You can’t miss Vance Worley when he is on the mound. The big, quirky member of the vaunted Phillies rotation sports those red goggles and, of course, there is the Mohawk. You can’t miss Worley on the diamond. You would think that it wouldn’t be so easy to identify Worley off the field. But that’s not so. Worley is a magnet for fans. They can’t get enough of him.
“It’s crazy,” Worley said. “I try to stay out of the public eye but I can’t.”
That’s the way it is even though Worley often wears wrap-around shades, a hoodie and a ballcap.
“But they still recognize me, even though they can’t see my eyes. It’s like, ‘Hey, there’s the half-Asian guy with the Mohawk. I’ll hear, ‘Hey Vance,’ at the mall. Then I start walking faster.”
Worley isn’t the second coming of Mike Schmidt, who back in the day would rather give out his social security number than sign for a kid. (When I was 10, I popped my pen and paper through the fence and the future Hall of Famer said, ‘I can’t.’ I remember thinking, ‘No, it’s that you won’t.’)
However, ‘Vanimal’ is very accommodating. During spring training, I watched him sign for fans daily walking from the Phillies’ clubhouse to the dugout. He even signed for fans while walking to his car after practice and games.
Worley could have avoided that by parking in the front of the complex, along with the other big guns. But Worley opted to take his car in the back, along with the minor leaguers.
“I asked him why he does that,” a Bright House security guard said. “He said that he doesn’t belong up there. I said, ‘You do, you’re in the rotation.”
Worley just craves his space. That’s not unreasonable. That’s why he’s a little ticked off that some fan leaked where the sides of his head is shaved.
“Man, I can’t believe somebody blew up my spot by tweeting where it is,” Worley said. “Just saw Vanimal getting his hair cut at this place, the guy tweeted. C’mon, give me a break. I need a place where I can go and just relax. I love being around the fans. I love to sign, but if I’m at the mall or something, well, I think all of us need a break.”