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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Billy Wagner did not have a good relationship with Phillies fans, and that’s putting it lightly.
The perception of the closer among fans sits somewhere in between that of Scott Rolen and JD Drew. Looking back on it all, Wagner is taking some responsibility for that.
“At that point in my career, I was just a turd,” Wagner told 94WIP’s Anthony Gargano and Glen Macnow. “Being, 27, 28 years old, I don’t know how old I was.”
Wagner was traded to the Phillies by the Astros prior to the 2004 season. He was coming off a season in which he was dominant, with a 1.78 ERA and 44 saves.
Wagner wrote a book about his life and the paths he took called “A Way Out: Faith, Hope, and Love of The Game.” (get the book on Amazon)
“Going through that was probably one of the greatest things that happened because I was able to sit there and look back and go ‘God, man I could have handled that so much better.’ That comes with being the first time traded, being sort of thrown out there on me and catching you off guard,” Wagner said. “That whole situation, coming from Houston, I definitely didn’t have thick skin.”
Thick skin of course, is a necessity when playing in Philadelphia.
“I came in and Larry Bowa and Ed Wade said, ‘Hey I want you to come in this clubhouse and I want you to be this type of guy’, and I’m really not that type of guy and so I end up getting on guys from some things they were doing and not preparing, and it just steam rolled,” Wagner said. “I’m sure I could have handled things, been a better teammate to guys, and handled those situations in a leadership role a whole lot better. There’s things behind the scenes that fans don’t know about that were going on also with the ownership and things like that. There’s all kinds of those things. It was a very tough two years.”