Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Get Your Phil of Hughes Puns
2007-04-25 09:26
by Emma Span
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

[Note: I wrote this post Tuesday afternoon. Since then I've heard a rumor that the Yankees played the Devil Rays, but I am dismissing it as mere hearsay. I suggest you do the same.]

Spring is a time of hope and renewal. And allergies, but never mind. It’s a gorgeous day, and I refuse to ruin it by dwelling on the state of the Yankees’ pitching over the course of the last few days. Er, weeks. Moving on! I’m not here, as they say, to talk about the past.
Let’s talk about the immediate future instead: an obscure, unheralded minor leaguer flying under everybody’s radar by the name of Phil Hughes. Hey, you know you weren’t going to talk about anything else today anyway.

I’ve been in the minority, I think, in that I wasn’t opposed to leaving Hughes in AAA Dunder-Mifflin a while longer; I thought it made sense to go carefully with him, and build up his innings, arm, and confidence -- that was the Yanks’ original plan, and I can only assume they had their reasons for it. After all, it’s still only April, the guy can’t even drink legally (which certainly must have made it tough to watch these last few games), and he didn’t look quite ready for the bigs in spring training – though, for what it’s worth, Alex Rodriguez didn’t look quite ready to shatter every existing offensive record for the month of April, either. Regardless, when I heard Hughes was starting Thursday, it took me all of three seconds to decide to buy a ticket.

Normally when I go to the Stadium I sit in the bleachers, or the far reaches of the upper deck (don’t get me started on Yankee Stadium ticket prices). This time, though, I figured if I was going to be there, I might as well spring for a semi-decent seat. I imagine I’ll tell my children one day that I watched Phil Hughes’ very first major league start. I also imagine I’ll be telling them this by way of explaining why we don’t have the money to buy new shoes or turn the heat up, but what the hell.

I am a little worried. Expectations are stratospheric. I believe Hughes is the real deal, but many highly touted prospects never do make it in the majors, for reasons no one completely understands (although obviously one, two, or even twenty sub-par starts won’t mean that’s the case here). Expecting a guy in his first ever trip to the big leagues to not only pitch well, but also go deep, against a tough Toronto lineup, is asking a lot.

That said, I’m not particularly worried about his lack of AAA experience; it doesn’t seem to matter much, as demonstrated most recently by the performance this season of Mets reliever Joe Smith, who was in college less than a year ago and has yet to allow a run in 11 appearances. I also don’t see how making a few starts up here while the rotation scrapes itself off the DL would hurt his long-term health -- my understanding is that it’s his season-long workload that's the (potential) issue. Plus there's the fact that the longer they wait to bring him up, the more the pressure will build. Maybe it’s best, after all, to get that first major-league start out of the way while it's still early, before each game feels so freighted with importance, in a non-nationally televised contest with the Blue Jays (who, no matter how good they are in a given year, somehow just never manage to come across as legitimate rivals. Why is that? Give me your best cheap Canadian jokes).

So I’m psyched, but let’s try to stay realistic. It would be nice if Hughes could feed the whole stadium with just 20 kosher hot dogs and heal Carl Pavano with a laying-on of hands . . . but I’ll settle for six full innings.

Bonus Discussion Point: Let’s see if we can call the eventual Daily News/NY Post next-day headlines: Phil it Up? Hughes Your Daddy? The Post on Tuesday went with “Hughes Da Man For Rotation,” which strikes me as a bit of a stretch, while the Daily News disappointingly used merely “Panic!” instead of my dark horse pick, “Panic! At The Disco.”

Comments (55)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-04-25 09:38:50
1.   Max Nomad
Re the Blue Jays:

Like Robin Williams said, "Canada is like a loft above a really great party. Keep it down, eh?!"

2007-04-25 09:40:24
2.   Max Nomad
Anyway, lack of AAA experience means nothing, it's just a pitstop for AA pitchers before the bigs if there is no room, or if an A+ guy needs an AA spot. Guys like, say, D-Train never pitched in AAA.
2007-04-25 09:43:18
3.   mehmattski
I say you gotta bring in the Under-13 crowd with "Phil of the Future"

2007-04-25 09:45:33
4.   Max Nomad
Tabloids = "Phil Who? No Hughes!" or "A Hughesmongous Debut" or something cornier that I couldn't think of. I really like "Hughes Your Daddy," but it only works if he's da man.

