Wally Joyner makes good first impression
by Scott Butler 3/2/13

Tell me everything you know about Phillies assistant hitting instructor Wally Joyner.

Time's up. If you were able to name more than two things, you win. I knew the name and guessed correctly that he played for the Padres and was a first baseman, but really didn't know a darn thing about the guy. To be honest, I don’t even really care.  More often than not, the worse you are as a player, the better you are as a coach. If that's the case, how did Greg Gross get fired? Oh, too soon? Sorry GG.  

In case you are interested, Wally Joyner was a first baseman who played for the Angels, Royals, Padres, and Braves. He is a career .289 hitter with 204 home runs, 973 runs scored, and 1,106 RBI.

Can we ever really know how good of a coach he will be? Probably not, but Wally Joyner's comments regarding Domonic Brown won me over pretty quickly. "We straightened his hands out a little bit, allowing his wrists to cock," Joyner said. "He's a big boy. He looks great. We want to take advantage of that size and leverage. That's one of the assets that Ryan Howard has. And he uses it. He has a lot of leverage. He stays behind it."

Brown was impressed, as well. "It seemed like God maybe sent an angel down toward me."

We can complain all we want about a hitting coach, but we don't really know jack unless we get to watch them work. Milt stunk because our good lineup wasn't good enough and GG stunk because a bad lineup actually was a bad lineup. My theory is to judge a book by its cover and not by the content of its character. If you don't like the way he looks he is probably a bad coach.

We can reasonably praise or blast Charlie because we see his moves and hear his decisions.  Since we don't see hitting coaches during BP, in the batting cages, or in the video room, we are essentially forced to base our opinions on stats and box scores.

But one area in which we can have somewhat of an informed opinion is on their comments. Milt Thompson and Greg Gross did not seem to offer much beyond the generic scripted answers. Why can’t Howard hit sliders?  Why does Jimmy pop up so much? What is up with Hunter Pence? We never heard those answers. It doesn’t mean they didn’t have the answers, though.

Wally Joyner, on the other hand, already made a great impression. We rarely are informed as fans on the technical details, so it was a pleasure hearing some of the X's and O's. It might be awful advice, but it sounded good and Dom seemed to like it.  Hopefully his new boss, Steve Henderson, is just as good, or least can fake it as well as Joyner.

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