“All we ask for in Philly is that you grind. You work. Bring your lunch pail to work every day. Hustle. Show effort.”

-Stereotypical Philly Sports Fan

Yeah? I call bullshit.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe Jalen Mills was a 7th rounder out of LSU, “grinded” his way into a starting job with the Eagles last season, and played an integral part in helping the team win a Super Bowl. And you know what? Everybody hates the guy now.

Philly sports fans who champion this lazy “blue collar” Rocky narrative trash are frauds. Yeah, they love hustle, so long as it’s paired with production, and most importantly, wins. And that is fine, but let’s not act like it’s all about hard work.

That said, it was not only laughable, but completely cliché, and totally expected, when Manny Machado had his postseason from Hell last month for some local fans to dismiss him as a cancerous superstar that wouldn’t be able to hack it in this town. After all, you know by now what he told Ken Rosenthal:

Obviously I’m not going to change, I’m not the type of player that’s going to be ‘Johnny Hustle,’ and run down the line and slide to first base and … you know, whatever can happen. That’s just not my personality, that’s not my cup of tea, that’s not who I am.

 

The audacity! The temerity! For shame, Manny. I mean, would you want this guy on your team?

#CharacterConcerns

 

Of course, fans in this city care about “hustle” and “grit,” so unsurprisingly, many viewed his blasphemous words as a deal breaker and concluded he wasn’t a viable free agent acquisition that could take the Phillies from a mediocre middle of the pack team to true contender. That is, by the way, totally misguided and also insane. Still, Machado subsequently received enough blowback from the masses that he felt compelled to needlessly clarify his comments to MLB.com:

When I was asked that question, I was definitely on the defensive, and I was wrong to answer it the way that I did, because looking back, it doesn’t come across how I meant. For me, I was trying to talk about how I’m not the guy who is eye wash. There’s a difference between fake hustle for show and being someone who tries hard to win. I’ve always been the guy who does whatever he can to win for his team.

This, of course, is an unnecessary clarification, because anybody with any sense knows it is just as meaningless and irrelevant as his initial comments were. But, maybe, just maybe, if the Phillies don’t land Bryce Harper, and instead “settle” for a 3B/SS that slashed .297/.367/.538 last season with 37 homers, that all will be forgiven. If you’re still not sold, let’s check in with his former manager for his thoughts:

Do I prefer Harper? Sure. But I’ll co-sign on Machado as an adequate consolation prize, and he doesn’t even have to promise to bring his lunch pail to work.