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.

Best of NFL: Matthew Stafford's late TD pass leads Lions past Redskins

Best of NFL: Matthew Stafford's late TD pass leads Lions past Redskins

DETROIT -- Matthew Stafford threw a go-ahead, 18-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin with 16 seconds left.

The Lions (4-3) extended their winning streak to three games. The Redskins (4-3) had won four straight.

Stafford, who set up game-winning kicks in the previous two games, led his team to another win in the 100th game of his career. He was 18 of 29 for 266 yards, one TD and no turnovers.

Kirk Cousins scored a go-ahead TD on a 19-yard run with 1:05 left (see full recap).

4 interceptions power Giants past Rams in London
LONDON -- The Giants capitalized on four interceptions of Case Keenum in the first NFL game played at London's home of English rugby, a sold-out and raucous Twickenham Stadium.

Keenum, coming off the best start of his career, had the Rams at the Giants' 15-yard line with 50 seconds left when he lobbed a pass in the left corner of the end zone that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie easily picked off. Keenum's intended target, Brian Quick, failed to get the quarterback's audible and cut off his route early.

Keenum, who finished 32 of 53 for 291 yards and one touchdown, has thrown an interception on the Rams' final offensive play of the last three games. That likely will fuel debate on a potential quarterback change to overall No. 1 draft pick Jared Goff.

Landon Collins returned his first of two picks 44 yards for a second-quarter touchdown, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie also had two interceptions (see full recap).

Seahawks, Cardinals play to ugly 6-6 tie
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Seattle's Stephen Hauschka and Arizona's Chandler Catanzaro missed short field goals that would have won it in overtime and the Seahawks and Cardinals tied 6-6 on Sunday night.

Hauschka's 27-yard field goal was wide left with seven seconds left after Catanzaro's 24-yarder bounced off the left upright.

The last tie in the NFL came in 2014, when Carolina and Cincinnati tied 37-37. The tie was the Cardinals' first since Dec. 7, 1986, a 10-10 draw at Philadelphia when the franchise was based in St. Louis. It was the first for the Seattle since entering the NFL in 1976.

The Cardinals (3-3-1) dominated the game statistically and looked to be in shape to win it after Carson Palmer's 40-yard pass to J.J. Nelson set up Catanzaro's short kick.

The Seahawks (4-1-1), stuffed throughout regulation by the Arizona defense, took over and Russell Wilson completed passes of 31 yards to Jermaine Kearse and 27 yards to Doug Baldwin to give Houschka his short attempt. Both kickers made field goals on their teams' first possession of overtime.

Catanzaro, who kicked field goals of 46 and 45 yards, also had a 39-yard field goal blocked by a stunning play by Bobby Wagner when he hurdled Arizona long snapper Aaron Brewer.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians argued loudly for a penalty and was charged with a timeout when he challenged a play that is not reviewable. That proved significant when the Cardinals couldn't stop the clock to get off a short field goal attempt as the first half ended (see full recap).

Fitzpatrick relieves Smith, propels Jets to comeback win over Ravens
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.  -- Ryan Fitzpatrick replaced an injured Geno Smith and led the Jets on three scoring drives, and a rejuvenated defense came up with two rare interceptions.

Fitzpatrick came in for Smith in the second quarter and led the Jets on a go-ahead drive capped by a 13-yard touchdown catch by Matt Forte. Fitzpatrick finished 9 of 14 for 120 yards and a touchdown as the Jets (2-5) snapped a four-game losing streak.

Smith injured his right knee while taking a sack from Baltimore's Matthew Judon. Fitzpatrick was efficient after losing his job earlier in the week.

Joe Flacco started for Baltimore (3-4), loser of four in a row, after being questionable with a sore shoulder. He went a team-record 176 consecutive throws without an interception before Buster Skrine picked off his pass in the third quarter (see full recap).

Ajayi rushes for 200 yards in second straight game as Dolphins top  Bills
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Jay Ajayi tied an NFL record by surpassing 200 yards rushing for the second game in a row. Ajayi rushed for 214 yards in 29 carries after totaling 204 yards a week earlier in a win over Pittsburgh. He scored on a 4-yard run, and busted a 53-yarder when the Dolphins were pinned at their 3 and trailing in the fourth quarter.

The Dolphins (3-4) used an extra lineman much of the time to clear big holes for Ajayi, who tied the NFL record for consecutive 200-yard games held by O.J. Simpson, Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams.

Miami overcame an 11-point deficit with 16 minutes left to end a four-game winning streak by the Bills (4-3) and beat them for only the second time in their past seven meetings.

Buffalo RB LeSean McCoy, ranked second in the NFL in rushing, started, but totaled only 11 yards in eight carries before departing with a hamstring problem (see full recap).

Luck improves to 8-0 vs. Titans in Colts' 34-26 win
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Andrew Luck threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Jack Doyle with 1:55 left to put Indianapolis ahead to stay, and the Colts rallied to beat the Titans for their 10th straight win against their AFC South rival.

