Confession time. I’m not really Phil Coke. Well, you knew that already didn’t you? Truthfully, I haven’t even been a Phil Coke parody for a long time, if ever. Sure, I’ve written from Phil’s perspective, but basically the twitter feed has been a character I’ve built, stupid jokes, and Phil Coke references. But you know all this already, so why am I talking about it?
First of all, It is time to be done with the parody. Sure, it is a fun idea, but about a week into it I decided it was silly to act like the rest of the player parodies. I decided that I would put my own spin on it and abandon strict adherence to Phil’s life and play.
Second, When I started this silly account I thought the world of Tigers baseball was so beyond me I really couldn’t touch it. However, over the last year it has opened up the opportunity to have a host of conversations. At first I could just write whatever I wanted knowing no one of any importance would ever see it or care. As it has grown some people have picked up on it. It has even gotten to the point where people are asking Phil Coke himself about it. That’s not fair to Phil. In order to ensure there is no confusion, I am dropping the guise. I have the utmost respect for Phil and never want to make him upset. I hope it is pretty clear that I think Phil is awesome.
Why is Phil awesome? Yes, he does take the game seriously but you get the sense that he does know IT IS A GAME and it looks like he is HAVING FUN. Baseball is an activity that brings joy to peoples’ lives. If following and/or writing about the Tigers doesn’t bring you joy, you are doing it wrong (unless it is your job, then it is completely fine to be miserable).
Third, I simply don’t have the discipline of someone like @oldhossradbourn who can faithfully hide behind the wall. I enjoy interacting with people and have even had the opportunity to meet some of you. I would like to do more of this in the future, but I can’t do this if I’m so tied to this guise. In fact, I was hoping to attend the blessyouboys.com meet-up before scheduling conflicts arose.
So as of today there is going to be a slight shift. I am no longer going to write and tweet from Phil’s perspective but from my own (well, kind of). I am still going to keep a low profile, but I’ll be a little more open about myself if you are interested (you aren’t). Don’t worry, I will still be the same old Phil Coke’s Brain and will always center on Detroit Tigers baseball and general merrymaking. I’m not going to change my blog name or my twitter handle, but I have changed the name on my Twitter account to Eric (since that’s my name). Think of PhilCokesBrain sort of like a really dorky CB handle. Shoot, if there is a guy that goes by “Christmas Ape” maybe I can still use PhilCokesBrain. Of course Coke will remain a focal point of the account and the blog, because that is awesome.
In the end this is really nothing new. I just hope I don’t wake up tomorrow and see I don’t have any followers left.
I had a lot of fun with this flow chart on BlessYouBoys. Long story short — I had inclued Torii Hunter in a previous edition and then moved things around. In the end I didn’t included him.
Here is my attempt to make amends.
The NCAA men’s basketball tournament brackets were released yesterday thus is time for my annual rite of spring: losing money in the office pool. This year I know even less about the teams, but the good news is that the field is more unpredictable than ever. So let’s just go by something I actually know a little about. Behold, the Detroit Tigers bracket! Hey, it can’t possibly be worse than picking teams by mascots or uniform colors or by who Digger Phelps likes.
The world is a complex place full of all types of people, cultures, and languages. It can be tough to sort it all out! I find it especially troublesome to learn how to pronounce new words and unique names. It is a good thing we live in 2013 and have the Internet unlike our parents who just banged rocks with sticks and pooped in holes in the ground. We can simply stroll over the YouTube and take a look. Let’s do that together, shall we?
First off is the somewhat helpful PronunciationBook. There you can find a host of different words helpfully pronounced.
However, I often find PronunciationGuide to be more accurate and helpful. Check it out.
Up until this very moment, however, some of the more difficult names of your Detroit Tigers were still a mystery. Lucky for you the ol’ Brain is here to clear it up for you.
There! Now you are fully prepared to talk to your friends and fellow Tigers fans about your favorite players!
How about a couple of bonus pronunciations
Disclaimer: This post requires a departure from character. If you cannot tolerate this sort of thing please read no further.
One week ago I met Phil Coke.
Chris Iott, Tigers beat writer for Mlive and one of my favorite tweeters, set up the meeting and wrote a terrific story about it. The story lays out how everything happened, but I thought I would throw a few more or things from my perspective.
The first indication that my little enterprise had gotten back to Phil was about half way through the 2011 season. A tweeter, who’s name I’ve long forgotten, said he asked Phil about it and the response was not positive. The tweet wasn’t real clear and I brushed it off along with a couple of others the remainder of the season.
There was a game that year where I walked past the parking garage and I saw Phil’s vehicle stopped as he was signing some autographs. I thought, “I’m going to do it, I’m going to go up to Phil and say something about this.” As I walked across the street I began to process. What am I going to do? Am I going to just walk up to him and be like, “Hey Phil! I’m your brain!” One of two things could happen. One, he and the people around him will have no idea what I’m talking about and I’ll look like a complete tool. Or two, he’ll know exactly what I’m talking about and be pissed about it. Neither outcome seemed very good so I slinked back across the street and went home.
During Spring Training 2012 things got real. I heard through back channels that Phil was asked about the account in the clubhouse, and then, sure enough, Tom Gage published THIS. My first response was to laugh out loud. My second response was, “Oh no, this isn’t real good.” You see, when I started this I figured everything with the Tigers was out of my reach. I figured no one would pay any attention. Well, now someone was.
