One of the players first affected by the Houston Astros’ sabermetric-focused rebuild earlier this decade, pitcher-turned-country singer Brett Myers — fresh off releasing his newest album, Home Brewed — can only scoff at the numbers-driven movement as he watches his former team prepare for the American League Championship Series.
“You look at the Astros and you see Carlos Correa, you see Jose Altuve, you see (Justin Verlander), you see (Dallas Keuchel) – you don’t need numbers to tell you how good those guys are,” Myers told the Inquisitr by phone on Wednesday. “I’m old school! I don’t need to look at WAR (Wins Above Replacement) when I can look at batting average, ERA, wins and losses – the important stats.”
The 2008 World Series champion and former Philadelphia Phillies workhorse remains outspoken, though he’s taken his talents from the mound to the recording booth. The 12th overall pick by the Phillies in the 1999 MLB Draft from Jacksonville, Myers made his MLB debut as a 21-year-old in 2002 and helped the franchise to three straight postseason berths from 2007-09, winning a World Series in 2008.
After an arm injury ended his career in 2013, Myers retired back to Florida to raise his family but was presented with an opportunity shortly thereafter during a golf game.
“I was playing golf with a friend of mine one day who played a friend of mine who was in Puddle of Mudd and Burn Season (Damien Starkey). I had some ideas I ran by him and he thought it was great. We ran with it. I was writing songs and he was producing and he wanted me to sing. I said, ‘I don’t even sing in the shower, man!'”
Having been interested in music for years, Myers agreed to sing the songs, though an idea of drinking three or four beers before hopping in the booth was turned down. Although his initial EP, Backwoods Rebel, is best known for “Kegerator,” Myers said that one of his first songs, “Beer Hand Strong,” was named when the 2008 World Champion was cooking steaks on the grill.
“You need a strong beer hand!” Myers said with a chuckle.
Only promoting his songs through social media, Myers found success and support from both country music artists — Myers said he prefers the Uncle Kracker, storytelling and beer-guzzling style of country (Myers and Kracker played a concert together, the pitcher said) to the newer, “country pop” — and his fans from Philadelphia.
At least, some of his fans, as Myers explained.
“Well, it wasn’t entirely positive, but everybody is going to have an opinion. If 50 percent of people say they love it and 50 percent say they hate it, great. We can see where people are downloading the albums from. It’s crazy that I’m from Florida here and I have people in California buying my music or people in New York or people in Montana. I’m going, ‘man, that is absolutely crazy!'”
Although Myers hasn’t pitched in a Phillies uniform since the 2009 World Series, he keeps a close eye on the organization and seems happy with the team’s current rebuilding direction. The Phillies have not made the playoffs since 2011, their last time posting a winning season.
Having been drafted when the Phillies were still working on a return to contention, Myers advised the team’s fans to be prepared for a few more years of losing.
“I was part of a rebuild, most of those players on winning teams were drafted by Ed Wade; Pat Gillick added a few pieces here. The fans have to be patient because it could be three to four years. I know the Phillies lost some prospects trading for Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee to kind of have that ‘Fearsome Five’ rotation where you pretty much had an ace out there every day. It was crazy.”
Myers left Philadelphia for Houston following an injury-plagued 2009 season, spending nearly three seasons in the Lone Star State before a 2012 trade to the Chicago White Sox. His first year with the Astros saw Myers pitch to a career-best 3.14 ERA in 223.2 innings, finishing tenth in National League Cy Young voting.
Even as he enjoys a successful country music career, his frustration with the Astros still seems to sting, especially after they moved him to the bullpen for that 2012 season.
“You know, I threw 440 innings my first two years and they moved me to the bullpen to close, which I hadn’t done since 2007. I was a 32-year-old closer! My contract was a two-year deal with an option (which contained incentives that could push a potential $28 million dollar contract up to $29.5) and they didn’t want to pay me. I wasn’t happy but I didn’t have much say.”
Myers did say that if he’d been asked to take part in “bullpenning,” a method made popular by MLB Network’s Brian Kenny where elite relief pitchers start a game and pitch three or four outs before a starter pitches later in the games, he’d do it because that was his job.
Myers also admitted to not being surprised by ex-players being passed up for managerial roles and front office jobs because they lack the Ivy League degrees needed in a sabermetric-driven workplace. Such is an issue that Major League Baseball executives have tried to navigate through, with MLB Player’s Association head Tony Clark outspoken about lack of minority candidates in each department.
But, Myers said, teams should always go with smart people, citing ex-teammate A.J. Hinch — a Stanford graduate now managing the Houston Astros — as a prime example.
It’s rarely a surprise when musicians write and sing about events going on in the world, but Myers isn’t likely to join Eminem (as the Inquisitr discussed earlier yesterday) in supporting those against the anthem through song. Asked his views on those currently protesting the anthem, Myers made his feelings clear.
“Stand for the anthem. It’s not that hard. If you want to protest, protest, but don’t protest the very flag that allows you to protest. People are protesting Trump because they’re pissed he won. That’s what I think.”
Myers’ newest album, Home Brewed, is available for purchase on iTunes and can be streamed through outlets such as Spotify. With his parting words, Myers, who can be followed on Twitter at @BackWoodRebel39, advises all of his fans to follow their dreams.
Note: Some of Myers’ comments were edited for clarity or length.
[Featured Image by Chris Trotman/Getty Images]