The Philadelphia Phillies apparently have a new pregame routine, and it’s catching fans a bit off-guard.
NBC Sports Philadelphia caught footage of backup catcher Garrett Stubbs attempting to soothe teammates with a “head scratcher” scalp massager before Friday’s series opener at the Cincinnati Reds.
Third baseman Alec Bohm definitely appeared to be really, really enjoying the experience before he took the field. Infielder Edmundo Sosa needed some brief coaxing to take his cap off for Stubbs, but also didn’t seem to mind the quick massage.
The life of an MLB backup catcher can sometimes be mundane when they aren’t seeing playing time. Since the Philadelphia Phillies have one of the best backstops in the game in J.T. Realmuto, Stubbs often needs to find other ways to help the team.
However, the head scratcher … well, fans weren’t exactly sure how to feel about that.
Given that the team is currently residing at the foot of the National League East with a 4-9 record heading into Friday’s contest, many Philadelphia Phillies fans believe it’s time for Stubbs and his teammates to find a new pregame routine.
However, other Phillies fans seem much more confident that the defending National League champions will return to their winning ways soon enough and aren’t entirely bothered by the custom.
Many are applauding Stubbs, in his second season with Philadelphia after opening his career with three years of backing up in the Houston Astros organization, for trying to get his teammates in the right frame of mind before going out to turn around the team’s achingly slow start.
In early returns, Stubbs’ routine appears to be working. Bohm earned a walk in his initial at-bat in the first inning. As for Sosa, he launched a second-inning home run.
Philadelphia Phillies yet to find their groove in 2023
The Philadelphia Phillies are a talented team that has struggled out of the gate in the face of some serious injury adversity.
Superstar outfielder Bryce Harper is recovering from Tommy John surgery, first baseman Rhys Hoskins likely will not play this season due to a torn ACL suffered in Spring Training, and his understudy, Darick Hall is on the injured list with a thumb injury.
Harper is working out at first base during his rehab in an attempt to get back in the lineup sooner.