October 15, 2008
Shane Victorino has finally arrived.
And I say that not because of the grand slam he hit off CC Sabathia in the NLDS, the onfield brawl he almost sparked with the Dodgers in Game Three of the NLCS or the game-tying two-run homer he hit in Game Four.
I say that because the Phillies centerfielder has finally become enough of a public figure to draw the ire of PETA, a fine group of folks who never met a publicity opportunity they didn't take advantage of.
So what did Victorino do to earn a scolding note from PETA assistant director Dan Shannon?
Well, he has publicly declared that Spam musubi is his favorite food in the entire world. Even though many of us have an aversion to the blue-and-yellow can, the pork product-'n-rice treat is actually very popular in Victorino's native Hawaii.
Flyin' Fryin' Hawaiian's love for a local delicacy doesn't quite fly with PETA and they're using the opportunity to shed light on a recent investigation they did on Hormel's pork suppliers:
"We suspect that the cruelty in every can of Spam will infuriate Shane more than a high Hiroki Kuroda fastball," says Shannon. "If Shane likes Spam a lot, he should buy tickets to the Broadway play but leave it off his dinner plate."
Shannon also sent Victorino a letter detailing Hormel's abuses (read it here) as well as a reminder that it once named Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Ballpark the most vegetarian-friendly in the major leagues. A Phillies spokesman said he will ask Victorino for comment after the World Series.
PETA certainly has a right to raise awareness of their issues, but here's one thing I don't think Shannon took into account before making this protest public: If the Phillies win the World Series, can you imagine just how many Phillies fans will either buy cans of Spam, either to send to Victorino or have him autograph them at the victory parade? Don't forget about the Victorino-as-a-Spam can costumes, such as this one.
Heck, with the way he's been performing this postseason, I wouldn't be surprised to see Philadelphians work a bit of Spam into their cheesesteaks.