The Philadelphia Phillies have spent all of Matt Klentak’s tenure shaping their roster to maximize salary for this off-season to be in position to sign either Bryce Harper or Manny Machado. It is extremely rare for two generational players to become free agents in their prime at the same time. It’s even more rare for one team to have enough money to sign both players to record breaking contracts. My preference has always been Bryce Harper. The man can just flat out play baseball. Whatever there is to be good at in the sport Harper delivers. Not to mention he has the swagger and personality that Philadelphia fans would instantly gravitate to and spend their money to see. Although Harper is my preference, I in no way shape or form would ever turn down Manny Machado.
Which brings me to what has me most pissed off these days. By now we are all aware of the ill timed comment made by Machado this past post season. If you’re not familiar with it here it is:
“Obviously I’m not going to change, I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle,’ and run down the line and slide to first base and … you know, whatever can happen. That’s just not my personality, that’s not my cup of tea, that’s not who I am.”
Que the typical old school Philly fan yelling from his couch. This particular brand of fan can be heard high atop the 700 level cheering on his “iggles” or yelling on local sports talk radio calling everyone and their mother a bum. Will call this type of fan the “Philly Guy”. It’s a tough existence for the Philly Guy, caught in the constant struggle of chronic misery and yelling at the Flyers through his TV to shoot on every power play. To the Philly Guy it’s still the 1980’s. The Flyers are still beating opponents’ skulls in, the iggles still rock their Kelly green jerseys, and their still allowed to bring their homemade hoagies into the Vet. This type of fan is the black eye on the rest of Philadelphia. They aren’t progressive, the scoff at change, and they refuse to cheer for anyone that isn’t a “Philly Guy”.
I can’t even count the number of F-bombs I’ve screamed at my steering wheel every time one of these idiots call into the local radio stations. The fact that you do not want a generational franchise changing player because he’s not gonna bust it down the line on a comeback shot to the pitcher makes me think you grew up under power lines. The opportunity for a Machado doesn’t come around every year, especially in Philadelphia. Sure, I bought into the fake hype of LeBron coming to the Sixers this summer, but the Machado hype is real. The Phillies are in as good a position as anyone to land this big fish, and I’m all for it. I’m also for firing the black sheep faction of our fanbase who don’t want Machado into the sun.
I’ll now set my sights on legendary Philly sports talker Angelo Cataldi. I use the word legendary in all seriousness because I truly believe he is the godfather of sports radio in Philadelphia. However, Angelo often spews his dated curmudgeon view points on our sports teams. He has been particularly fired up about the Phillies wanting to offer 300 plus million to Machado. To that I say this. Get over it. The self proclaimed “voice of the fans” could not be more out of touch with what’s going on in the city right now. Of course the only people who call into his show and agree are the 50 and older crowd who only hustle to the refrigerator during commercials. Yup, forgot to mention the Philly Guy is usually out of shape and loves telling everyone about his glory days playing the O-line for Cardinal O’Hara. That of course is right after he tells you how long he’s had iggles season tickets.
Fact of the matter is this, Philly isn’t in any position to be picky about which stars come here to play. Last time I checked we don’t have a storied championship history in our city. In the 26 years of my life I have only seen two titles, and they have both come in the last ten years. The loser fans who don’t want Machado cause they think he won’t hustle are the same ones who will be screaming their asses off when Manny is launching 40 homers a year at CBP. Jimmy Rollins didn’t hustle and he’s a fan favorite “because he won.” Well, Machado won’t ever have a chance to win you anything if he’s never here to begin with. After seeing the Eagles win it all I am championship hungry. I want every bit of glory my body can handle and I want every player alive that can help me get said glory. I mean really why would anyone ever want a four time all star and two time gold glove? How would the Phillies ever be able to work in an extra 35 home runs into their lineup?
Manny Machado is a top five player in baseball, and it is complete lunacy for any fan to not want him on the Phillies. For the record Bryce Harper has never won any awards for hustle either, but he never came out and said it publicly. I can admit that Machado’s comments were a bad look, but where some call it stupidity I call it heroic honesty.
The Phillies had a surprise season a year ago which fell short due to a lack of talent and experience. I long for the days of playoff baseball in this city, it was one of the most exciting times of my life as a fan. For those out there who don’t want Machado close your eyes and relive the thrill of 2008 in your mind. That chill you just felt down your spine can be experienced again, and Machado can help. So I end with this. If you don’t want Manny Machado in a Phillies uniform you’re an idiot. Hustle is great, but chicks dig the long ball and so do I.
Featured Photo: Baltimore Sun
Host of Gettin' Bullied Podcast. Contributor for phillyisflyer.com