Jim Salisbury along with Todd Zolecki do some nice work covering the Phils, but we have to disagree 100% with the former's assessment of the latest Brett Myers kerfuffle on the (web)pages of the Philly Inqy today. According to Salibury, Brett Myers had this to say to the media in reference to Pat Gillick's overcited remarks about the Phils not being good enough:
"Hearing that is irritating, man," Myers said after a workout yesterday. "I don't know if it's reverse psychology or if he's selling us short, like the fans. I'm not 100 percent sure where he's coming from.
"But nobody should be happy about it. How can you be happy when someone says you're not good? If guys took it the way I did, it should [tick] them off. It should motivate them to want to show him something."
Great. Those of us looking for a breakout season from a more mature Myers have already been put on notice. Halfway through February, the starting pitcher with the highest ceiling on the staff is quite upset about the shruggable. By getting upset in the pre-preseason, Myers is already proving WIP's Mike Missenelli right when the midday co-host says things like "To me, there's nothing cool about the guy." This is the 2006 season's version of I HAD X NUMBER OF WINS! Which of course is what we all wanted to hear going into an already iffy spring training.
But Salisbury and our beef intersect later in the article when the writer asserts the following:
You also have to like the fight and the resolve Myers is showing. It even sounds a little like leadership. In his conversation with Gillick last month, he assured the GM that he took a No. 1 starter's mind-set to the mound every fifth day. He went to bat for fellow staff member Jon Lieber.
Actually, no it doesn't sound like leadership at all. Leadership should never be mistaken for emotion. This is the same problem Myers has on the mound. When he gets upset, he begins to pitch like he's upset. He begins to ride adreniline closer to the 100 mph mark. He gets away from what serves him best. He, in effect, throws a fit worthy not of a champion, but a frustrated contender. Leadership and coolness must always be on close terms. Aaron Rowand is not getting upset. Ryan Howard is not throwing a fit when people repeatedly say he can't hit lefties. Jimmy Rollins is not complaining that he is being dogged for underproducing for 3/4 of the year. For a closer representation of leadership, take a look at Chase Utley's reaction:
"I wasn't offended by what he said," said Chase Utley, another early arriver to camp. "I think Pat was only being honest. He's saying we need a little more help. I don't necessarily agree, but he's the guy who runs the show."
Arriving early and not being distracted from the job at hand is leadership. Understanding and being respectfully concilatory show leadership. Focus and accountibility are hallmarks of leadership. So far, with the 2006 preseason not even underway, Brett Myers is not exhibiting growth, maturation, or leadership. He is already making us nervous.