The Stylings of Sir Charles
But he's one of the funnier athletes that I've had the pleasure of meeting in person and he's honest, too. That's a heck of a combo.
Although he has chatted with Charlie Manuel on the phone prior to Sunday - Barkley lives in Philly during the summer and calls himself a Phillies fan - he had the opportunity for the first time to meet the Phils manager before Sunday's game.
"I'm a big fan of his. I told him he became my hero when he was going to kick (Howard) Eskin's (butt)," Barkley said. "I said trust me, that's something I wanted to do many times. But it was really cool to meet him. We've talked on the phone three or four times. But it was really cool. Like I said, once he told me he was going to kick Eskin's (butt), we were good."
I asked Barkley why he would choose to spend the summer in stinkin' hot Philly.
"This is what it's like in Arizona every day. This is a cold front in Arizona," he replied. "And the Diamondbacks stink, too."
He also decided against taking batting practice with the Phillies, perhaps not wanting to mess up his perfect golf swing.
"I think that would be better left undone," Barkley said of BP.
You can read more about Barkley in the Daily Times on Monday. (And, of course, at delcotimes.com)
Barkley was at the ballpark because the game was telecast on TBS and the folks at that network aren't dumb: why not ask Barkley to hone his baseball broadcasting skills.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to listen it. (We have the local feed - with no sound - in the press box).
But several of my followers/friends on Twitter shared some Barkley gems. And my fellow Northwestern pal Mabel, a Phillies fan, kindly trascribed much of Barkley's on-air wit.
Barkley: "What does it mean when a pitchers pitching out of the stretch..."
David Wells: "There's a guy on base.
Barkley: "That doesnt help me though."
Wells: "You'd know that if you played baseball as a kid.
Barkley: "I was too good at sports to play baseball... I dont know why you tell people that im fatter than you, that annoys me."
Philly fans? Barkley: "Best fans in the world when teams are perfect. When things are not perfect, this is one of the toughest places to play. Eagles have a monopoly, Phillies probably second."
Barkley: "Baseball's a very difficult sport... though if you [David Wells] succeeded I guess anybody could.'
Wells: you've seen the mirror? There's three of you."
Barkley: "There's only five real jobs: teacher, fireman, policeman, doctor, people in the armed forces... everyone else should just shut up and enjoy life."
on Lebron James: "He handled it very poorly... that decision thing was just ridiculous... should have infomred the Cavaliers in advance. I don't leave my family and my city. There woulda been somethign honorable about staying in Cleveland to win... if he could awon a championship in Cleveland it woulda been more signifcant than winning two in Miami."
"Cleveland gets a bad rap, I think it's a good city...if Lebron had gone to the mayor to rebuild Cleveland they would have given him the world. Miami dont need any help."
Rockies infielder Clint Barmes, who once got hurt carrying deer meat up a flight of stairs, becomes a topic of conversation:
Barkley: "That brings up another queestion i wanna ask you. Everytime two baseball players run into each other in the outfield, one of the falls down like he's shot. Is it because they're soft? I wonder sometimes about their physical toughness."
Wells: "Thank you."
What makes you tick?
Barkley: "I've had a great life.... [NBA career] go on tv and steal money... this is just sports, it has not real effect on the real world. I can't believe they pay us to talk about sports."
on Jayson Werth: "This guy's a stud... it's stupid thing is when jocks say I dont read the newspaper I dont watch the television... that's the biggest lie ever been told... even if you don't do it, your family's calling you telling you."
After Ryan Howard nearly catches on a foul ball with a diving effort: "I would have had that... are you saying Howard's more agile than I was? You need to come to my house and watch some game tapes. clearly you didnt have cable back in the day."