Goggles Make Jason the Phillips to Keep? Maybe not

Prior to the Mets' game on May 23rd, I wrote an article speaking of the great power of the then-torrid goggles of new Met first basemen Jason Phillips. The commentary was published here at NYFO, and I felt proud that I was able to identify such a small yet powerful detail. I thought at the time there was nothing more powerful than the super-specs of the 26-year-old recent call up. Boy was I wrong.

After Phillips went 0-11 this weekend in Atlanta and 1-6 so far in the two games in Philadelphia against the Phillies, I found something much more powerful than the goggles: me.

You see, Jason Phillips was hitting .374 coming into this series with Atlanta this weekend. Now, with the two series almost complete, the catcher turned first basemen is batting .261. That is a 113-point drop off. He had a hit in every game he had started at first base for the Mets, and was lighting a fire under their collective offensive butts. Not anymore.

With the bases loaded and no outs on Saturday, Phillips hit into a double play. Yes, it brought in a run, but when you're down 10-0 at the time, one run doesn't bring you within striking distance. Phillips had one RBI this weekend- it came on a ground out. He went hitless on Monday and finally broke his stretch on Tuesday- he lined a single to left- then was thrown out on a double play ball hit by Ty Wigginton.

So, with his struggles continuing, I feel as if I am obligated not only to Phillips but also to the entire Mets organization, along with Mets fans everywhere, to try and exorcise Phillips' demons. I've never really done an exorcism before- I've seen the movie, but I feel that I don't have the practice to handle little girls with their head spinning (although that is what most Mets fans feel like these days), nor am I particularly willing to hurl myself from a window to break the spell (although I get the temptation to while watching some of these games).

Thus, I'm going to need some help to remove my deadly curse from the lumber of Jason Phillips. Pedro Cerano of the Major League series, please feel free to contact me. Anyone else reading this, if you have any ideas on how to help me out, please contact me at JDZakarin@yahoo.com . I'll try them all, and post the best ones. I'll be waiting anxiously for your response. So will Jason Phillips.

Below is the original article:
Friday, May 23, 2003

Since rookie Jason Phillips has taken over the starting job at first base for the Mets, the team is 4-2, good for a .750 winning percentage. Coincidence? I think not. Phillips is hitting .379 with one homer and four RBI to go along with great defensive work at first base, a position he only dabbled with in the minor leagues. With Mike Piazza and Mo Vaughn out of the lineup, Phillips has assumed the number three hitters' role, putting up a better average than either of the two veterans.

The question is, thus, what leads to Phillips' great success? Looking at his vitals, nothing stands out. He has average size at 6-1, weighs in at 177 lbs, an average figure that is nearly doubled by his first base predecessor, and is 26 years old, an age exceeded by most Mets. So, what is the key to Jason Phillips' magic?

If you take one look at the second Met catcher making the switch to first base, you'll notice something no scouting report reveals: the goggles. Phillips dons a pair of half-sunglass, half-swimmers goggle amalgamation over his eyes, which have proved to be picky, as evidenced by his .393 on base percentage. There is no doubt that the goggles are the key to his success.

Sure, you may say, his talent may have something to do with his awe-inspiring play. Perhaps, but a lot of talented players have failed to produce once coming to the Mets (cough Roberto Alomar cough). You could say that it has to do with hard work. Well, New York has shown that hard work does not always pay off (cough Roger Cedeño cough). This leaves no other viable options: it has to be the goggles.

With that said, why not buy the whole team a pair of the new generation Wonder Boy? They could certainly help the team's batting eye right off the bat. But beyond that, the goggles obviously hold mystical powers. If the team is playing so well with one player wearing them, think about the possible performance of a whole team wearing the Wonder Boy of goggles. Do I hear World Series Champs, 2003?

To take it one step further, I think it would be prudent of the Mets to buy a pair for all their minor leaguers. Shortstop Jose Reyes is already the number one prospect in baseball; it boggles the mind what he could do with Phillips' goggles. Scott Kazmir is on the fast track to the major leagues; with the goggles he could approach Syd Finch status. David Wright and Justin Huber, the bash brothers of A St. Lucie would barrage the long fences of the Florida St. League en route to domination of AA Binghamton.

I could go on to name every player in the organization and how they would rush to the top of Baseball America's Top Prospect list so quickly that they would have to expand it, but the exercise would be futile. We all know how magical the goggles are, and now so must the Mets. It's time for a little luck in this organization, and so I say, let there be goggles.

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