Oh, and Emma, I'll be at the game as well. I think my tickets are for Tier 16, but I'll find me a better seat somewhere. I bought Hughes-debut tickets as soon as I found out. Maybe I'll see you there?

2007-04-25 09:45:36
5.   Sliced Bread
Allergies. That's it! Carl has allergies.

Rag headlines?

Hopefully they won't have the opportunity to run: You Hughes, You Loose
or Aw-Phil!

If he's good maybe:
Phil-anthropy Starts At Home

yeah, that'll sell some papers.

2007-04-25 09:49:51
6.   OldYanksFan
Hughes Shoes to Phil?
2007-04-25 09:50:32
7.   Sliced Bread
Start Spreadin' The Hughes
2007-04-25 10:12:08
8.   Max Nomad
7 nice
2007-04-25 10:29:08
9.   ny2ca2dc
6 oye, double pun, nice!

7 nice pun & working in of frank/NYC.

the tabloid headline writers, if they had any sense, would be scanning this blog for good material - way better than the usual "Andy is Dandy" groan-fest

2007-04-25 10:33:46
10.   dianagramr
If he has a bad outing:

"Hughes' incorporation rocks the boat"

If he has a good outing:

"Hughes lets the dogs out over Jays"

.... hmmm ...

"Philibustered" ?
"Philip Service"?

2007-04-25 10:34:07
11.   Emma Span
3 Do I want to know why you're aware of this show?

4 I'm in section 282 I think. What the hell, it's a tax deduction, and I haven't been down there in years...

5 "Aw-Phil!" is brilliant.

2007-04-25 10:40:39
12.   Jim Dean
Me, I'm waiting for the first win in Game 4 of the Serious this year:

Phil Huge!

2007-04-25 10:40:55
13.   yankz
OT, I know, sorry, but did anyone else watch House last night? Foreman totally went Kevin Brown on the wall!
2007-04-25 10:41:29
14.   Shaun P
10 Did I read somewhere that Hughes insists he be called "Phil" and NOT "Philip", or am I making that up?

I'm not very creative, so I'll take the easy way out and suggest the Times's headlines if Hughes pitches well:

"Hughes Impressive in Debut as Yanks Top Jays 8-2"

and if its a bad game:

"Hughes Rocked in First Start, Yanks Lose to Jays"

2007-04-25 10:43:53
15.   yankz
14 It's true, I'm pretty sure LoHud reported it.
2007-04-25 10:49:56
16.   Marcus
Hopefully not:

"Blues Cruise, Hughes Bruised, Yanks Lose"

2007-04-25 10:50:58
17.   standuptriple
Hughes on First?
2007-04-25 10:51:57
18.   Marcus

"Phil Fits Bill, Chills Blue Bills"

2007-04-25 10:53:49
19.   standuptriple
Or harken back to the Pedro days: "Hughes...Your Daddy"
2007-04-25 10:57:58
20.   JimCobain
4 11 I just picked up a single ticket for tomorrow night. Feild Box behind the plate, why not right? However, I never have been to a game by myself. I have this romantic idea of sitting there and keeping score, having a souvenior for my kids some day. Sounds great in theory, but then again so did the Jeff Weaver trade. In any event I am really looking forward to it!
2007-04-25 11:00:48
21.   RIYank
20 Here's hoping it turns out better than the Weaver trade.

And Emma, it's a shame Hughes' Debut's not at the Trop. If it were, Phil could feed the entire crowd with twenty hot dogs. Of course, some of them would have to share.

2007-04-25 11:04:22
22.   mehmattski
20 Would that be Jeff Weaver trade A (gave up Ted Lilly, John Ford-Griffin and PTBNL to the Tigers) or Jeff Weaver Trade B (Weaver, Brazoban, and PTBNL for Kevin Brown). The only people to win at either deal are the Tigers, who inexplicably got Jeremy Bonderman from the A's. I guess the guy who applied new dry wall to the fist sized holes Yankees dugout tunnel also won.

