If You Grow It, You Will Win

If You Grow It, You Will Win

Enrico says: Today we have a guest post from Mr. Connor McNally who thinks he has found the key to the Phillies success.  I'm not completely sold on the theory but it has certainly grown on me.

January 29th, 2008.  Three words… twelve syllables… one meaning – The day the Mets traded three future Sonic Burger employees and a bag of dicks for Johan Santana; perhaps the greatest pitcher ever to grace the diamond since Henry Rowengartner dawned Cubbie blue. 

Before the Mets pulled off the greatest trade rape in the history of sports, you had to feel pretty optimistic if you were a Phillies fan.  Not only did the Phils have a psychological edge over the Mets thanks to last year’s historic meltdown, but they probably had the best overall team in the division.  They managed to keep their core intact (Hamels, Myers, Rollins, Howard and Utley); they upgraded their bullpen (re-signing Romero and trading for Houston’s Brad Lidge); they found a suitable replacement for Rowand (signing Geoff Jenkins); and they found an answer for the season long migraine that was third base (signing Pedro Feliz). 

Now here we are, one day away from the start of Spring Training (pitchers and catchers officially report tomorrow), and the Phillies seem to be the second team mentioned when talk begin about the NL East… all because of Johan Santana.

(Keep in mind that the Mets and Santana have to face the Nationals and newly acquired Elijah Dukes several times this season; and if we know anything about Elijah, it’s that he’s bat shit crazy.)

So what do the Phillies do now?  Do they go out and sign Anna Benson (and her husband Kris)?  Does J-Roll go on record as saying, “The Mets are the team to beat,” in an effort to weird everyone out?  Or do they roll the dice with what they’ve got and hope for the best?  Although all ideas are reasonable, the most logical choice is probably the latter.  I’ve actually done some research and come up with a new plan that I’d like to share; one that if executed correctly would no doubt result in a ring:

Start growing facial hair.  Grow it thick, weird and hard.   

Crazy yes.  Stupid maybe.  But like a guy at a bus stop once told to me, “A man without a mustache is like an elephant without a trunk.” 

If you know your Philadelphia Phillies history, you know that the last three teams to play in a World Series had hilarious amount of facial hair.  And although the ‘93 and ’83 teams came up short, the ‘80 team ended up winning “The whole fucking thing!”  (And this was no coincidence; the ’80 team had the highest percentage of facial hair in the history of baseball – 38 %.)   

Now I don’t claim to be a historian, but speaking as a historian it’s clear to see that the harrier the team, the more successful.  (To test this theory I looked back at the most successful Phillies teams since 1970.) 

The ‘76 and ‘77 teams (they each won 101 games) had more mustaches than a Russian sorority house.  The ‘93 and ’83 teams had almost the same amount of players who sported facial hair as the ‘80 team did (15). 

Can you imagine if a handful of more people from the ’93 team decided to make the effort and boycott razors (I’m talking to you Stocker, you big bitch!)?  Or if more people from the ’83 decided to stay ‘stached up after their World Series win two years earlier?  Exactly!  We could have lessened our “Philly sports teams suck” reputation by at least 60 %; and at the same time help put an end to us being called, “The manpon of the sports world,” by other cities. 

To get the creative ball rolling and to help aide this current Phillies roster with the growing process I have provided some pictures from the past.  All but two of the following players are from that beloved ‘80 team, and as you will see no two styles are the same (hey, at least we’re good at something!). 

So listen up ’08 Phillies, enough with the playing-it-safe-same-old-same-old design (i.e. Fu Manchu and Chin Strap), let’s see some innovative creations (i.e. Koy Detmer Neck Beard or Cheek Beard)… all we need is 38 %. 

Good luck and get the growing!

George is sporting the Pseudo-Gentleman (i.e. an ordinary mustache that is too unkempt to be the Gentleman, but too clean to be a full blown the Freelance Porn Director).

