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.

Instant Replay: Nationals 4, Phillies 3

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Instant Replay: Nationals 4, Phillies 3

BOX SCORE

Jeremy Hellickson did everything he could Monday night to stop the bleeding a rough road trip through Detroit and Chicago provided the Phillies.

But the usually consistent Hector Neris had his worst inning of the year and Washington pounced.

The Nationals scored three runs in the top of the eighth inning and snapped a four-game losing streak to the Phillies with a 4-3 win on Monday at Citizens Bank Park.

Jayson Werth’s two-out RBI single plated the tying run in the top of the eighth to even the score at 2-2. Neris then walked Chris Heisey to load the bases for Daniel Murphy, who homered earlier. He delivered with the crushing blow, a two-run single that put the Nationals ahead for good.

Jonathan Papelbon, whom the Phillies have had success against at Citizens Bank Park, worked around back-to-back doubles by Maikel Franco and Ryan Howard to start the ninth inning and to pick up his 14th save of the season.

Papelbon fanned pinch-hitter Tommy Joseph with a slider, blew a fastball by Cesar Hernandez and got Tyler Goeddel to line out to second base to end the game.

The Phillies, now losers in eight of 10, saw their record fall to 26-25. On Tuesday, they’ll try to avoid falling to .500 for the first time since April 26.

Starting pitching report
In a pitcher’s duel against Washington’s Tanner Roark, Hellickson was dominant in seven innings of work. He needed just 79 pitches in those innings before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning.

For the fifth straight time, Hellickson held his opponents to three runs or less. He struck out eight Nationals and scattered just three hits while not issuing a walk. Hellickson left the game in line for the win, but the Phillies' usually efficient bullpen faltered.

Hellickson struck out the side in the sixth inning, which ended with Werth swinging through a breaking ball.

Bullpen report
Neris entered Monday having not given up a run since May 6, a streak of nine and 2/3 innings. He started off by striking out Wilson Ramos with his nasty splitter.

Neris then walked Danny Espinosa before getting pinch-hitter Clint Robinson to line out for the inning’s second out. But command continued to be an issue. Neris walked Ben Revere to keep the inning alive for Werth, who made him pay. And then Murphy made it worse.

Jeanmar Gomez came on to clean up the eighth inning and then pitched a perfect ninth inning.

At the plate
The Phillies used their small ball ways to score the game’s first run in the bottom of the second. Back-to-back one-out walks of Hernandez, who would steal second and reach third on a wild pitch, and Goeddel put runners on the corners for Hellickson, who executed a perfect sacrifice safety squeeze bunt to score Hernandez.

After Washington tied the game at 1-1 on a Murphy home run, the Phillies struck back in the bottom of the sixth with a Freddy Galvis homer on a 1-2 slider down in the zone. Galvis went down to get the pitch and drove it to the right field seats for what turned out to be the game-winning run.

Howard, who was given the start at first base after sitting Sunday, was 0 for 3 with a pair of strikeouts and a long flyout to deep right-centerfield before he smashed an RBI double to follow up Franco’s double to kick off the ninth inning.

In the field
Howard’s leaping catch of Ramos’ line drive to end the second inning helped keep the Nationals off the board early.

Goeddel, who made that game-ending throw to the plate a few weeks back, again showed off his arm in the top of the seventh inning. With Bryce Harper on first base after being hit by a Hellickson fastball in the knee, Murphy, moments after hitting a home run foul and out of play, drove a pitch toward the gap in left-centerfield.

Goeddel closed on it and quickly fired to first. Harper, slow getting back to the base, was doubled off as Howard deceptively waited to show his glove until the ball neared. Washington manager Dusty Baker challenged the play, but a review that lasted two minutes and 15 seconds confirmed the call on the field.

Franco made a catch in the eighth inning similar to Howard’s. Robinson sent a line shot over the head of Franco, who made a full-extension grab with his glove. He appeared to injure his left shoulder on the play but remained in the game.

Asche on the way?
Cody Asche, who continues to work his way back from an oblique injury, went 1 for 4 Monday afternoon with a home run - his second during his rehab assignment - in Lehigh Valley’s 6-4 win over Norfolk.

Asche’s 20-day rehab assignment concludes Wednesday. Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said the club would look at Asche then and said it's a “possibility” the 25-year-old joins the Phillies after.

Up next
The Phillies continue their 10-game homestand on Tuesday with Aaron Nola (4-3, 2.86 ERA) facing off against Washington’s Joe Ross (4-4, 2.52).

NL East Wrap: Mets SP Matt Harvey gets back on track in win over White Sox

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USA Today Images

NL East Wrap: Mets SP Matt Harvey gets back on track in win over White Sox

NEW YORK -- On the mound in the seventh inning for the first time this season, Matt Harvey gave up his first walk of the game and his second hit, leading to a sacrifice bunt and a second-and-third jam.

"You kind of think about the worst at that point," he said. "You start getting some negative thoughts that creep in your head."

