(CSN Philly) — So there they were, Jeanmar Gomez and Brad Lidge, deep in conversation before Thursday morning’s workout, one longtime closer, one relative newcomer to the role, two members of a unique baseball fraternity bonded by high-wire adrenaline, the sweet euphoria of success and the spleen-splitting agony of failure.
“It’s really tough,” Lidge said of the emotional toll that the role can take on a closer when he lets a lead slip away and his team loses a ballgame. “You never want to feel like you’re letting your team down. I think for me when I wasn’t throwing well or when I’d have a bad game it was like, ‘Man, I let everybody else down.’”
Few know the elation that a closer can feel upon nailing down a tight game better than Lidge. He became a Phillies icon by going 48 for 48 in save chances then dropping to his knees and shouting, “Oh, my God, we just won the World Series,” one magic October night back in 2008.
He also knows the horse kick in the gut that comes with stumbling in the role. There is no safety net for a closer. Failure is completely deflating. Lidge felt plenty of that in 2009 when he followed up his storybook season with 11 blown saves, the most in the majors that year.
So Lidge can completely sympathize with what Gomez went through as the Phillies closer last year.
First of all, I loved Brad Lidge while he was a Phillie; even after he turned south in 2009, huge fan here. I got an autographed Brad Lidge World Series Jersey with a personalized note for Christmas in 2008 because my grandma knew his aunt (not to brag).
Honestly, I’m not sure what to think of this news. ’08 Lights Out Lidge was great and him sharing his experiences with those highs and the subsequent lows in the following years can do one of two things for Jeanmar. It will either be a nice cautionary tale as Jeanmar ran out of juice after the trade deadline or it scares the crap out of him. Jeanmar’s confidence is already shot after being removed from the closer’s designation in September and hearing Brade Lidge talk about how he lost game four of the 2009 World Series may not do much to improve that confidence. Hopefully, Lidge’s reflection on those dark times truly does give him the wisdom to pass along to Jeanmar. I’d love to see the Jeanmar of the 2016 first half in 2017 because he is so exciting to watch when he’s on. In all likelihood, the Phils won’t start off as hot as they did a year ago, so we’ll probably see less save situations.
How do you think Lidge’s pep-talk will affect Gomez and the rest of the bullpen? Let me know in comments and stay tuned for more Spring Training coverage!