By Doug Miller / MLB.comWhen Brett Myers struggled mightily in the summer of the 2008 season, the mercurial Phillies starter agreed to be optioned to the Minor Leagues to figure things out.
Three weeks later, Myers returned with better mechanics, a fresh mind and maybe just a little bit more humility, and he went 7-4 with a 3.06 ERA after the All-Star break to help pitch the Phillies into the postseason.
The demotion clearly produced its intended result.
"I think it made him sit back and reevaluate everything, where he was in his professional career," said Mike Boswell, Myers' coach at Englewood High in Jacksonville, Fla. "He handled it very maturely. In years past, he might have failed altogether and not recovered. But he went down and fixed it. He knew he had it in there."
"He probably would have looked anywhere but at himself to place the blame," Boswell added. "But he never did that. The times I talked to him, he always put the blame on himself. He never once pointed fingers at anyone else."
Myers didn't have any problems admitting that during a press conference the day before his Game 2 start against the Rays in the World Series.
"I knew that I needed to go down and take responsibility for how I was pitching," Myers said. "I needed to get it right. In order for me to be successful, I needed to figure things out, and I did. And it was good for me and I think for the team, because I was able to come back with some confidence and be able to pitch in bigger games, and kind of got the feel back for starting pitching again."
Myers and Boswell maintain a close relationship that affords the veteran coach the opportunity to look into his former player's psyche. In fact, Myers invited Boswell and his two teenage sons up to Philly for Games 3 and 4 of the Fall Classic.
Boswell was happy to report that the once hot-tempered and moody Myers has mellowed and matured considerably.
"I've known him since he was 12 years old in middle school," Boswell said, "and I think that he's a guy that had so much success at a young age that he didn't know how to handle it.
"Getting married matured him a lot and having two kids has been an eye-opener. Now, he's not only a big league baseball player, but a husband and a father. Kim, his wife, has been a big influence to him, and his dad is still around, too. They've all helped teach him to be a man."
Boswell recalled that Myers wasn't necessarily stubborn when he was young, just talented and driven to an extreme degree. The hard-throwing right-hander posted an 82 record and a 0.80 ERA over 78 innings during his senior year at Englewood High before being taken by the Phillies with the 12th overall pick in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft.
"He was just so competitive to be the best, and at the high school level, he was always one of the top players," Boswell said. "He never really went through that period of struggling. So my job was to keep him healthy and motivated and to make sure he got better and better."
That progress helped Myers become a valued starter for the 2008 World Series champions.
"I know he's very excited for everyone on his team and excited that he got to be a big part of it down the stretch," Boswell said. "He's on a big high right now. And I'm very proud of him."
Doug Miller is a Senior Writer for MLB.com/Entertainment. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.