Over the past few months, two things can be taken away from when FOX broadcasts Philadelphia Phillies‘ games. And those two things would be that the in-game broadcasters like to interview Jonathan Pettibone and that Cliff Lee likes to pelt his teammate with sunflower seeds during said interviews.
Pettibone, a 22-year-old rookie-starting pitcher, has not even been in the major leagues three months, but he has already been interviewed twice by the FOX broadcasters during game telecasts. And while the interviews may have been by different announcing teams, the interviews themselves have followed a very similar formula.
Both times, Pettibone has been asked about his father.
By now, most Phillies fans probably know what Pettibone’s father, Jay, once played for Charlie Manuel back when Manuel was with the Cleveland Indians organization. And now, father-and-son have both played for the same manager, something that has come up in more than one of Pettibone’s interviews.
And the young pitcher, when asked about how it feels to play for the same manager as his dad, always tells the same story, that goes a little like this (paraphrased, mind you): “My dad always tells me when talking about Charlie, if you think it is hard to understand him now, try doing it 20, 30 years ago.”
The announcers, as if on cue, laugh and the interview continues, typically going in the direction of Pettibone’s early success.
But you know what?
I can’t honestly tell you other than the questions about his dad, what exactly Pettibone has been asked. That would be because my attention is diverted elsewhere, namely at the flying projectile sunflower seeds being tossed at Pettibone’s head.
The culprit? Lee — who with the absence of players like Brett Myers and Shane Victorino, seems to have become the prankster of the team.
Leading the brigade, Lee lobbed sunflowers at Pettibone during his first ever in-game interview and to the rookie’s credit, he handled it like a pro. Pettibone continued to answer the questions and smiled, all the while being pelted by seeds.
It was so funny that one might say FOX’s choice to again interview Pettibone, during the Phillies’ July 6 game against the Atlanta Braves, may have been intentional just to see what Lee would do.
And so it began. Pettibone put on the headset, told the story about Charlie and his dad and stood there like a champ as sunflower seeds hit him. But this time, Pettibone was smart.
When the interview resumed from commercial, Pettibone was seen with a helmet on top of the headset on top of his cap. So when the sunflower seeds continued to rain down, Pettibone likely didn’t even feel them.
However, the rookie’s helmet trick didn’t stop reliever Mike Adams from sticking gum and then proceeding to place a plastic, disposable cup on top of the helmet. And all along, Pettibone ignored it and continued the interview. Even as Lee, Adams and the gang turned it into a game, now attempting to get the seeds into the cup on Pettibone’s helmet.
At the end of the interview, Pettibone and Lee were seen talking and laughing in the dugout, no doubt about how the veteran once again got the rookie on live, national television.
Now that is rookie hazing at its finest!