CLEARWATER, Fla. — A loyal Stewie named Stevie B. emailed on Monday night to suggest a simple solution to my Joe Blanton nickname dilemma that I hadn't even considered.
Instead of drawing a direct parallel to obese rapper Fat Joe so we can co-opt the excellent "Terror Squad" moniker for the other four pitchers, using Philadelphia's provincial way of spelling things that start with an "F" can make all the difference. Yes, with the simple addition of two letters (and the subtraction of one), we go from poking fun at Blanton to praising his role as a solid starting pitcher and a member of the 2008 World Series title team.
I insist on using the "Ph-" spelling of "Phat" out of respect to Joe Blanton(notes), since he's looking pretty trim these days and is one of the guys whose presence on the team is constantly taken for granted. He's a solid pitcher, an easy guy to root for, and I'm disappointed that most of the media considers him an afterthought at this point given the pedigree of the rest of the rotation.
The "F" to "Ph" conversion is frequently abused here, but I think it's perfectly appropriate when the alternative is someone misinterpreting it as an insult to a homer-mashing WFC.
Are we all in agreement? Phat Joe and the Terror Squad it is, then.
(Just make sure to denote the spelling if you're ever in the presence of the Philadelphia Phillies.)