth-string injury replacement. Fortunately, that’s exactly the kind of player the Phillies have been relying on these days.
Then he got hurt again. Then he started a bench-clearing brawl. And then he got hurt again, I think.
So, who is this kid? He’s not the five-tool hit machine that reeks of pure confidence. He’s not the broken man that makes “malfunctioning blender” noises when we walks. He’s somewhere in between, and that raw talent doesn’t just evaporate, so it’s perfectly fine to think he’s in there, somewhere. He can still do this.
Last night, the night after it all went down, Cliff Lee was removed from the game–to give the Nationals a chance, I guess–and Charlie told Dom to grab some lumber. The angry young man strolled up there, “worked” an 0-2 count, then singled up the middle, sending “center fielder” John Mayberry to third.
He got his first Sam Perlozzo fist bump of 2012 and, upon being stranded on base, left the field without hurting himself.
The Phillies, if by necessity now, seem ready to let Dom do his thing, whatever that thing may be. The sound bytes from management all indicate that, once again, Dom is getting a shot, and once again, he better make the most of it.
"“We will play him. We’re going to put him out there and let him play.”—Charlie Manuel"
And the corrosive, oily scent of confidence is beginning to waft its way back into our nostrils. Dom Brown is here. And he is here to
"Brown said he never thought the Phillies stopped believing in him and he never stopped believing in himself.“Not at all. I really didn’t,” he said. “We’ve got some good guys up top and they let you know exactly what’s going on. They’ve been great. Did I always expect to be back up here? Oh, yeah.”—Paul Hagen, MLB.com"