He was the Morning Mayor of March.
Jamie Moyer had off-season surgery to repair the torn groin and abdominal muscles that ended his 2009 season. There were some complications that landed him back in the hospital and Charlie Manuel wanted his spring training to proceed slowly. And early.
Early as in that ubiquitous staple of early spring training known as the “B” game, with its 10 a.m. start and cast of players soon destined for minor league assignment with their linebacker and offensive tackle numbers.
In his first two Milkman’s Matinees, Moyer faced Blue Jays hitters whose combined uniform numbers totaled something like 595. Jamie’s a.m. opponent was always the Phillies’ Pinellas County cousins, the Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto trains in Dunedin in a ballpark and complex just 5 miles from Bright House Field.
His third appearance against the Blue Jays was in Dunedin. Manager Cito Gaston had sent a gaggle of high-number players to the minor league complex. On a cold morning Moyer faced a lineup whose numbers added up to more like 125. The mix of regulars and future 25-man roster guys roped Jamie’s soft assortment of stealth all over the yard. “That’s going to happen when I don’t hit my spots,” Moyer shrugged. “And today, I obviously didn’t.”
Yesterday, the man who could not blacken Mother Nature’s eye with his fastball faced Toronto’s regulars once again. This time it counted.