True to superhero tradition, Thor swooped in just in the nick of the time.
That would be Noah Syndergaard, the former Los Angeles Angels pitcher acquired by the Phillies just hours before the Tuesday night MLB trade deadline.
One of two pitchers the Phils added this week, Syndergaard had been best known for a promising but injury-disrupted 6-year stint with the New York Mets. If you don’t know him yet, you will — he’s already working hard to ingratiate himself with his new hometown.
Born and raised in Mansfield, Texas, outside of Dallas, Syndergaard is 29 years old. The right-hander didn’t show his baseball prowess until his senior year in high school, so he skipped college and went right into the major leagues, signing with the Blue Jays in 2010. His career took off from there.
Just hours into his tenure as a Phillie, Syndergaard had already given fans plenty of reason for a warm welcome during his red-stripe debut tonight at Citizens Bank Park.
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If you’re only generally aware of the Phillies’s immediate priorities — reach the postseason for the first time in a decade! — and not one of the MLB’s stat masters, here’s a brief introduction to the Texan who sometimes goes by a Norse moniker.
He’s already familiar with city staples
As a divisional rival with the Mets, Syndergaard never brewed especially bad blood with Phillies fans, though the Phanatic may have a grudge to get over. As a tweet from the pitcher reminds us of, he once took off with the mascot’s ATV once, in 2017.
Odds are the two will make amends when Syndergaard starts against the Washington Nationals tonight, though with the Phillies mascot, known for being a persistent pest, you never know for sure.
Rob McElhenney of “Always Sunny,” for his part, sent Syndergaard a hearty welcome to Philly, referencing a love letter originally addressed to Chase Utley.
He’s all about ‘getting his zen on,’ but still intense on the mound
Taking oneself too seriously is an easy way to lose favor with sports fans. If you’re looking for someone that plays their part on the field and is playful off it, Syndergaard’s your guy.
The nickname “Thor” comes from his long, flowing, blond locks, but more specifically a Halloween tweet from 2013, which shows him squatting while dressed as the Marvel hero.
Like the Eagles’s Gardner Minshew, Syndergaard is an earnest-yet-chill athlete with a knack for having fun, but dead serious when he’s on the job. Both gentlemen have apparently been bookworms of late, and last year Syndergaard told GQ he cobbled together a “pretty relaxed book club,” an idea he says he had when he was “getting his zen on” at the beach.
You can sign up by texting the number in his Twitter bio, and as far as I can tell, Syndergaard himself is now a contact on my phone. After the initial text, you’re prompted to “add yourself” to his phone through the SMS software platform Community.
In the same interview, he went on to talk about 5G skepticism, eating like a hunter-gatherer, his early-morning earthing routine — which prioritizes barefoot connection with nature — and his habit of starting the day with a cold plunge.
Himbo tendencies aside, Syndergaard’s as plugged in as they come when it’s gametime, a player who aims to intimidate. Thor also believes baseball could stand to get a little more intense, in a fraternal sort of way. He put it plainly with GQ: “I think there should be some more shit-talking.” A sentiment Philadelphia can agree with.
Enjoy it while it lasts
Syndergaard’s bound to be a crucial part of the Phillies pitching rotation, which is still trying to find its way without mainstay Zach Elfin, but he may not be for long.
Initial reporting indicates that the Texan may be a short-term pickup, and on his way out of Philly once the season closes.
Many Phillies fans are certainly enthused, though, as the team is still in the hunt for a playoff spot after shoring up their beleaguered rotation. For as long as Thor is a Phillie, or at least as long as he’s putting in a decent shift for the team, odds are he’ll be a fan favorite in South Philadelphia.