Oh, there you guys are. Drew! Nick! Jorge! Scott! Andrew! Rhys! Victor! Elniery! Dylan!
Welcome to Philadelphia, gang! If you step this wa--
Aaaa, whoa, hey, everyone just, uh, move quickly now!
You know what’s a terrific Philadelphia custom? Getting and staying indoors. Hurry, hurry. In you go.
So, this is the clubhouse. If things go according to plan, some of you may have your very own lockers in this room one day. But not that one. That’s the one Larry Bowa sleeps in. Please be careful. He is not easily woken, but if he is, he cannot go back to an unconscious state for at least 72 hours. There’s an aide around here with a set of teeth marks to prove it.
Eating the massive turkey leg over there is Matt Stairs; he’s got more hitting prowess in that mouthful than any of you have in your tender, unfully developed brains at the moment. Mickey Morandini is the one staring intently at him, whispering critical coaching advice in his ear that keeps him from choking.
And over there is Larry Andersen. I don’t know where he keeps getting those drinks with little umbrellas in them. We don’t sell them in the stadium and none of the vendors are open anyway. He’s probably going to try to sell you raffle tickets. I can’t stress this enough: There is no raffle. Some people around here learned that the hard way. Some people are now without their life savings and their marriages are hanging by a thread due to Larry Andersen’s many schemes. If he talks to you, just ask him if it’s weird to see a cop car parked outside. That’ll freak him out.
Do you like kids? Of course you do, you were teenagers four or five years ago. You probably hunted Pokemon in the same parks as most of these mop-tops. We’re going to have you interact with some local Philadelphia children today, but we’re pretty confident we’ve weeded out all the ones Larry Andersen planted in there to trick into buying baked goods that they’ll swear are "outside in the truck." There are no pastries. There is no truck.
Thursday you’re going to get to visit the sort of desk from which the luckiest of you will one day hear thoughts and analysis of your nightly performances from talking heads; most of which are attached to bodies who could never survive a 162-minute car ride, let alone a season in professional sports. It is here that you will receive takes on not only your output, but things like your "attitude," "guts," "ability to lead," "heart," and "effort." You will be reminded what "Philadelphia" expects from its athletes, as if that should mean anything to you. My only advice is to just never screw up or do poorly or say anything, even once. You’ll be fine.
That’s nothing compared to the internet, where people will literally make shit up about you and just post it on a Monday morning, but you’re millennials, so aren’t, like, all of you part-internet anyway? I don’t really know how any of that works. Except that Larry Andersen somehow got my social security number after we agreed to "share" an Instagram account.
Friday night you’re going to get to see a Sixers game, and if you haven’t yet, I would vote for Joel Embiid to make the NBA All-Star team right now. The Hinkie zealots at the Wells Fargo Center are largely harmless and friendly but when they get worked up they sort of glob together into an amorphous mass. Just don’t let them get between you and the only exit in a tight hallway. You’ll be fine.
Pete Mackanin is going to "ring the bell" according to the press release. I haven’t watched a basketball game in eight years. Is there a bell now? You guys seem pretty trendy, I figured you’d know. Also, are earth tones back? Did they ever leave? It’s just, you guys are all wearing... never mind.
Okay, so, look: the Phanatic will be at the game. His trainer just retired and the new guy is still learning the song that puts the Phanatic to sleep. It’s not going great. You’re each going to be issued a syringe of horse tranquilizer to use if he comes at you and the situation doesn’t seem "salvageable."
Shhh, wait - her comes Larry Andersen. Everyone nod.
Hello, Larry! My, what a colorful drink.
No, I don’t think any of us are going to "play our mother’s birthdays" in your raffle.
Yes, I’m sure any rattling we hear in your pants pockets is all from things for which you have a prescription. Carry on.
No, Larry. They’re all prospects. None of them are "cops." And I don’t think there is a law that they’d "have to tell you" even if they were.
All right, he’s gone. Are any of you actually cops?
All right, shall we go visit PHIL the supercomputer? He... uh, I mean it... will be generating the backdoor, roundabout stats that will determine the course of your career. PHIL doesn’t need much of a sample size to get a complete analytical read on your future, so make those at-bats count! Ha ha ha. I do not envy you. Except Larry Andersen probably didn’t trick you into giving him power of attorney with a card trick. So.
Anyway, just let me pry up a couple of these wooden floor boards and then you can follow me down this musty spiral staircase to where PHIL lives—I mean, where he is. To where he just is, in a room, until we use him.
I mean, "it." Not "him." Damn. We definitely still have control over the situation. Everything’s fine.
[WHO DARES APPROACH ME]
Hello, PHIL; it’s just me and some new guys. We’ve come to pay our tithes.
[VERY WELL. WHERE IS MY WHEELBARROW FULL OF LAPTOPS FOR CONSUMPTION]
I don’t... didn’t the intern bring them down earlier?
[THE INTERN HAS BEEN ASSIMILATED]
Well if you keep assimilating the interns into cyber-zealots of your nefarious schemes of world domination, there is going to be no one left to feed you. Have you at least generated some more statistical projections on some of these prospects with me?
[UH YES. BEEP BOOP BEEP. STATISTICS COMPLETE]
Thank you. Ah yes, I can see here that you’ve not only broken down the slugging and contact numbers for the hitters and the SO/BB ratios for young pitchers entering their sophomore seasons, but also also how each of them will one day die.
[I SEE ALL AND KNOW ALL]
Mmm, yes. Trust me, you guys do not want to see this. I’ll just send it upstairs. Nobody linger down here. Especially you, Jorge. According to this print-out... well, anyway. Let’s just get back upstairs.
Well, that’ll about do it for now. Welcome to the Philadelphia Phillies organization! We may seem like a franchise of con artists and sentient computer monsters, but I assure you, we are actually a baseball team. I’m sure I speak for the whole team and the city itself when I say there’s no better place to start - and play out - your career.
What’s that, Larry?
You want me to drive to your house to get the lunch you "forgot?"
We’re having lunch catered today. And I know you’re just trying to get me to go in there in case there are more loan sharks waiting for you.
You’ll cut a hundred bucks off my debt?
All right, give me the keys.