Bake is sporting the Nomad (i.e. when you’ve given up on trying to get laid, and hair grows on every part of your head, face and neck). 

(Side Note - Bake McBride is best known for having the third greatest name in the history of the Philadelphia sports second to only Don Money.  He also is the spitting image of Willie Lopez from the move “Ghost”.  “Carl, that you Carl?”).

Gary Maddox is sporting the Nomad 2.0 (i.e. an older older, more homeless version of the original Nomad).

Vuk is sporting the Gentleman (i.e. an ordinary mustache with an emphasis on Prussian high society.  It lets people know that you’re sophisticated, but can still drink the King’s pilsner and chew raw sheep carcass with the rest of the nobility).

Schmitty is sporting the Donald Southerland (i.e. a mustache that is all business; and that business is taking advantage of confused Liberal Arts co-eds with the help of the mellow and very sexy wonder drug – pot).

Ozzie is sporting the Quarter Bar (i.e. a mustache that is about a quarter of the way finished from becoming a full blown Handle Bar).


Walk is sporting the Creepy Guy in Van (i.e. a mustache that is only seen on men in windowless vans camped outside elementary schools or playgrounds.  God only knows how much candy he is hiding under that huge magician’s hat he’s wearing).


Lerch is sporting the Napoleon Dynamite (i.e. this mustache needs no explanation.  Lerch is what Napoleon Dynamite would look like if he was 33 and a professional baseball player.  I dare you to look at this picture and say, “I spent it with my uncle hunting wolverines!” without laughing).

Sal is sporting the Sal Fasano (i.e. once again, this needs no explanation).


Juan is sporting the Soul Glow (i.e. a mustache that is only able to live if sprayed with four gallons of Soul Glow per day).

- - - - -

Thanks to Connor for the post.

Nick Pivetta excited for big-league debut — even if rainout delays it a few days

Nick Pivetta excited for big-league debut — even if rainout delays it a few days

The Phillies' starting pitching rotation, for the time being, features four arms that were acquired in trades that have coincided with the team's rebuild, which started after the 2014 season.

Nick Pivetta will become the latest to join the group when he is officially activated. He was in the Phillies' clubhouse Tuesday afternoon and was scheduled to pitch on Wednesday, but those plans changed when Tuesday night's game against the Miami Marlins was postponed because of rain.

No makeup date was announced.

The rainout means Pivetta's big-league debut will be pushed back. Vince Velasquez, Tuesday's scheduled starter, will pitch Wednesday night against the Marlins and Jeremy Hellickson will start the series finale Thursday. Jerad Eickhoff and Zach Eflin are likely to stay on turn and pitch Friday and Saturday in Los Angeles. That means Pivetta's debut will likely happen Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium. Not a bad venue for an unveiling. He does not have to be activated until that day. In the interim, the Phils are carrying an extra reliever in Mark Leiter Jr.

Even with the weather-related change in plans, Pivetta was thrilled to be in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

"I've achieved my goal of getting here eventually," the 24-year-old right-hander said. "I'm happy to be here. I want to get my feet on solid ground right now and just take it one step at a time.”

Pivetta is a Canadian from Victoria, British Columbia, about 100 miles northwest of Seattle. As a kid, he watched Toronto Blue Jays' games on television and idolized Roy Halladay. (see story).

Victoria must now be Phillies territory. Michael Saunders, the team's rightfielder, also hails from the town.

"You see it more and more, more Canadians getting into the game of baseball, so it’s always nice to see another one in the locker room," said Saunders, 30. "Clearly he’s pitched well enough to earn his way up here and I’m looking forward to seeing him play."

Pivetta is 6-5, 225 pounds. He was originally selected by the Washington Nationals in the fourth round of the 2013 draft. The Phillies acquired him for Jonathan Papelbon and cash in July 2015.

Pivetta will take Aaron Nola's spot in the rotation. Nola is on the disabled list with tightness in his lower back. He could be back as soon as early next week.

