So Phillies rookie Antonio Bastardo(notes) will make his first big league start tonight in San Diego and you can already hear bloggers across the Internet nervously laughing with sophomoric anticipation over the chance to refer to him as "Tony Bastard" in tomorrow morning's recaps.
But before you join The Phat Bastards phan club or add the 23-year-old lefty to the list of baseball's unfortunately named, which includes Rusty Kuntz, Dick Pole and J.J. Putz(notes), let it be known that you have another option that shows your mind can rest in other places than just the gutter.
Yes, that's right. You can take the high road here and the first person to drop a bit of wine knowledge around Wednesday's water cooler by revealing that bastardo is also the name of a grape that is used to make wine!
"Bastardo is a red grape used in Portuguese wines. Often blended into port wines it is less robust than other grapes such as Touriga Nacional. In the Alentejo region of southern Portugal you can find varietal wines of Bastardo and at the same time quite often you will see it in blends. It tends to be at it's best when blend into richer dessert style wines."
Though some light Internet research shows that bastardo is usually considered an "inferior port wine grape," it would appear that Phillie fans can hope for a higher ceiling from Bastardo, who could really help Philly's leaky rotation — or at least until Jake Peavy(notes) gets his act together.
As Tim Malcolm of Phillies Nation writes:
"Bastardo's stuff is a fastball that runs between 88 and 91, a changeup that clocks in at the low-80s and a tight, re-worked slider that hits about the same on the gun. The difference: The changeup is by all accounts a plus-plus pitch, while the slider is about average, still in the gestation stage. In short, his repertoire echoes that of Cole Hamels(notes): A killer changeup, a solid setup fastball and a ordinary but workable breaking pitch. And he can throw them all for strikes."
Bastardo's stats over 47.2 innings pitched between AA and AAA-ball this year are rather impressive — 1.89 ERA, 51 Ks and only 32 hits and 10 walks for a 0.88 WHIP.
As Tim points out, Bastardo probably won't last deep into tonight's game, but if he posts numbers like that in the bigs, he'll be spotlighted for a lot more than just his name.