Crash Bag, Vol. 5: Wing Bowl, Ice Cream, and Conception

Congratulations, everyone! We’ve nearly made it through the 2016-17 offseason. This marks the first Crash Bag of February and, therefore, the first Crash Bag of my doing in a month where baseball players will do baseball things wearing their teams’ uniforms. The darkness is almost lifted on the offseason, but we have some dark questions to bring us back down to earth, starting with a biggie.

@Chet_Youbetcha: Which current player would win wing bowl? Who would be the most fun to attend with? Any wing bowl mail bag discussion would be neat.

I had the misfortune of attending Wing Bowl a couple years ago, I believe it was 2014. At the time, I worked with Skin and Bones, a local fixture on the Wing Bowl scene. A couple of us took off work that day and went to see him eat wings. I knew, generally, what Wing Bowl was, and was ready to feel out of place and be constantly appalled by my fellow attendees. But, that abstract distaste was nothing compared the the actual disgust I felt during the two or three hours I was in the Wells Fargo Center.

I’ll focus on two events to highlight my experience. First, one of the floats in the opening parade of the event featured a black mannequin of a Cowboys player hanging in a noose. Now, I get that we hate the Cowboys here in Philadelphia and that they’ve employed some truly loathsome players over the years, not the least of which was Greg Hardy, whose well-documented history of domestic violence was poo-pooed by Jerry Jones. I’m not going to argue against an institutional hatred of the Cowboys.

But, the hanging of black people has a very specific history in America going back to, well, not very long ago. Slavery ended a mere 150 years ago and Jim Crow laws ruled many parts of the country as recently as 50 years ago. Many of the attendees are old enough to actually remember this history first-hand. It’s not something that should be celebrated or taken lightly. This float was very well received by the drunken masses of Wing Bowl, which should be deeply disturbing to any sentient human being with a loose familiarity with American history.

The second came during what is a staple of Wing Bowl: women exposing their breasts on the jumbotron. Now, I have to say that I don’t have any fundamental disagreement with this. The objectification of women’s bodies by these drunken men is certainly reprehensible, but if a grown woman chooses to participate in it, fair play to them, I guess. I wouldn’t do it, but in this case, I’d say, “to each, her own.”

One instance, however, was particularly jarring to me. The camera repeatedly panned to what appeared to be a father-daughter pairing in one of the club boxes. I say this not because there was a profound age difference between the two, but because there was added evidence of a woman of more commensurate age to the man with his arm around him. Now, if I were a father of a girl, Wing Bowl would be the last place I would take my daughter. But, again, maybe she wanted to go, so I’ll leave that be. However, each time the camera landed on them, the father reached over and pulled down his daughter’s tube top to expose her breasts to the great delight of the feasting eyes of the Wing Bowl disciples. It was very uncomfortable.

Anyway, to the actual question. Which current (presumably Phillies) player would win Wing Bowl? I don’t think I’m straying far from public consensus, such as it is in these matters, in saying that Cameron Rupp or Tommy Joseph would enter as the prohibitive favorites. Tommy Joseph is so old–note: he’s not actually old–that I imagine he would have to drop out early with some acid reflux or indigestion. There aren’t enough Tums in the world to get him through this. Meanwhile, the vision of wing sauce and chicken bits stuck in Cameron Rupp’s beard brings joy to my black heart, so, for my sanity in these dark days, I’m calling Cameron Rupp the winner.

Most fun to attend with is a very different question. Many would probably just want a good drinking buddy who would be 100% into the Wing Bowl. In that case, take Clay Buchholz or maybe even Odubel Herrera. As a side note, Odubel would be a fantastic contestant so long as he promised to flip his wing bones after each finished wing. This would make counting difficult, but Wing Bowl has always been more about entertainment than actual wing-eating skill.

As someone who felt totally alone at Wing Bowl, I would want someone that I would expect to share my experience of crippling discomfort with the proceedings. As best I can tell, none of the current Phillies are particularly outspoken on social issues, but I project Freddy Galvis as my ideal Wing Bowl companion on the sole basis of his midsummer plea for expanded ballpark netting after hitting a girl with a foul ball. He was reminded of his own daughter. In response to the incident, he said, “What year is this? 2016?” I would hope he would have a similar sentiment about Wing Bowl. It’s 2016, we’re beyond this now.

@GlennQSpoonerSt: Betts, JBJ, Benintendi, Bogaerts, Moncada, Devers, Margot, etc. – Why are @RedSox so much better at drafting/signing young talent than Phils?

This is a good question, and I don’t feel that I’m totally qualified to answer it especially when it comes to international signings. But, I appreciate the question and will take a shot at it.

First, we have to divide these players into three groups:

  1. Drafted players the Phillies had a chance at: Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley, Jr.
  2. Players drafted before the Phillies first pick: Andrew Benintendi
  3. International signings: Xander Bogaerts, Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers, Manuel Margot.

As Michael Baumann has noted countless times in these pages, selecting Larry Greene (39th overall) over JBJ (40th overall) was as unconscionable mistake at the time as it appears now. Bradley was a polished college player with at least two major league ready tools in fielding and speed. Larry Greene was a big raw blob of questionable promise. That is as true now as it was in June 2011. I don’t think the current Phillies front office would make the same mistake, but at the time, it was a stark reflection of the Phillies obsession with selecting raw, potentially toolsy high school players over perhaps lower upside college players with already-developed tools.

