A group of Phillies prospects was in town this week for the organization’s annual prospects education seminar.
One of those lessons came from a legend.
Brian Dawkins, the most motivational athlete this city has ever seen, shared with the group his thoughts on playing in Philadelphia and responding to the passionate fan base.
“Playing in Philadelphia is different,” Dawkins said. “If you get on the field, there is a 99.99 percent chance you will be booed. The thing I always knew though was that you may boo me that one time but I’m not gonna make the same mistake again.”
One of the first things Joe Girardi brought up during his introductory press conference as Phillies manager back in October was a bittersweet memory about John Kruk.
Kruk, a three-time All-Star with the Phils, bowled Girardi over during a collision at home plate in the summer of 1991. Girardi held on for the out but his nose was broken.
It’s the kind of violent play you’d never see again. Home-plate collisions have been outlawed in MLB since 2014. Colloquially, it’s referred to as the Buster Posey rule. Posey’s left leg was broken in 2011 when the Marlins’ Scott Cousins collided with him at home plate.
That play in 1991 didn’t lead to any kind of beef between Girardi, then a catcher for the Cubs, and Kruk. In fact, Kruk was one of the first people to contact Girardi while Girardi was in the hospital.
"The bill of his helmet hit my nose, so that was my introduction to John Kruk,” Girardi told the Phils’ announcers during the Phillies-Pirates game Sunday on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
"If I'm not mistaken, being the sweetheart of a guy he was, you either called me when I was in the hospital or you came and saw me when they were examining my nose. I think I got a couple of stitches."
"I didn't like many people, Joe., but you were actually one of them I did like,” Kruk said. “That's why I called you. If it was ... well I'm not going to name any names, some other catchers, I wouldn't have called them. I just enjoyed competing against you."
It’s all love, but they won’t be reenacting that experience any time soon.
Fans across the Philadelphia area were understandably shook by the changes to the Phanatic's look. I think it's safe to say most fans did not react positively to the changes. Just take a look at the responses to the above tweet for a sampling.
The Phanatic did have a few defenders, however, like his furry pal from across Pattison Avenue and current It Boy, Gritty.
Pretty much everyone had a strong reaction to the scales, the eyebrows, and most definitely the newly-accented tail.
But not everyone went the to great lengths like comedian and Phillies fans Paul F. Tompkins and Christine Nangle who did a 10-minute breakdown in their most natural Philly accents that included their reactions to seeing the new look for the first time.
It's a wide-ranging reaction, complete with tears at at least one point.
"They said it was going to be, like, an evolution but this seems like more than an evolution, you know," Tompkins said.
"Like he's in there, I can see him, but if I met him and had not said to me that's his cousin, I'd be like..." Nangle added.
The duo attempted to put their feelings into terms we can all understand.
"It's like you're walking down South Street," Tompkins said. "You know what, I haven't been to Jim's in a while, I'm gonna go in there, and then you order a whiz wit and then what you get is, like, what everybody else thinks a cheesesteak is where it's, like, provolone and green peppers on it. You know what I mean? That's what this feels like to me."
"That makes a hundred percent sense. That's a beautiful way to say it," Nangle responded.
They both come to a similar conclusion to what feels like the consensus in Philly right now.