19 Hughes Karim Garcia?

2007-04-25 11:05:23
23.   Bama Yankee
19 or maybe "Hughes Karim Garcia"
Wait, that makes no sense (unless Phil plunks a few guys or gets into a brawl in the bullpen).
2007-04-25 11:06:27
24.   vockins
If: 3IP, 9ER, 0K, 5H, 4BB, 2HBP

Then: PHORGETPHIL (pic: Hughes hanging head walking from mound)

If: 6IP, 4ER, 3K, 5H, 2BB

Then: PHINE AND DANDY (pic: stock post delivery photo)

If: 8.1IP, 0ER, 16K, 2H, 0BB

Then: PHILTHY (half page font size, pic: wide angle shot of Hughes on mound pumping fist after inning ending K, fans on feet in background)

2007-04-25 11:07:13
25.   JimCobain
22 Wow that really speaks to the shite state of Jeff Weaver that he was involved in two dubious trades from the Yankees side.
2007-04-25 11:07:55
26.   Bama Yankee
22 Beat me to it again, mehmattski.
2007-04-25 11:08:09
27.   Knuckles
2007-04-25 11:10:27
28.   yankz
I just got tickets, the cheapest ones available...anyone else think tomorrow is a good day for our Bronx Banter get together?
2007-04-25 11:13:16
29.   dianagramr
FYI, has a 10-minute interview with Hughes on his call-up.

(link is in the "video" section ... too long to tinyurl)

2007-04-25 11:14:48
30.   Sliced Bread
Mr. Wonder-phil

NY (interlocking) Phil-harmonic

2007-04-25 11:15:52
31.   Emma Span
Hey, have you all seen this quote?:

"'I'm going to go up there and pitch to the best of my ability,' Hughes told reporters in Scranton on Tuesday. 'And, no, I don't have any intention of coming back.'"

Well okay then! Gotta love the confidence...

2007-04-25 11:19:52
32.   dianagramr
HughesPhil Exuberance
2007-04-25 11:20:40
33.   Emma Span
20 You know, I like going alone now and then. Keeping score gives you an activity, and I've met some entertaining people that way...

28 Not a bad thought, but how would that work?

2007-04-25 11:21:21
34.   Sliced Bread
14 The NY Times will probably note that Hughes is a Red Sox fan. Something like:

A Lifelong Red Sox Fan, Hughes Steps Up For Yanks


Hughes Betrays BoSox Love, Pitches For Yanks


Yankee Phenom Wears Yankee Blue, Bleeds Beantown Red

or somesuch nausea-inducing verbosity.

2007-04-25 11:21:58
35.   Raf
WRT the Jays, if the rivalry didn't catch on in 1985, or 1993 I don't think it ever will.

Really isn't or wasn't much fire between the two teams or organizations, like there was with the Red Sox, or even the Royals (now THERE was a rivalry; how far has KC fallen?). Even Seattle seems to have gotten a better "rivalry run" than the Jays.

2007-04-25 11:24:31
36.   Sliced Bread
27 Philthy is excellent

32 superb!

2007-04-25 11:34:28
37.   unmoderated
darn, i wish i could get down to the city for this one. i will actually be in roscoe tomorrow afternoon, an hour closer to the city... :(
2007-04-25 11:46:19
38.   Sliced Bread
31 Yeah, that quote sounds like he bought a one way ticket to the Bronx.

The Star Ledger told the same story about Hughes missing the phone call from Scraton's pitching coach. Hughes and Clippard were at the mall eating at a Johnny Rockets when he got the call up.
Outstanding chocolate shakes at Johnny Rockets if you've never had the pleasure.

2007-04-25 11:47:10
39.   rbj
Let's hope it's not
"Hughes Disappointment"
I prefer
"Philnally" as Phil spins an 81 pitch CG shutout.

The only real downside to Phil's call up:
SWB is in Toledo May 1-4. That was my shot at seeing him (or is it HIM) pitch. waaa, waaa, waaa.

The rivalry is hurt because of the exchange rate: rates a 100 in Toronto, but a buck fifty here.

2007-04-25 11:52:49
40.   RIYank
Very elegant "Ode on an Assbat" at Batgirl (but written by one of her guest writers).

2007-04-25 11:58:48
41.   Shaun P
24 Philthy is great, vockins. Well done! I will taunt my fellow fantasyleaguers with it, if I end up with Hughes thanks to your announcement of his yahoo availability yesterday.

28 Another reason why I sometimes wish I lived near the City, instead of outside Boston.

34 Good point, Sliced. The Times has to make sure the brand stays front and center, keep those profit margins up! I'll bet Chass does a whole column on Hughes's childhood, filled with Sox-love.

2007-04-25 12:00:56
42.   Sliced Bread
24 oh, you had Philthy phirst. Nice!
2007-04-25 12:20:07
43.   KJC
18 Since when does "Variety" cover baseball?
2007-04-25 12:57:19
44.   Jen
3 I was gonna use that one for my blog on Friday.
2007-04-25 13:12:03
45.   mehmattski
44 All accounts and descriptions of this headline are property of The Immaculate Inning Sports Blog and may not be disseminated without express written consent of mehmattski.

Just kidding, you can use it. But only if you link to my blog :-)

2007-04-25 13:37:42
46.   Andre
33 - keeping score in the stands is something I've never understood. What's the allure? Even if you're in a fantasy league and that info is important somehow, you can look up all of the info you want online (some of you probably have phones that allow you to do that live while watching the game). Whenever I see someone keeping score, I wonder if I'm missing out on something.

I'm not dissing on anyone for keeping score - just curious.

2007-04-25 13:45:06
47.   standuptriple
46 I feel similar even though I've scored games in the past I've never dreamed of doing it at a ML game. To me it seems like you're missing out on some of the intracacies of the game. I suppose that it may be similar to the divide beween the "statheads" and the "gamers" that we so often see in media today.
2007-04-25 13:45:14
48.   JL25and3
46 I always keep score - it's just how I was taught, and I've been doing it for 40-something years now. It helps me keep focused sometimes, and it helps me remember what happened (for an ADD type like me, little things help). I also like the way the scorecard looks, and the rituals that go with it - justifying it at the end, noting when obscure scoring rules come into play, and so on. Recently I looked at the oldest one I still have - from 1975 - and was glad I still had it.

I think you have to start off doing it. I doube it's much fun if you pick it up as an adult.

2007-04-25 13:48:46
49.   DougP
48 I agree. I used to keep score with my Dad when I would go to games with him as a kid. I don't keep score during the games anymore, but will do it with my son someday.
2007-04-25 14:02:36
50.   mehmattski
I too started keeping score when I was a kid. We had season tickets to a short-season single A team (New Jersey Cardinals) and every game I would keep score and tally stats. It's especially useful in minor league games where the scoreboard may not show a players' previous at bats, for example.

It also has mystique- the feeling of holding the short stubby pencil and tucking it behind your ear as you slip on your glove in case that foul ball comes your way- it's all part of the experience for me.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-04-25 14:09:50
51.   celerino
Day of Game Headline: "We Could Hughes a Hero"

Loss: "What's the Hughes? Yankees Lose"

Win: "Wonder-Phil!"

After a few months in the bullpen: "Phil: Over-Hughesed by Torre?"

2007-04-25 14:20:24
52.   Emma Span
46, 47 Yeah, once you've been doing it long enough it's sort of second nature, and doesn't really detract from the game -- instead it makes you pay attention to every single play. I did it sometimes as a kid, and got back into the habit when I was writing about games for the Voice, because then you have everything that happened on one sheet for convenient reference later -- just about every beat writer I met keeps score. Plus it's just geekily neat to have an entire game preserved in cryptic notes on a page.

I only do it those times when I'm at a game alone though -- if I'm with friends, I'm talking too much...

2007-04-25 15:15:11
53.   JimCobain
46 47 I haven't done it since I was a kid and then a little bit in high school when as a pitcher we scroed and tracked the ABs. I am the one who first brought it up here. I figure I am going to the game alone tomorrow, and might be a nifty old time thing to do, especially with Hughes making his debut.

I remember my Dad showing me the score card from the Chambliss game and you can see the excitment in the final filled in diamond there, you could see how hard he was pressing and the quick strokes. I know I am getting a little sentimental and metaphysical, but there is something romantic about a nicely filled out scorecard. Not for record keeping, but as a keepsake.

2007-04-25 18:13:31
54.   Al Rogers
I can't resist one liners. its like scrable(sp)

"Hughes 'da Boss"

"Huuuuughes Are U"

"Guess Hughes Coming To Dinner"


"Philing Me"

"Phil 'dis"

"Philder's Choice"

"Look At Those Philies"

and if stinks up the joint ---

"Phil 'da Grave"

"We Got Hughes"

thank you, thank you very much. don't forget to validate your parking.

2007-04-25 18:15:13
55.   Al Rogers
Oh, strike "Philng Me"

and replace with "Can You Phil It"

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