(Ahh the good old days. Sigh)
No, this isn't another post about how the Yankees should trade Phil or move him to the bullpen or send him to Triple-A or any of that. This is on a much deeper and more personal level than simple baseball strategy. Over a year ago, when I was slightly less mature than I am today, some of you may recall this post introducing my list of official Yankee man crushes. Since that day, the AB4AR Man Crush Hall of Fame has been a staple of the sidebar of this site, if you scroll down far enough to find it. Phil Hughes was part of the first class elected into the Man Crush HOF, mainly because he was the first prospect I really followed closely through the system. Inclusion the AB4AR Man Crush HOF is supposed to be a lifetime award, but after the last 1.5-2 years of subpar performances from Hughes, my feelings have changed. I've been trying to fight it for a while now, but I just can't lie to myself anymore. Phil, I think it would be for the best if I officially uncrushed you, removed you from the Man Crush HOF, and we both went our separate ways.
Now I know what you're going to say. You can change. Things can get better. You're working with a "reliever's mentality" now. And that's great. But it's not you, it's me. I just don't feel that spark anymore when I see you. Those butterflies that used to be there in my stomach when you took the mound are long gone, replaced only by feelings of loneliness and longing for the Phil Hughes I once loved. You've changed, Phil. You might not think you have but you have. I can see it. And I know I've changed. I've felt the distance growing between us for some time now, and rather than try to carry on this facade, I think it's best if we just separate now before anybody gets hurt.
Look, you're a great guy, Phil. And an OK pitcher (sort of). But I can't hold myself back waiting for you anymore. What we had was great, and what we could have had could have been even better, but I need more. I need a pitcher who can locate his fastball more consistently. I need a pitcher who knows how to sequence his pitches multiple times through a lineup. I need a pitcher who's not afraid to throw his offspeed stuff when the situation calls for it. And I'm just not getting what I need from you. I'm still young, I've got a lot of man crush love to give, and I don't want to miss out on those other opportunities. CC has been around for a few years now, and I've kinda had this thing for him for a while. And Ivan has really started to come into his own.
I'm sorry. I shouldn't even be mentioning other pitchers to you. I know that's unfair. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and I wanted to be honest with you about how I feel. We can still be friends. I'm sure I'll still talk about you on the blog from time to time. But I can't keep pretending that everything is fine when it's not. I don't love you anymore, Phil. There, I said it. I'm sorry, I just had to. I don't love you.
We'll always the memories of your near no-hitter in Texas, Game 3 of the '07 ALDS, and the first half of 2010. I can never forget those memories. But they're in the past, and I can't live in the past anymore. I can't make excuses for you or myself. I have to move on with my man crush life. And don't think this is easy for me, because it's not. It might be the hardest thing I've ever had to do as a Yankee fan. But it has to be done.
Phil, you're officially OUT of the AB4AR Man Crush Hall of Fame. Goodbye.