While many baseball fans are testing out various World Series betting strategies, Phillies diehards are sat scratching their heads. After a gut wrenching end to the 2021 campaign, the team immediately started cleaning house. In the process, they hired a very familiar face as their new hitting coach. That man is Kevin Long and if you don’t know why this move was so surprising, don’t panic. Here’s a look back at the bumpy relationship between Long and his new boss.
Our story begins way back in 2008. Long was the hitting coach for the New York Yankees and coming off of an incredible year that saw his batters rank first in the MLB in pretty much every metric possible. Alex Rodriguez won the MVP award and the team had a trio of silver sluggers. But then, a wild Joe Girardi appeared.
The Yankees took a bit of a step back the next season, but that didn’t really do much to stop them bouncing back and winning another World Series one year later. Girardi and Long would spend seven seasons together in New York before Long was fired in 2014.
After a brief stint with the Mets (way to rub salt in the wound), he joined the Washington Nationals where he would guide another star-studded lineup to glory. What’s weird here is that Joe Dillon was Long’s assistant during his tenure. For those who are unsure of the significance of this, Dillon would join the Phillies in 2020 and was among those recently fired. So the Phillies canned the assistant coach of their new hire? That’s kind of like selling your old car because it was unreliable, only to buy a model from the exact same manufacture because it has heated seats.
If that wasn’t strange enough, Girardi and Long almost got into actual fight after the Phillies manager charged the mound for a very strange reason. Max Scherzer…adjusted his hair…and Girardi seemed to think that was enough evidence to demand a third inspection from the umpire, despite this bizarre claim already being shut down twice.
Scherzer unsurprisingly passed and turned his eyes to Girardi, which may have caused the biggest nibble possible, in tandem with his former hitting coach who wasn’t happy with his behavior. Girardi stormed onto the field yelling at Kevin Long and it very rapidly became a WWE-like scenario.
The two are no strangers to scandals and cheating after some bumpy times in New York, so it may have been that Long was getting a good kick out of seeing Girardi on the other end of the bat…quite literally. It could’ve all been overblown in the heat of the moment and the two could be BFFL’s again…but it does seem a little weird that months later, they’re on the same staff again.
It’s going to be interesting to see how one of the most chaotic duos possible get on in Philadelphia. There’s years of history, a near-fight, and Girardi running back to an old flame after firing a mutual friend. Surely this is a perfect recipe for success.
Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire