The post-game shaving cream pie to the face has become a celebratory Phillies tradition over the years. One reader wanted to know where it all began. In my own experiences, I have been able to trace the practice as far back as 1993 where it happened on a semi-regular basis. Here are a few shots from 1993 where Mitch Williams pied Andy Ashby. You can see the pie in mid-air as Ashby tried to avoid contact during his post-game interview with Harry Kalas:
Usually when a player gets a game winning, walk-off hit, they can expect to get pied. However, sometimes this prank is also carried out following any outstanding performance. For instance, on June 2, 2002, pitcher Robert Person hit two home runs in a game against the Expos, the first of which was a Grand Slam. The result? 7 RBI for Person, a win for the Phils and yes, a pie to the face.
In the 1990’s, the pie incidents were sort of random. But when Tomas Perez joined the Phillies in 2000, he became the “official” Pie Guy and for the next 6 years, he did not miss a beat. Perez pied everyone. And his teammates loved him; Perez was riot in the clubhouse, keeping things loose and fun. And for me personally, Perez was the nicest, most approachable player I had ever met. I always stood in the same place before games and Perez took notice. All I had to do was wave at him, and he would run right over. We spoke before many games and I got countless autographs from him.
The day the Phillies released him in 2006, we had a conversation about his tenure in Philly during batting practice. I told him how glad everyone was that he was still with the team and that his smile always brightened my day. Literally, ½ an hour later, he was released. :O(
Not only was I devastated, but so were Perez’s teammates. Ryan Howard said after the game, “I will miss the pies in the face.” And catcher Mike Lieberthal, another frequent pie’ing victim, added, “He is one of my favorite players I ever played with. He was not only a good player, but he kept everybody loose and is one of the best personalities I have ever been around.”
With the departure of Perez, the torch was passed to Shane Victorino who became the new Pie Guy and has been basically in charge of the prank ever since. Although, Jimmy Rollins, Greg Dobbs and others have been known to help out on occassion. And these days, no one is safe from the Pie Guy:
In fact, some pie pranks are not even reserved for the playing field. This pie attack occurred during an interview with Brett Myers and Kyle Kendrick on NBC’s Today Show. The attack starts at about 2 minutes, 45 seconds into the video:
And some players even get double teamed; check out Carlos Ruiz:
There are some varying opinions on the pie pranks. Some players think it is funny; some are not so thrilled about it. As for the fans, I have heard everything from how funny it is to how stupid it is. One fan told me it is annoying because it ruins the post-game interview. Others wonder if it could be dangerous. And yet others look forward to it and find it entertaining. What do you think? Feel free to comment below.
What I can tell you is this; the Pie Guy is a Phillies tradition that does not appear to be going away any time soon.
Photo credits: Ibanez, Howard, Perez by Jenn; Ashby & Williams by Diana Dickerson; Rollins: NY Daily News; Victorino: CBSsports.com; Lieberthal: http://www.usat-rockymountain.org