“What they have over there in Philadelphia, it’s a really, really incredible pitching staff. Not just 1 through 4, but 1 through 5 (including Joe Blanton). But we can’t concern ourselves with that.”
–Ryan Dempster in the Chicago Tribune
Back when I still lived next to a tire fire, there was a cluster of wild dogs that roamed the neighborhood. While the terrorized those of us going to and from middle school during the day, they would habitually seek out the unsquelchable, smelly warmth of the flames at night.
These dogs had no name. They were merely referred to as “the dogs” or “OH NO HERE THEY COME.” Most times, the clattering of nails on the pavement was far too close to utter any sort of warning. Anyone who has not immediately moving at full speed was soon to be dragged into the woods. Or at least had their lunch devoured. Usually the latter. Never really the former.
The point is, this canine death squad didn’t need a clever a moniker to remain effective. Regardless of the ease there would have been to name them after some mythic reference, their reputation alone spoke for them, as did the guttural, otherworldly sounds that seemed to come out of their mouths. No one wasted time trying to pin a nickname on them, and we always knew how many there were because, even though they may not have all been equally formidable; together, they were nightmarish enough to maintain their status as “#1 Reason for Neighborhood Night Terrors.”
And while I fully expect the Phillies 2011 rotation to hand out a few performances that cause traumatic sleep deprivation in their victims as well, they’re probably not going to eat anyone.
Even so, they’re worth remembering–all of them, including Joe Blanton, the guy whose “only” a #3 starter in a #5 slot. And they don’t need a nickname for people to be afraid of them.
Ryan Dempster seems to understand that, and he is one of a few people who is ready to acknowledge it in public. Unlike the press conference with the Phillies beat writers, who seemed to want to accomplish nothing but a complete stomping of Joe Blanton’s pride, I am all for the widespread adoption of including Joe Blanton in the praise of the Phillies rotation.
Hmm. Probably should have used an image of Joe instead one of the pitchers. Welp, once again, I’m technically part of the problem.