Moyer offers perspective to first-timers
Veteran lefty in LCS for just second time in 22-year career
MILWAUKEE -- Throughout most of Sunday's champagne celebration at Miller Park, Phillies starter Jamie Moyer stood off to one corner, chatting quietly with a small group of bystanders. He was happy -- delighted even -- but subdued. And his eyes regularly wandered toward the younger players, most of them dousing each other with beer and champagne.
"They probably don't look at it from my perspective," Moyer said. "I didn't look at it like that at their age, and I can't expect them to. But I try to parlay to them that this is a great opportunity, and to respect and appreciate the opportunity that we do have."
"Not many people have this opportunity, whether you play a couple of months, a couple of years or you play a long time," Moyer said. "And I really feel like the older I've gotten, I've learned to appreciate it more. I think that comes with age and maturity."
Moyer has both, and so he's taken it upon himself to diffuse as much perspective into the clubhouse as he can. It's not that the Phillies are a particularly young team -- they're not. But they are inexperienced when it comes to postseason play, having made it to October just once -- last year -- as a unit.
Some have edged quite close to the ultimate goal. Moyer, for one, made it all the way to the American League Championship Series in 2001, before the Yankees downed his Mariners in five games. Closer Brad Lidge played in the Fall Classic in 2006 with the Astros, but hasn't been back to the postseason. And seven other active Phillies have been to the playoffs with other teams, though just one, reserve outfielder So Taguchi, has ever won a World Series ring.
Now they're all piling into the National League Championship Series together, hoping to down the Dodgers and take that final step. And they have no past reference with which to gauge their chances.
"For a lot of us -- for most of us -- it's the first time we're going to be there," shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. "But we don't feel like we should be looking at anything less than the World Series. It's a lot of work and it's not going to be easy, but we're not here just to get to the playoffs. We're here to win."
|"They probably don't look at it from my perspective. I didn't look at it like that at their age, and I can't expect them to. But I try to parlay to them that this is a great opportunity, and to respect and appreciate the opportunity that we do have."|
|-- Jamie Moyer|
"It's going to be tough," Lidge said of the showdown with the Dodgers. "They're going to have to make adjustments to us, and we're going to have to make adjustments back. We're going to have to do a lot of scouting over the next couple of days."
They'll have to put in extra work and extra preparation to achieve some extra results. They know that. And for all their playoff inexperience, most of the Phillies don't seem to need a lecture on what this all means.
Consider Rollins and Pat Burrell, longtime teammates who insist they always believed that the Phillies would make it this far. Consider Brett Myers, who has given the team seven years of service without any playoff dividends. Or perhaps Geoff Jenkins, who played a decade in the big leagues without even sniffing October.
"It's crazy, man," Jenkins said. "If you've been here long enough, you definitely envision this, because it's what you want to happen."
That perspective is difficult to find amongst players who are new to this whole thing, who assume that every postseason chance will be just one of many. Luck and free agency tend to promote that notion. And so eight wins shy of a World Series title, Moyer wants to ensure that his teammates realize this might be their only chance.
"It's not even just the playoffs," Moyer said. "You have to appreciate where you are, and appreciate the opportunity that you have."
"And I think they do."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.