Most of us aren’t going to remember April 3rd, 2018.
In a couple months – heck, a couple of weeks – this Tuesday will start blending in with other Tuesdays.
You went to work. You went to school. You thought about going to the gym. You made dinner. It wasn’t as healthy as you would have liked. You wondered if winter would ever end.
Wait, what Tuesday are we talking about again?
Tommy Pham isn’t most of us.
He will most definitely remember April 3rd, 2018.
Personally, I woke up this morning without a super strong opinion on the man.
Here are things I thought about Tommy Pham around 7am:
- He had a great 2017 and I hope he does even better in 2018
- He seems to have crazy good work ethic
- He paid his dues to earn a spot on the Cardinals
I’d be lying if I said I had special connection with the guy outside of him being a Cardinal and me rooting for the Cardinals.
Molina? Wainwright? Yeah, we’ve been through some things. Seen some stuff. Those are a couple ride or dies.
No offense, but 2017 wasn’t exactly a titillating campaign for the team. For him, sure. For us? We’ve all moved on.
And before 2017 Pham appeared to be destined to either A) never get a fair shot or B) have terrible luck we he did get a fair shot.
Things have changed.
Tuesday was a line in the sand for fans and Tommy Pham.
The headline said: “Tommy Pham waited forever to make it. Now, he’s got plenty to say about his journey.”
It’s rare when internet headlines undersell a story, but here we are.
Some choice cuts:
“I said, ‘You know what, I’m the best motherfucker on this team, and you guys don’t even know it,’” Pham told SI. “I said those exact words. They told me things happen, I’ll get some at bats. I just had to wear it.”
“We’re two weeks in, and I’m raking,” Pham told SI. “I’m hitting like .400. The big league team was 3–9, and all three outfielders were hitting .200. They tried Adams out there, and he’s a great hitter, but he just couldn’t play the outfield. So I’m like, They’re getting the reports every day, they know I’m raking. What the fuck? When are they gonna call me up? And then we’re three weeks in. The guys are still struggling, Grichuk, Dex [Dexter Fowler], Piscotty. And I’m still balling! So finally I said, They’re not gonna fucking call me up, fuck it, and I zoned out in Triple A. Every day I was just like, fuck this. I’ve made it to the big leagues, fuck it.”
“They said, ‘We believed you could do it all along.’ That’s the thing that’s so mind-boggling. I said, If that’s the fucking case, then why was I fucking demoted to Triple A? If that’s the case, why the fuck was I batting in the eight hole this year, behind the guy (Magneuris Sierra) who got fucking called up from high A (minors)? That shit, that’s that fake shit, man.”
Our dude was not shy.
Obviously I’m just cherry picking the juiciest parts of the article, so I encourage you to click over and read the whole piece.
It’s worth the read.
Mr. Pham doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder. He’s got a boulder. And some good reasons for it.
I like it.
He was really starting to win me over with his IDGAFness when he took his cell out on the field…
After this piece, though, I’m all in.
On Monday night, I think we all kind of wondered how Mr. Pham would play. How he’d react to the reaction.
Let’s just say that he completed a very full day.
I can also tell you that some people I know weren’t as plussed with Mr. Pham’s quotes in the SI piece.
Friend of the site @bosaun80 posted these words inside a chat thread I’m on (reprinted with his permission here):
Sometimes Pham inspires me with his no bullshit attitude, speaking his mind so candidly, his intensity, the chip on his shoulder.
Other times I think his anger is misplaced. He clearly has a grudge against the Cards organization, but he has to look in the mirror and/or chalk some things up to bad luck – like injuries, his eye condition. Maybe his numbers say he should’ve gotten the call sooner (maybe…), but that’s not always the way it works. Some guys have to wait their turn. And if you have to wait one season or even two to get your shot, sorry pal that’s not uncommon at all.
The facts look like this:
– In his first 5 seasons in the minors (2006-10), Tommy hit a combined .230.
– In his next 3 seasons in the minors (2011-13), Tommy played a total of 127 games.
– He earned promotions to MLB in 2014, 2015 & 2016, but he only hit a combined .245, and produced only 1.3 WAR over 136 big league games. In 2016, he produced a -0.1 WAR in 78 games.
While his statements might lead you to draw a contrary conclusion, the fact that Tommy Pham is 30 years old and making the league minimum has nothing to do with the St. Louis Cardinals.
If this is how he motivates himself, fine. You can believe whatever you wanna believe. But it serves no one but himself and his ego for him to go parading around in the media bashing the organization for things that in reality are baseless. He’s got a lot to learn about the biz side of the game. As far as how he conducts himself, I think he is who he is at this point. The Cardinals will manage it as best they can, and hope he is a positive influence in the clubhouse.
In that article, Pham talks about putting up “1.4 WAR in 150 ABs” in 2015. It was actually 1.5 WAR. And yes, if you take that out over a full season, that’s a big WAR number. But was that guaranteed? Hardly. And he fails to point out the -0.1 WAR he compiled in about the same number of ABs in 2016.
Does he have a point about his 2015 numbers? Maybe, yes. In this one instance he may have had an argument for not getting the credit or recognition he was due. But there are other factors a team has to consider with its roster than just extrapolating one guy’s small WAR sample size over a full season. Randal Grichuk was good for 3.2 WAR in 2015 in 323 ABs (slightly better WAR/AB than Pham). Jason Heyward produced 6.6 WAR in 2015. The cardinals also had Matt Holliday, a proven veteran that they were counting on coming back from a mid season injury. They had a young Stephen Piscotty who in 2015 slashed .305/.359/.494, compared to Pham’s .268/.347/.477.
But whatever motivates you Tommy. You go ahead and speak your mind.
Some solid numbers there.
He makes some points.
I’m still more with Tommy, though. I think his no BS approach is refreshing.
Others, are a little more leery of this scorched earth approach.
We’ll see how 2018 plays out.
I do know, however, that Tommy Pham had a memorable Tuesday.
A Tuesday that you might not forget as easily… because of Tommy Pham.