In Philadelphia, Shane Victorino was in the transactions column as the latest Phillie to go down with an injury and the assumption was that Mayberry would be getting a call to the majors. Mayberry was hitting just .257 at the time, and the Phillies decided to go in a different direction; phenom Domonic Brown was headed to Philadelphia.
At that moment, Mayberry saw a player younger than him, who has not only moved through the minors at quick speed and passed him on all of those virtual depth charts that are out there, but he realized that time was leaving him behind. Brown was 26 years old and was being lapped by younger players. That's not supposed to happen to a guy of his age, especially considering how highly touted Mayberry had been when he was Brown's age. Even Greg Golson, the guy the Phillies gave up to get Mayberry and three years younger, was in the majors with the New York Yankees.
|John Mayberry Jr wipes shaving cream pie off of his face after driving in the winning run against Houston in the season opener.|
(Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
In Friday's opener, Mayberry stepped to the plate with bases loaded and one out in a tie game, knowing that he only needed a decent fly ball to win the season opener for the Phillies. In some terms, that's all he delivered; a lazy fly ball to not-too-deep center field, but in other terms, it was enough. It sailed over Michael Bourn's head and bounced off the Citizens Bank Park grass. Officially, just a single, but it came with an RBI that gave the Phillies a 5-4 win over the Houston Astros and a 1-0 start to the season.
Rather than sitting alone in the clubhouse, Mayberry was surrounded by major league teammates and reporters, wiping the remnants of a shaving cream pie off of his face. It was a far cry from that lonely day in the crowded Lehigh Valley clubhouse. It also cemented the route that Mayberry had chosen in his career. He was going to do everything possible to make sure he never again felt that sting of a younger player surpassing him for a free ride to the big city.