This takes us to the playoffs last year when Chris floated the idea of setting up a meeting. I also started to get the impression that Phil was asked about the account more that a couple of times.
My bride and I planned our trip, we flew to Florida, and the appointment was set. Honestly, this sounds weak, but didn’t sleep real well the night before. I rehearsed in my mind what I was going to say, what he might say, and what I might ask him.
I walked around the fence and the guy wearing a Tigers polo and a radio gave me a nod instead of chewing me out for entering restricted territory. Phil walked up with his always distinctive strut and asked, “So, do you have something to tell me?”.
“uh…I am…Phil Coke’s Brain on the internet”
Phil gave a grunt and a nodded with a sinister smile and raised eyebrows. After some additional introductions and moments of awkwardness we had a bit of a conversation.
There wasn’t a lot of back and forth because, honestly, I had my tail tucked between my legs most of the time. This is his turf and his meeting and I am…well, just a guy who pretends to be him on the internet.
To say it is hard to get a bead on Phil is an understatement. I do believe he is legitimately annoyed. If not with my shenanigans directly then certainly with the questions he gets asked. People do really think it is him. We both agreed these people are stupid. Phil said, “I have people in camp asking me if it’s me. ‘How do you do it? How do you do it during the middle of the game? How do you do it when you’re in the bullpen? Where do you have your phone?’ What do you think I have a wire coming out of my ass?!”
I told him I am sorry, and I really am. I will have to do even a better job of reminding people that I am not really Phil Coke. If you do see him, don’t mention it. I don’t mean this to be a problem for anyone.
On the other hand there were things that he seemed pretty mad about that I think he played up. For instance, he heard I tweeted a picture of him licking a window and seemed peeved. I told him I had no idea what he was talking about. He said, “Yeah, there were a bunch of us riding on a bus and I was licking the window”. That’s when I remembered…it was this picture by Samara:
I smiled and told him I remembered the picture. I let him know that I didn’t make it but I did share it. I braced to be chewed out. That’s when he said his wife saw it and she thought it was hilarious.
I got trolled by Phil Coke.
Yes, Phil Coke is hilarious. What you see in interviews is a lot of what you get. You aren’t quite sure where things are going. Most of that comes naturally but I think some of it is calculated and enhanced. Phil told us that his wife says no one can keep up with him, and I could tell there was more than a hint of pride in the statement. I think his wife might be right and he should be proud. No one can keep up with him.
I told him that if he were to get on Twitter he’d have a 100,000 followers in a week or two. He demurred and said he’s not into that stuff. But felt I owed the Internet the duty to ask.
So, even after two years of following a guy and pretending to be his brain I can say with more confidence than ever: there is only one Phil Coke and it is The Phil Coke.
Joker Marchant stadium is perfect for the Detroit Tigers.
If Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex was over-polished and over-produced, Joker is real and earthy. If Disney has staging, Joker has utility and natural grace. Beyond the centerfield fence stands a scaffolding holding two television cameras that I’m not sure would pass even a Guatemalan safety inspection. Nothing like that would fly at “Champions” Stadium.
The employees at Joker are retired northern transplants who are friendly and walk around with a garage bag eager to pick up your trash and exchange a few words. The Braves had young college aged employees with their names and hometowns prominently and precisely placed on uniform name tags. I waited 30 minutes in line at Disney so some young woman (being coached by an older male trainer) could speak into her countryman microphone to me through a mechanical speaker box. She then had to feed my ticket request through a computer and then run my credit card through another, yet more fancy computer. At Joker there are many efficient lines where you are pre-coached on what tickets are available and how much they are. The coach is the same man who later came around to gather garbage on the berm. When I got to the counter there was a friendly older woman who knew exactly what she was doing. And the only tags she had were a couple of skin tags on her neck, symbols of a woman who was experienced and proficient.
Even the air at Joker is different. They have these smokers that billow out rich hickory smoke laced with turkey drumstick fat drippings. It was a smoke more like campfire than the what emanates from the restaurant style griddles at Comerica. It smells like an outdoor ballpark should.
Joker has this little wiffle ball field in a corner that is a little worn at the edges. Worn because it has received good use. Kids feel like they can toss a ball around with out the danger of being scolded by some employee.
Even the fans are a little rough around the edges. The whole game this guy is running his mouth. He’s telling pitchers what to throw. He’s yelling to the batters about what pitch to expect. Peralta gets thrown out and he bellows, “JHONNY, YOU CAN’T BE THAT SLOW!” A complete nut because it is clear that Jhonny can indeed be that slow. He’s got his glove and he’s smacking it. I’m about ready to find a new place to sit. Up comes Cabrera and he starts yelling, “HIT IT HERE MIGGY! I’M READY TO CATCH IT! RIGHT TO ME NOW MIGGY!” I roll my eyes, this guy has lost it. We are deep centerfield with more than fifty people around us. Get over it.
Smack! Here it comes. A little scrum breaks out.
“I TOLD YOU I WAS READY!”
I guess the real nut was me for denying the power of spring training.
The Joker Marchant “skyline” features views of beautiful Lake Parker, but also the sight of the CD McIntosh Jr. power plant across the lake. The plant is a heirloom of industry in an increasing eco-centric world. It almost harkens back to the Motor City itself.
A friend recently told me that Lakeland is “Real Florda” with the winked assumption that it is rather unsavory. I’ll take it. I’m glad the Tigers have too.