The Colts (3-4) came in having lost two of three, including blowing a 14-point lead in an overtime loss last week at Houston. But Luck he improved to 8-0 against the Titans with yet another comeback win. He finished with 353 yards passing and three TDs, the last after Tennessee went up 23-20.

T.Y. Hilton caught seven passes for 133 yards, including a 37-yard TD. The Colts shook off 12 penalties for 131 yards in pulling out their 15th win in 16 games against Tennessee.

The Titans (3-4) saw their two-game winning string end.

Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri kicked a pair of field goals, and the second, a 33-yarder with 3:46 left in the third quarter gave him an NFL record 43 consecutive field goals made (see full recap).

Patriots prove to be too much for Roethlisberger-less Steelers
PITTSBURGH -- LeGarrette Blount ran for 127 yards and two scores while Tom Brady completed 19 of 26 passes for 222 yards and two touchdowns.

Steelers quarterback Landry Jones played capably while filling in for Roethlisberger, who watched from the sideline after undergoing left knee surgery last week.

Making his third career start, Jones threw for 281 yards with a touchdown and an interception. But undermanned Pittsburgh (4-3) lost its second straight when its defense failed to keep Brady under wraps.

New England (6-1) remained perfect since Brady returned from his four-game "Deflategate" suspension, emphatically responding to a push by the Steelers with a pair of second-half touchdowns. Brady improved to 9-2 against the Steelers, throwing for 26 touchdowns and three interceptions (see full recap).

Chargers rally from 17 down to earn OT win over Falcons
ATLANTA -- Josh Lambo's 42-yard field goal in overtime gave San Diego its first road win of the year as the Chargers rallied from a 17-point deficit.

The Chargers (3-4) trailed 27-10 in the second quarter. They had lost 11 of their past 12 road games.

Linebacker Denzel Perryman delivered two key plays late in the game. Perryman's interception of Matt Ryan's pass for Julio Jones set up Lambo's tying 33-yard field goal with 18 seconds remaining in regulation.

Perryman's fourth-and-1 stop on running back Devonta Freeman gave San Diego the ball at Atlanta's 43 for the Chargers' winning drive. Perryman grabbed Freeman's feet behind the line for the key tackle on the Falcons' gamble (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Oilers blank Jets to win outdoor Heritage Classic

Best of NHL: Oilers blank Jets to win outdoor Heritage Classic

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Cam Talbot made 31 saves and Mark Letestu scored the first of three second-period goals, lifting the Edmonton Oilers over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday in an outdoor game delayed almost two hours by sunlight melting the ice.

The Heritage Classic victory extended Edmonton's winning streak to three in front of 33,240 at Investors Group Field. Fans wore both Jets and Oilers jerseys to the league's 19th outdoor game.

Zack Kassian had a goal and an assist and Darnell Nurse also scored for Edmonton.

Connor Hellebuyck, who had a tuque attached to his helmet, stopped 29 shots for Winnipeg.

The NHL said the start of the Heritage Classic game was delayed "due to intermittent sunlight on the playing surface" and "in the interest of player safety." (see full recap)

Girardi leads Rangers past Coyotes
NEW YORK -- Dan Girardi scored 1:55 into the third period and New York beat Arizona.

Josh Jooris and J.T. Miller also scored for New York, which has won consecutive games to improve to 4-2-0. Henrik Lundqvist made 27 stops.

Radim Vrbata had both of Arizona's goals, and Louis Domingue made 23 saves. The Coyotes have lost their first four games on a six-game trip since beating Philadelphia in overtime at home to start the season.

Girardi put the Rangers ahead with a slap shot from the right point. The veteran was paired with rookie Brady Skjei in his first game after missing New York's previous three with a strained groin, and Skjei assisted on the goal (see full recap).

Tavares' big night helps Isles defeat Wild
NEW YORK -- John Tavares had two goals and an assist, Johnny Boychuk scored for the second straight game and New York beat Minnesota.

Calvin de Haan, Alan Quine and Thomas Hickey also scored to help New York get its highest scoring total of the year and win for the third time in four home games after opening with two road losses. Thomas Greiss stopped 26 shots for his first win in two starts this season.

Islanders rookie Anthony Beauvillier had two assists, giving the 19-year-old at least a point in three straight games.

Zach Parise scored twice for Minnesota to top 300 goals for his career, and Nino Niederreiter also scored. Second-string goalie Darcy Kuemper made 27 saves (see full recap).

Ducks hand Canucks 1st regulation loss
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Nick Ritchie scored the tiebreaking goal on a rebound with 8:36 to play, captain Ryan Getzlaf had three assists and Anaheim finally opened its home schedule with a victory over Vancouver.

Andrew Cogliano, Cam Fowler and Corey Perry also scored for the Ducks, who have won two straight after a four-game winless start. John Gibson made 17 saves in the Western Conference's final home opener, thanks to a schedule that forced Anaheim to play in five teams' home debuts this month.

Henrik Sedin scored the tying goal early in the third period for the Canucks, who lost in regulation for the first time this season. Bo Horvat scored a short-handed goal, and Loui Eriksson had two assists (see full recap).