Former Philadelphia Phillies‘ closer and current MLB Network analyst Mitch Williams recently appeared on a Philadelphia sports talk radio station. He called for current Phillies’ pitching coach Rich Dubee to be fired because he’s no longer effective.
All sports talk programs clearly want to stir the pot. WIP (94 FM) in Philadelphia WIP has long been recognized for the excellence of its bitter verbal cuisine.
Williams’ infamous presence on the mound during Game 6 of the 1993 World Series is legendary for many multi-layered reasons. Hardcore Phillies’ fans are hesitant to reference that Fall Classic opponent (Roy Halladay’s original employer), the name of the fated batter that ‘Wild Thing’ faced or the dramatic outcome of that final game. Let’s just say that ‘Macho Row’ was knocked down that day and leave it at that.
Lingering memories of how Williams answered every media member’s postgame questions and never deflected blame enabled him to eventually be forgiven (and even embraced) by a brutal fan base. Everyone knew that number 99 was out of gas long before those three blue birds crossed the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning. The shockingly sobering images of that far off night still nix what appeared to be certain championship destiny.
Dubee’s role as head of the modern pitching staff was basically halved during the offseason when general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. decided to promote Triple-A pitching coach Rod Nichols to become the Phillies’ major league bullpen coach this year. After also promoting Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs hitting coach Steve Henderson to become the Phillies’ hitting coach last fall, Amaro then hired Wally Joyner as an assistant hitting coach.
A variety of big league teams have chosen to specialize their coaching staff in response to the perceived needs of today’s players. In so doing, each organization offers itself potential flexibility for future employee adjustments.
Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia Insider Jim Salisbury reported that Dubee and Halladay reacted negatively to Williams’ call for Dubee’s coaching badge, which was expected.
If this becomes Charlie Manuel’s final Phillies’ season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see his longtime pitching coach leave as well. While Dubee’s current effectiveness is challenging to measure and he might not be a target for termination, Williams’ opinion shouldn’t simply be dismissed.