The funkiest dude in the Phillies’ major league camp in 2012 was Vance Worley. Vanimal was by far the wackiest character in the clubhouse.
Worley is gone, but there is another out there pitcher in camp. Meet Kyle Simon.
Simon was under the radar as a scuffling Single-A starter in the Orioles’ organization. But Simon was converted into a relief pitcher and he took off in Clearwater and Double-A Reading. Simon doesn’t just have an arm. He possesses a goofy sense of humor and an ironic mustache.
“I’m not with the Yankees, so I can have fun with this mustache,” Simon said. “The Phillies are good with rules. I don’t want to throw Baltimore under the bus, but Philly is a great organization.”
Simon might be the most self-deprecating athlete you’ll ever meet. When asked about his prowess anywhere off the mound, Simon downplayed his skills.
“All I can do is pitch,” Simon said. “I’m a true pitcher. I can’t hit or even bunt all that well. I’ve gotten better at bunting. I’ve gone from terrible to what I think is decent, but I’m still working at it.”
Most players in camps didn’t only excel at baseball but typically led their football, basketball and even ice hockey teams.
“I played water polo,” Simon said. “I was the goalie. I didn’t have to move around much, which was good for me.”
Is water polo a real sport? C’mon Kyle.
“I can’t run,” Simon said. “I’m not that athletic. Just watch me move around out there.”
Simon isn’t the most coordinated athlete but the strapping hurler, at 6-foot-6, is the sort of guy who can throw a fastball with movement and keep his teammates loose.
“I’ve always been the goofball,” Simon said. “I like that role.”
Simon looks like a cross between a “Saturday Night Live” character Dan Aykroyd played back in the 1970s, ‘Fred Garvin, male prostitute’ and a number of guys Will Ferrell depicted.
“I’ve heard all about it,” Simon said as he pulls out a “Ron Burgundy” T-shirt. “Ferrell was great in the Burgundy movie. I like to catch Ferrell’s movies.”
Simon would like a major-league gig, but realizes that a jump from Double-A to MLB contender, is a longshot.
“That’s alright,” Simon said. “Who could have guessed that I would be in this situation a year ago? For me, it’s awesome to just be here and give it a shot. It’s the most amazing experience. It beats water polo.”
Screwballs: Interesting characters in red pinstripes
» Roger McDowell: One of the all-time great pranksters, McDowell appeared in a “Seinfeld” episode as himself.
» Mitch Williams: Wild Thing was quirky. When throwing out the first pitch prior to 2009 playoff game, he fired it into the screen. Hilarious.
» Turk Wendell: Turk brushed his teeth in between innings, jumped over the base lne on his way back to dugout and chewed black licorice before each appearance.
» Darren Daulton: Whatever happened with that Mayan calendar thing, Dutch? Are we still here?