It can be comically difficult to recall who on the Phillies is closer to birth than retirement, if that’s the kind of thing you sit around wondering about all day. But there is, in fact, a youth movement in Philadelphia. It just isn’t moving very quickly.
Do names like Antonio Bastardo and Mike Stutes and Vance Worley and Domonic Brown ring a bell? Yes, they do. In the case of Brown, they ring a frustrated, furious bell that clangs a few times before crumbling into dust.
But one of our kids came out with Charlie Manuel recently to be honored at Citizens Bank Park with the lighting of a tree, which was also there to honor Christmas or something I guess. Vance Worley no doubt strutted into the event, brewing with spectacular quirk, and brought joy to hundreds as he flipped the switch on the Phils’ Christmas tree and answered some questions from the press about how great the fans are.
The smartest thing a pitcher can do in Philly, if they care about the affection of the fans–and who wouldn’t, we’re great–is become more like Roy Halladay. The obvious exception is Cliff Lee, who is a standalone embodiment of human perfection/indifference. But everybody else can make themselves both better and more likable by emulating Doc.
Some can do it. Some can’t. Some buckle under the pressure of running 10 sets of stair runs with a cinder block strapped to each leg.
But Vance Worley seems to following the right example, as he moves from Sacramento to Florida to be closer to the Phillies’ training facility. This will allow him to bust in there whenever he and his mohawk and his badassdude-itude feel like it, and train to be a champion the way Roy Halladay has every day since he was the most intense fetus the doctor had ever seen on a monitor.
All that’s left now is an equally impressive follow-up season, and Vance will be the greatest young Phillies starter since Cole Hamels. Then we can finally stop with all these silly Kendrick/Happ/Worley comparisons.
I mean come on. Kyle Kendrick has never had a mohawk. He’s not trying to get grounded.