- The Philadelphia Phillies’ run to the World Series has been defined by chaotic comebacks and huge home runs.
- But at the center of the team is a cool, calm, and collected leader — manager Rob Thomson.
- Whether it’s crucial pitching decisions or reacting to astounding plays, Thomson never gets too high or too low.
PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Phillies’ unlikely run to the World Series has been defined by chaos.
As the last team to qualify for the postseason out of the National League, the Phillies entered every series as underdogs and yet, have found ways to win again and again and again. Now, they find themselves facing off against the Houston Astros with a title on the line.
Unbelievable comebacks, towering home runs, and possibly the most clutch hit in the history of the city of Philadelphia all helped the Phillies get to this point, and they sent fans across the city of Brotherly Love into hysterics in the process.
But at the center of the Phillies storm of confidence is the cool, calm, and collected eye of manager Rob Thomson.
Thomson didn’t start the year as the leader of this team — elevated to interim manager after the Phillies fired Joe Girardi in early June after a 22-29 start to the year.
Under Thomson, the team caught fire, making a run to the playoffs and now the World Series. While the excitement has enraptured the players and fans of Philadelphia, Thomson is never one to lose his cool.
“I mean, if anybody knows Rob he’s the most even-keeled guy out there,” Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola said ahead of his World Series Game 1 start. “He never gets too up. He never gets too down. I feel like that’s our team.”
Thomson’s cool is on display both in the way he reacts to the action on the field, and the way he manages his players.
Back in Game 1 of the Wild Card round against the St. Louis Cardinals, the Phillies found their backs against the wall, trailing 2-0 heading into the top of the ninth inning. But the Phillies found some offense in their final three outs, first loading the bases and then taking a hit-by-pitch to score their first run of the night. The bases were still loaded for second baseman Jean Segura, who entered the game as the longest-tenured major league player yet to have made a postseason appearance.
Segura slapped a hit past the Cardinals infield and brought home more two runs, sparking what would ultimately be a six-run inning and swiping victory from the jaws of defeat.
—Philadelphia Phillies (@Phillies) October 7, 2022
The hit obviously got the Phillies dugout going, but in the middle of it all, Thomson remained stoic as ever.
That is not the look of a man who is in the midst of leading a plucky group of underdogs to postseason glory.
That is the look of a man wondering if he missed his number being called while waiting for his hoagie at Wawa. He doesn’t want to make a fuss — they’re busy back there after all — but it sure has been a long time he’s been waiting.
Thomson’s demeanor remains calm even in moments of pure celebration. From the locker room party the Phillies had after officially making the postseason to the revelry that followed their National League pennant, Thomson has offered his players a simple message: There’s still more work to be done.
It’s up to his players to shower him in champagne right before “Dancing On My Own” kicks in on the locker room stereo.
—John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) October 24, 2022
While it might be easy to appear calm in moments of celebration, the moments where Thomson’s demeanor has truly shone this postseason have been when the pressure is highest.
In Game 1 of the World Series, the Phillies found themselves in a 5-0 hole early. After Philadelphia stormed back to tie things up 5-5 in top of the fifth inning, Thomson needed to turn to his bullpen to finish out the game.
Given the depth of the Astros bullpen, and the general weight of the World Series, every decision Thomson would make regarding the management of his pitching staff would be under the microscope.
Thomson handed the ball over to Jose Alvarado, one of the top two relievers in the Phillies bullpen, to finish out the fifth inning. In using Alvarado so early, Thomson was pushing all-in — the Phillies would need to win this game, or else they would have burned a work day from one of their best players.
Alvarado got the Phillies the three outs they needed, and from there Thomson passed the mound to Zach Eflin, Ranger Suarez, Seranthony Dominguez in turn to get through the bottom of the ninth inning without allowing the Astros another run.
A home run by J.T. Realmuto gave the Phillies a 6-5 lead in the top of the 10th, and David Robertson closed things out, securing the final three outs and a Phillies win.
In decision after decision, Thomson has pushed the right buttons during this postseason run for the Phillies, and helped corral what appears to be a swashbuckling crew of big hitters and chaos agents into a formidable baseball team.
—matt (@PanasonicDX4500) October 24, 2022
The Phillies — and the city, at large — are riding high off of vibes right now. Red October has bled into November, and the poles that line Broad Street are once again being greased in futile preparation for what might come. On the field, Bryce Harper has been coming up clutch and urging the city to roar along with him.
—FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) October 23, 2022
Through it all, Thomson’s cool has served as a counterbalance.
—Bryanna Gallagher (@BGallagherTV) October 27, 2022
If the Phillies, who are tied 1-1 against Houston, get hot this week at Citizens Bank Park, one thing is likely: Thomson will stay cool.
After the Phillies comeback in Game 1 against the Astros, Thomson was asked how he felt about his first experience managing a team in the World Series.
“Well, we won, so it was great,” Thomson said with a wry smile.