YOU HAVE TO SAY this for Mitch Williams: He has made a remarkable transition from "Wild Thing" World Series goat closer to popular, opinionated analyst.
The pitcher who infamously gave up Joe Carter's World Series-winning home run ball in 1993 somehow transitioned into a likable figure in Philadelphia who currently works as an analyst for MLB Network. Williams, however, is not as popular inside the Phillies clubhouse.
The TV personality took to the radio yesterday morning. Williams ripped into Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee on SportsRadio 94-WIP's morning show.
Williams called for a "new voice" for the Phillies' pitching staff, saying he sees things their pitchers are doing mechanically that aren't being addressed.
"As a pitching coach, you can't sit and look at that film and not pick that up," Williams said. "If you can't pick that up, there's a problem."
Dubee told reporters yesterday that there was a brief dustup this spring, when he told Williams not to get involved with talking to his pitchers. He also called for Williams to submit a resumé if he wants to be a pitching coach.
But the unofficial leader of the Phillies' pitching staff was a bit stronger and more calculated with his words. Roy Halladay called Williams both "out of line" and "a little bit arrogant."
"Coming from the mechanical wonder," Halladay said of Williams. "I strongly disagree. To come from a guy who's not around, who's not involved in the conversations, who honestly has no idea what's going on - he really doesn't; he has no idea what's going on - for coaches and players to make comment like that, it's completely out of line.
"Rich Dubee, when I first came over [from the Blue Jays], he taught me a changeup. If I didn't have that, I wouldn't have had the success I had. Especially dealing with the injuries I dealt with, if I didn't have that pitch, if I didn't have him working with me, I really would have been in a lot of trouble.
"In my opinion, I think it's a statement that I feel like he has to make amends for, I really do. There are very few pitching coaches that I respect more than Rich Dubee. Watching Kyle Kendrick, the stuff that he's learned, the way that he's grown, it's because of Rich Dubee, and it's because of his work ethic and the way he goes about things.
"It really does upset me. It upsets me that guys outside of our group of guys that don't understand what's going on make comments like that. Hopefully, it's something he'll learn from. I'm not sure if that's the case, but he couldn't be further the truth, and I don't think it's the first time he's been off base."
Halladay is correct.
Last summer, Williams used his voice on MLB Network to repeatedly call for the Phillies to trade lefthander Cole Hamels, who was set to become a free agent at the end of the season.
"I don't see any chance of him being a Phillie after this year, because of the amount of money he's going to command," Williams reiterated in an interview on 97.5 The Fanatic last season.
In July, the Phillies signed Hamels to a 6-year, $144 million contract.
"I've heard him criticize a lot of guys for mechanics, and, for a guy who has never been a [major league] pitching coach, I mean, I wouldn't do that," Halladay said of Williams, who was a pitching coach for the now-defunct Atlantic City Surf from 2002 to '03. "I wouldn't go and look at any player in the major leagues and say, 'Well he should do it this way.' I just don't understand where that comes from, I really don't. You know, former players, guys that had certain success doing it a certain way; there is no one way to do things. And to think that you know the one way to do it, it's a little bit arrogant. And I think he's criticized quite a few guys in the past on mechanics.
"It's something I would never do . . . What matters is your success and how guys get it done. It's not [always] mechanical, it's a matter of confidence, there are a lot of things that go into it. I really feel he's wrong on this one. I'm sure he's not a bad guy; I'm sure he's trying to do the best he can at his job, but I really feel like he was kind of off the mark on this one."