On his weekly spot with the Junkies on 106.7 last Wednesday Matt Williams was in full damage control mode. He finally realized that, while he might have improved his credibility as a manger by benching Bryce Harper, he did so at the expense of one of the most visible players in baseball. I think this is all part of his learning to be a good manager. By benching Bryce and then publicly criticizing and shaming him Williams announced to the world that they had an open season to criticize and write the hatchet jobs they were itching to do (cough Thomas Boswell.) From that moment on Williams was on a crusade to spin everything Bryce does as positive. He has realized what some of us figured out when Harper was named the most overrated player in baseball by his peers before the start of the season: There is a long line of people just waiting to attack Bryce and his manager should not be the guy leading the mob.
Here are the quotes from the interview:
“I would never ever want Bryce to hurt himself”
“He (Bryce) is a very important man on this team”
“We love the fact that Bryce was turning 2nd going to 3rd”
“He is vital part of team and our success”
“I’m a fan (of Bryce) too. I am a big fan. I get a chance to see him on an everyday basis away from the media. All the things he has to deal with, so I’m a big fan too”
“I think he is going to have a long and productive career. He is so young and so talented that will just happen “