Joe Blanton Throws "5 Aces" Nickname Out There As an Idea

Philadelphia Phillies fifth starter Joe Blanton has been repeatedly dropping hints to his fellow starting pitchers and the team's marketing department in recent days that the rotation be dubbed "5 Aces."

"Whaddaya say, fellas," Blanton said at Cliff Lee's signing, which he was not invited to. "5 Aces? It has a nice ring to it, don't you think? Four Aces is nice, sure. But 5 Aces is even better. It's one whole additional ace."

Blanton is slated for the back-end of the Philadelphia rotation that now includes Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels and Lee. All would be No. 1 or No. 2 starters on most every other team in baseball. Blanton went 9-6 last year with a 4.82 ERA.

"I won 16 games with the A's in 2006, you know," Blanton wrote in an e-mail to the Phillies marketing and promotions director last night. "That's more than Cole Hamels ever won. Really! Check his stats!"

Blanton then suggested that if the team is set on the "Four Aces" nickname, then maybe they should consider bumping Hamels out of group for him. Blanton did not get a reply to his e-mail.

The portly righty has taken it upon himself to print up "5 Aces" t-shirts which he is handing out around the city.

"Some fat guy gave me a free t-shirt," said one Phillies fan in Center City. "It has Halladay, Oswalt, Lee and Hamels on it. And then someone else I don't really recognize. Maybe it's Greg Luzinski? But I don't know why he would be on there. Either way, I'll take a free t-shirt. Even a dumb one."

Halladay, Oswalt, Lee and Hamels have so far ignored Blanton's ideas, as they are meeting to figure out a secret handshake.