But 11 days after disappointed fans at Citi Field booed him like a villain, the Dark Knight was back - at least for one afternoon.

Harvey retired Todd Frazier on a foulout and J.B. Shuck on a grounder to escape trouble, Neil Walker homered off Jose Quintana on the second pitch of the bottom half and the New York Mets beat Chicago 1-0 Monday to send the reeling White Sox to their seventh straight loss.

"Today's a big first step," Mets manager Terry Collins said.

Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia got six straight outs to complete the two-hitter, preserving Harvey's first win since May 8. Harvey struck out six, walked two and threw four pitches of 98-98.5 mph after not topping 97.5 mph previously this season. He threw 61 of 87 pitches for strikes (see full recap).

Mallex Smith's 3-run triple powers Braves past Giants
ATLANTA -- Mike Foltynewicz is showing he can be more than just a fastball pitcher - and that he can be part of the Braves' long-term rotation.

Foltynewicz continued his recent upswing by allowing only three hits and one run in six-plus innings, Mallex Smith hit a three-run triple and Atlanta beat Jeff Samardzija and the San Francisco Giants 5-3 on Monday.

The Braves survived San Francisco's two-run, ninth-inning rally. They have won three of four and are 5-21 at home, still easily the worst in the majors.

Foltynewicz (2-2) gave up a leadoff homer to Brandon Belt in the second inning, but allowed only one other runner to advance to second.

Foltynewicz, 24, has had other recent strong starts, including eight scoreless innings in a 5-0 win at Kansas City on May 14. His start on Monday may have been his most impressive demonstration of altering the speeds of his fastball while mixing in a curveball and slider (see full recap).

Locke tosses three-hit shutout against Marlins
MIAMI -- Jeff Locke tossed a three-hitter and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Miami Marlins 10-0 on Monday night.

Gregory Polanco's grand slam, Sean Rodriguez's two-run homer, and David Freese's four hits helped power the offense for the Pirates, who won the first of a four-game series in Miami. The first two games were originally scheduled to be played in Puerto Rico, but were moved due to concerns of the Zika virus.

Locke (4-3) struck out one and did not walk a batter while throwing 67 of 105 pitches for strikes. It was his first complete game in 101 career starts. Locke retired 19 straight at one point and needed just six pitches to get through the seventh inning.

The announced crowd of 10,856 was a season-low for the Marlins, who entered the day averaging just under 20,000.

Gary Bettman talks NHL expansion, missing Ed Snider's presence, 2018 Winter Olympics

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Gary Bettman talks NHL expansion, missing Ed Snider's presence, 2018 Winter Olympics

PITTSBURGH -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman offered no clues on Monday during his annual Stanley Cup Final address as to the state of NHL expansion or the current odds that Las Vegas gets a franchise.
 
The league’s Board of Governors will meet on June 22 to make a decision on expansion. The earliest a team(s) could play would be 2017-18.
 
Quebec City is also in the running, but the value of the Canadian dollars weighs heavily against another team being added north of the border at the moment.
 
If a Vegas franchise is added, it would have a direct impact on Pacific Division clubs such as the Sharks, who take on the Penguins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final Monday night at CONSOL Energy Center.
 
Bettman refused to “handicap” the situation but said he expected to know at least a week in advance as to what the committee’s recommendation will be.
 
Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said there are “a lot of on-going” issues related to expansion and some involve input from third parties.
 
“We’ve made good progress ... it hasn’t been quick progress,” Daly said.
 
Asked about rumors of the NFL, specifically the Oakland Raiders, going to Vegas and what that impact would mean to hockey, Bettman said he hasn’t even broached the topic of having two pro sports there with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or even considered such.
 
“If the NFL comes to Vegas at some point, so be it,” Bettman said. “We’re judging the application we have before us on the merits of that application.”
 
Bettman said the thought the NFL moving to Vegas, in his opinion, wasn’t “anywhere close to a done deal.”
 
Daly added that even if there is movement by the NFL toward Vegas, it would not be seen as a “deterrent” to the NHL expanding there.
 
Snider not replaced
Bettman said that former Flyers chairman Ed Snider’s spot on the 10-person executive and competition committees has not been filled since Snider's death in April.
 
Snider was an original member of the league’s competition committee and the only owner on it.
 
“He was a great owner and is terribly missed,” Bettman said.

More Olympic issues  
IOC President Thomas Bach and IIHF President Rene Fasel have gone on record they want to end paying the out-of-pocket expenses for NHL players to attend the Olympics.
 
That’s a non-starter for the NHL if both organizations want participation of the NHL's players at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. The practice of subsidy has been in effect for the past five Winter Olympics.
 
“If they are unable to resolve the issue, I have no doubt it will have an impact on our decision,” Bettman said, adding the NHL would have to take a hard look at continued Olympic participation since its member clubs aren’t interested in putting up the “many, many millions” it would take to make up the financial gap.
 
Whenever there is change in the IOC leadership, Bettman said, there are always discussions of whether some sports, such as hockey, should receive subsidies.