Mookie Betts is a bit of a different story. He was drafted in the 5th round, so it wasn’t just the Phillies who didn’t see him as a strong prospect. Literally every other team did too. The Red Sox picked seven players before they picked Betts, so they probably didn’t think too highly of him either. It took Betts three years in the minors before making a top-100 prospect list. These things happen. In a perfect world, the Phillies see that promise before 29 other teams do, but I’m not holding Betts against them.

Benintendi went 7th overall in the 2015 draft. The Phillies picked at #10 in that draft and went with Cornelius Randolph. You could have argued for them to take someone else there, but you can’t trade up in the MLB Draft, so missing Benintendi isn’t their fault.

The international signings are a bit different. Moncada made a record amount of money in that process and came with the cost of sitting out of international free agency the following season. I’ll give them a pass on that.

The other three are a bit different. Bogaerts signed for $410,000, Devers for $1.5 million, and Margot for $800,000. International signings are a fickle beast as they are signed at age-16. There’s a lot of projection there, and the Phillies have traditionally chosen to spread their money around to a ton of players hoping a couple of them work out. They’ve done relatively well in this regard with Maikel Franco, Franklyn Kilome, and Sixto Sanchez most notable among their international signings. You take your shots and sometimes you hit, sometimes you miss a guy, sometimes you whiff badly. The Phillies–and every organization–have done all three. On balance, though, I think they’ve done a good job here.

The larger question, I think, is about how the Red Sox develop players once within their system that makes them better regarded as prospects. I don’t have a solid answer to that. I will say that there is potential for that changing going forward with the Phillies new front office an Ruben Amaro, Jr.’s institution of a Phillies Way before his departure to hopefully create organizational consistency in development, something that has really benefitted organizations like the Cardinals for years.

?@MikeGianella: Where do babies come from?

Mike, I think you’re much more qualified to answer this question than I am. Your Twitter profile lists you as a dad, which suggests that you have firsthand experience with the coming-into-being of babies. Nevertheless, our political discourse–from discussions of evolutionary protections against “legitimate rape” to myths about what birth control actually does–suggests that there is a general misunderstanding regarding the answer to this question. I would encourage the reader to read up on the topic from neutral, scientific sources. If you’re ever presented with this question, as I was 100 or so words ago, this WikiHow page seems like a good start for answering it.

@vgp100: What is Cesar Hernandez?

César Augusto Hernández (born May 23, 1990) is a Major League Baseball second baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies. A native of Valencia, Carabobo in Venezuela, the Phillies signed Hernández as an undrafted amateur free agent at age 16. He slowly progressed through the lower levels of the Phillies’ farm system, however ultimately caught speed upon reaching Class A, and from there took only three seasons to make his major league debut, substituting for Michael Young (baseball)” href=””>Michael Young during the 2013 Philadelphia Phillies season. Later in the season, he dabbled as a center fielder, helping to replace an injured Ben Revere” href=””>Ben Revere. Entering the 2014 season, his status on the major league roster was uncertain, however he had established himself as a solid prospect to play in the major leagues at some point. César had a 12-game hitting streak from June 26 to July 7, 2015.[1]Wikipedia

That seems to do a good enough job for starters, but I sense that your question is more along the lines of, “what should we make of Cesar Hernandez as a baseball playing second baseman?”

Michael Schickling had Hernandez’s 2016 report card. I think he did a goo job addressing that question there while acknowledging the great uncertainty we have around his ability to replicate his ~4 WAR 2016. The bottom line is that there is nothing in Cesar’s 2016 performance that sticks out as a huge red flag, so, our tactic should be to cautiously say that he’s as good as he was in 2016. If that’s the case, Sticking puts it succinctly: “But here’s the thing: a player who can hit above the league average and play a passable second base is a very valuable player.”

@OhWowHmm: Would you like to see Pete throw an ice cream party instead of playing baseball during spring training a la Joe Maddon?

I can’t find any internet evidence of Joe Maddon throwing an ice cream party for his players, but I don’t think that’s essential to the question. Would I like to see Pete Mackanin throw an ice cream party in lieu of a Spring Training game? From a baseball standpoint, I think the answer is no. The Phillies have a ton of young players in camp, some of whom will be seeing major league pitchers for the first time. For this crew, that experience is probably more valuable than whatever morale boost an ice cream party would provide.

But, for my joy as a baseball fan, yes, Pete should throw an ice cream party for the players and invite my buddies at Crashburn Alley and The Good Phight to join in the fun. We’d be much better company in such an environment than the traditional media.

That’ll do it for this week’s Crash Bag. If you would like your question featured in a subsequent edition of the Bag, you can direct it to me on Twitter @CF_Larue or via email at eric[dot]chesterton[at]gmail[dot]com.

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  1. G Love

    February 03, 2017 11:39 PM

    If you waste my time with baby, wing bowl or what is your favorite color dildo questions again I will go to other options. CBA wull be dead to me.

  2. Nura

    February 04, 2017 02:59 AM

    Answer stupid questions, get a stupid comment. Wish the internet could apply the golden rule to trolls about if you don’t have anything useful to say don’t read it. That’s what is for.

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