An Explanation for the Phillies’ Recent Bullpen Silliness
Perhaps no publication has had an editorial stance of being more distraught and mystified by Charlie Manuel’s bullpen usage than this one. However, a source inside the Phillies’ front office has told us that the Phillies’ manager, a keen student of history, is in fact adapting a tactical doctrine from the late 12th Century to baseball.
It’s not unusual for coaches to adapt tenets of military strategy to sports as motivational or organizational guideposts–Patriots coach Bill Belichick is fond of Sun Tzu, though Clausewitz is also said to be popular–but Manuel, the source says, is fond of a doctrine first conceived of in the Third Crusade.
The story centers on a man named Louis Phillippe, a barber from Anjou, France. When Pope Gregory VIII called for a crusade to retake Jerusalem–which had been lost in a siege in 1187, the events of which were stylized and loosely retold in Ridley Scott’s 2005 film Kingdom of Heaven–Louis Phillippe, a deeply religious man, responded to the call and volunteered to serve as a man-at-arms in the army of King Richard I of England. Barbers of the time often doubled as makeshift doctors and surgeons, so when Louis Phillippe’s unit was separated from the army and ambushed by a Byzantine battalion six months into the campaign. Louis Phillippe tended expertly to the wounded, and when the survivors retreated to safety, he fought bravely at the rearguard, allowing dozens of his fellow soldiers to escape.
When Louis Phillippe and his companions were reunited with the Crusader army, news of his heroism reached King Richard himself, and he was granted an audience before the Holy See himself. Pope Celestine III, who succeeded Gregory and Clement III, both of whom had died in the intervening years, took a liking to the young man and insisted that he be released from the Crusader army and serve as the Pope’s personal valet and barber.
Louis Phillippe served happily in Rome until 1196, when the pontiff had a dream that he took to be a vision from God Himself. Celestine called for Louis Phillippe and asked him to crop his hair short and remove his trademark beard. Louis Phillippe did so, and the newly-shorn pope commanded his barber to return to his home in Anjou with a lock of the pope’s hair, seek an audience with the count, and declare that it was God’s will for all of Europe to be united under a single flag to conquer not only Jerusalem–which Richard the Lionheart would ultimately fail to do–but the Moorish caliphate in Iberia as well. It is said that Celestine sent out dozens of such messengers around this time.
Louis Phillippe, the pope’s friend and servant, took a letter of introduction from Pope Celestine and a bag of his hair, and set off for Anjou. When he arrived at the castle, he was stopped at the gate and denied entry, arrested, and brought before the count in chains. Louis Phillippe’s letter had been confiscated in the meantime, and when he preached the Pope’s vision of the united Christian Europe, he was laughed out of the room, arrested and sentenced to be burned at the stake as a heretic.
Louis Phillippe protested, citing his bond of friendship with the pope, but the count was unimpressed. He had no reason to believe Louis Phillippe was who he said he was–an emissary from the pontiff–and demanded the sentence be carried out immediately.
Louis Phillippe of Anjou was executed on December 1, 1195. His ashes were scattered in a field somewhere in northwestern France.
If you’re wondering what possible application this story has to baseball, here’s what Charlie Manuel got out of it:
A papal bond is worthless if you’re in a situation where you can’t get credit for the shave.