Nola said he probably could have pushed himself and stayed in the rotation, but the team chose to be cautious.

"I don’t think it's any big thing," Nola said.

With Pivetta on board, the Phillies now have four pitchers in their rotation that came over in "rebuild" trades.

Eflin arrived in the December 2014 deal that sent Jimmy Rollins to the Dodgers.

Eickhoff came in the July 2015 deal that sent Cole Hamels to the Rangers.

Velasquez came in the December 2015 trade that sent Ken Giles to the Astros.

Pivetta did not immediately pitch well upon joining the Phillies organization. He had a 7.31 ERA in seven starts for Double A Reading in the summer of 2015. In 28 1/3 innings, he struck out 25 and walked 19.

Pivetta was a different pitcher last season. He registered a 3.27 ERA in 148 2/3 innings between Double A and Triple A, struck out 138 and walked 51. That performance earned him a spot on the team's 40-man roster.

“In 2016, he showed us the potential to be a really good major-league pitcher,” said Joe Jordan, the Phillies' director of player development. “He was a little excitable after the trade in 2015, but he came back calm and confident last year. His stuff is legit — 93 to 96 (mph) with life on the fastball, good breaking ball and good feel for the changeup.”

His control continued to improve this season as he got off to a 3-0 start at Triple A. He pitched 19 innings, gave up just two earned runs, walked just two and struck out 24.

"Just getting ahead with my fastball," said Pivetta, explaining the early-season success that put him in line for the promotion. "First-pitch strikes are big. Even if I get into that 0-1 count or that 1-1 count, getting back to that 1-2 count is big. So being able to even up those counts have been really big for me, as well, and being able to finish off with my off-speed later in the counts, too.”

Pivetta pitched for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic in March. He made one start and took a no-decision in the team's 4-1 loss to Columbia. Pivetta worked four innings and allowed one run.

“That helped me," Pivetta said. "It was awesome. It was like having playoff baseball in March."

It's not clear how long Pivetta will stay in the big-league rotation. But he has more than put himself on the map, and if he continues to pitch well, he'll make more starts with the big club this season.

“I did not expect to be here this early in the season," he said. "I am happy to be here right now. I'll see how long I stay and just have fun while I am here.”

Ron Jaworski: Carson Wentz shouldn't 'have any input' in Eagles' 2017 NFL draft

Ron Jaworski: Carson Wentz shouldn't 'have any input' in Eagles' 2017 NFL draft

Should the Eagles give Carson Wentz a say in who they take in the draft?

He is the future of the franchise after all.

"If there's any player on our roster that has insight into a guy in free agency or the draft, it's part of our information gathering," Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said last Thursday.

So the Eagles will at least listen to Wentz — and others — about certain prospects. The second-year QB got a firsthand look at a few receiving prospects during offseason workouts. 

However, former Eagles quarterback and ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski thinks it would be a "mistake" to give Wentz any input into the team's draft decision-making. 

"I don't think the quarterback should have any input in the draft," Jaworski said Tuesday. "Plain and simple. The quarterback should quarterback his football team. I know he'll be a teammate, but the Eagles — like every other team in this league — do extensive scouting. They know what they're doing, they'll select the player they believe is the best player."

Jaws would know -- he made that very mistake once.

"I had someone ask me a question back in 1978 or '79," Jaworski said. "They said, 'Hey Jaws, what do you think the Eagles need?' And I said we could probably improve our wide receiver position. 

"Oh, by the way, Harold Carmichael is one of our wide receivers, the next time I saw him he said, 'Hey, what are you talking about?' So it was a mistake, and I apologized to Harold and that was the last comment I ever made about the draft and my teammates. So I think players ought to shut up and let the front office make those decisions."

To be fair, Carmichael held a little more weight in his day than Nelson Agholor or Dorial Green-Beckham do now. 

Jaworski went on to tell a wild story of his own draft day in 1973 (watch video here), and also made the case for the Eagles to stock up on cornerbacks in the draft (watch video here).