Welcome to the MLB Star Power Index -- a weekly undertaking that determines with awful authority which players are dominating the current zeitgeist of the sport, at least according to the narrow perceptions of this miserable scribe. While one's presence on this list is often celebratory in nature, it can also be for purposes of lamentation or ridicule. The players listed are in no particular order, just like the phone book. To this week's honorees ...
Tommy Pham, Reds
In this space, we have a strict policy against celebrating violence or threats of/calls to violence. This policy is in force at all times, save for those times when it is not in force. As you read these words, the policy is not in force. That's because Reds outfielder Tommy Pham has decided the time has come to rain soup-bones down upon the head, neck, chest, abdomen, groin-'n-glutes, hamstrings, quads, feet, and toes of those who afflict him. In this case, those who afflict him are Padres cloutsman Luke Voit, his base-path decisions, and his 30-pound weight advantage.
First, the casus belli, which is Voit's full-contact slide into Cincy catcher Tyler Stephenson:
We're not here to debate anything at all – including whether or not Voit's slide into home was untoward. What we're here to do is observe and appreciate Tommy "Rumble Valley, Fight Mountain, and Payback River" Pham's reaction to that slide. Via the expert transcription efforts of The Athletic's C. Trent Rosecrans:
"If Luke wants to settle it, I get down really well. Anything. Muay Thai, whatever. Like I said, I've got an owner here who will let me use his facility. So f**k 'em. I'm out."
Because the world we have been forced to inhabit is naughty, so, too, must be our words on occasion. Further clarification, regarding the "owner":
Pham said he knows a gym owner in San Diego and said he’s willing to fight Luke Voit— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) April 20, 2022
And regarding Mr. Pham's declaration that "I'm out"? The working assumption is that Mr. Pham is referring to bubble gum to chew and related deficits in the arena of damns to give.
As for Mr. Pham's druthers when it comes to modes of righteous combat, please know that Muay Thai isn't alone on the menu. Need evidence? Please refer to this 2021 shot across the bow directed at fans of the team for whom he now toils:
"When you start cursing at me, it's one thing. It's different from 'Pham sucks.' That's perfectly acceptable. The curse words, I have a problem with because that's not something you would say to me face to face. Where I'm from, in the state of Nevada, it's labeled as assault. Someone comes up to me, cursing at me like that, I could defend myself. I'm a very good fighter. I don't do Muay Thai, Kung Fu and box for no reason."
Just to complete the squared circle in which Mr. Pham is so plainly at home, know that he uttered this solemn warning while he played for the … San Diego Padres. And Mr. Voit? He and Pham were teammates on the 2017 St. Louis Cardinals, so not even a shared history will spare you from crane kicks, hammer-fists, knee strikes, and a jaw-rattling roundhouse or four, all of which will send you crashing through the third story window of an abandoned warehouse and into the bed of a passing dump truck. While you recover -- bound by imagined gossamer in a dreamlike state between life and death -- Tommy Pham will construct another warehouse using only foraged scraps of hickory and frontiersman know-how gleaned from oral tradition, fireman's carry you up to the third floor and kick you through the newly hung window all over again. This time the dump truck will run over you. Tommy Pham will be driving that dump truck.
In this space it is not often that we fete a moundsman who made his major-league debut in 1975, when even the Good Times had Good Times. Then again, it's not often in these miserable days that we have occasion to ponder the essence of Greg "Dirty Desperado" Minton. Please regard this recent street-art dispatch:
Hoss, you're darn right it sold.
Sure, the image may be photoshopped, but it still manages to uplift property values and also the emotional states of all who glimpse it. The original oil-in-canvas is Greg Minton's 1978 Topps card, which is available for sale on Ebay in exchange for vastly less than it's worth. That's the case regardless of whatever the price is.
Now please ponder those soft edges. They conceal the war-drum heart of someone who, despite appearances, is not a driver's ed instructor about to take matters into his own hands. Rather, that is Greg Minton, big-league reliever and patron saint of Marlborough Street. Just up the block you'll find Tommy Pham's Warehouse of Threats. Watch for falling bodies -- Luke Voit's in particular.