Joe Blanton is both (a) a pretty good, probably underrated, major-league pitcher (averaging 2.9 WAR per season over his six-year career) and (b) not as talented as his Phillie rotation mates. It’s the latter of these points that makes for the slightly awkward SI cover pictured here.
Perhaps it’s my imagination, but there appears to be a second distinction between Blanton and his teammates — namely, the ability (or lack thereof) to express a cohesive message visually.
Using the part of the human brain designed to read facial expressions, one gets a pretty clear sense of what four of the pictured pitchers is trying to say here, as follows:
Roy Halladay: [In a German accent, if possible] Weakness repulses me.
Cliff Lee: I’m staring into the sunshine of my talent.
Roy Oswalt: Were circumstance to dictate that I hunt for my own food, this wouldn’t be any sort of a problem.
Cole Hamels: Not until you’ve holstered your gun, sir.
Joe Blanton, though? It’s not clear. If one sees his expression, it’s only through a glass, darkly. What, Joe, is going on in those eyes of yours? What language is it that your goatee speaks?
Carson Cistulli has published a book of aphorisms called Spirited Ejaculations of a New Enthusiast.