PHILADELPHIA — There was no escape as Kevin Frandsen made his move.
Before John Mayberry Jr. had a chance to dart away, Frandsen charged, armed with a towel covered in Barbasol shaving cream, all over Mayberry's face in celebration of his walk-off, extra-inning grand slam earlier this month.
"I'm more the pie guy because I think there needs to be a little more enjoyment sometimes," Frandsen said. "It's not going to happen all the time. It's a walk-off home run. The guy deserves it."
On Saturday evening, Frandsen was the one who was deserving of the celebratory ritual.
Frandsen cracked a pinch-hit, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Phillies an 8-7 victory.
Then the question arose: Who would take Frandsen's place as the pie-in-the-face guy?
Freddy Galvis made sure Frandsen didn't miss out.
"I was just hoping for it," Frandsen said with a smile plastered on his face.
Frandsen is undoubtedly the most fun-spirited guy in the clubhouse. During the team's last homestand, Cliff Lee was taking longer than usual to address the media after his start. With reporters waiting in the middle of the clubhouse, Frandsen wiggled his way through the scrum and leaned against the center counter as that day's starting pitcher would.
Frandsen didn't start that day. In fact, he didn't even play, giving him no reason to be the focal point after the game. He was well aware of that. He was simply trying to keep things light as he pretended to be Lee, who won that night.
" [Having fun] is the exclamation point on everything," Frandsen said. "Yeah, we won the game, but we need to show everyone we're having a great time and we're ready."
That's the thing about Frandsen. He's always ready. It was the theme coming from his teammates, manager and coaches. He's ready if manager Charlie Manuel calls on his to play first base, second base third base, shortstop or right or left field, all spots he's played in the big leagues over the course of his career, or to pinch hit, something he's excelled at this year.
Frandsen ranks second in MLB in pinch-hit doubles (2), is tied for fifth in pinch-hit hits (6) and is tied for sixth in pinch-hit RBIs (5). He's batting .286 (6-for-21) as a pinch hitter this year. Oh, and his numbers aren't too shabby when he starts, either. He's hitting .286 (14-for-49) with three doubles, two home runs, five RBIs and four walks in his 16 starts, which have been at three positions so far this season.
"He can hit the ball all over the field. He's not just a pull hitter. He's dangerous," said Phillies catching coach Mick Billmeyer, who spends hours throwing batting practice. "He'll do anything to get on base and keep things going. He can fight off bad pitches and stay alive. He's pesky. He'll stay in there and battle you and find his way on."
Frandsen got that way by spending hours honing his craft. When he takes BP, he works on his situational hitting and bunting and driving the ball to the gaps. He does not swing for the fences no matter how tempting that is. He's also admitted to talking Laynce Nix's ear off about the art of pinch hitting.
"In all honesty, it's being comfortable with your teammates and being comfortable with the actual player that you are," Frandsen said. "It took a while for me to accept who I am as a player in knowing I'm not a power guy and accepting that I'll hit a lot of doubles or move guys over. Once you embrace who you are and become good at what you, then boom."
Being embraced for who he was took longer than he had hoped, and it's something he feels may have impeded his progress.
Drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 12th round in 2004, Frandsen, now 31, said he was never really able to be himself in that organization, a place he remained until 2010 when he was traded to Boston.
"I try to give off a positive vibe because that's who I am," he said. "It's part of the deal of wherever I am. Unfortunately when I was young and in San Francisco there were a lot of veterans, and I wasn't allowed to be that way. They wouldn't let me be myself. I would never blame them, but I also didn't stand up for myself and let myself be the true player I am. They never saw the real, true player out there because of that feeling."
Those days, though, are long gone. Frandsen is now the guy who's constantly walking up and down the dugout and saying something to a teammate or a coach. He's a self proclaimed rah-rah guy when he's on the bench and makes an effort to make sure no one takes themselves too seriously.