Marine lieutenant colonel offends gentle sensibilities of Phillies fans


Some members of the notoriously polite and refined Philadelphia Phillies fanbase are outraged — OUTRAGED! — that a Marine O-5 would dare joke about using a tank to stop pitching ace Roy Halladay. Saying something like this is terribly insensitive because, as we all know, tank attacks on major league pitchers are an epidemic that should never be joked about. The nerve of this guy!

Anyway, here’s how this mess got started: Lt. Col. Shane Tomko, the Marine in charge of Marine Week St. Louis, was a guest in the booth last night as the Phillies played the hometown Cardinals. While talking about the week’s festivities, he appeared to give a compliment to Halladay in the form of an awkward joke.

“I’ll tell you what, with that M1A1 Abrams we got across the street, if Halladay keeps on pitching well, we can fix that with one round pretty quickly,” Tomko said.

I know, I know. Somebody go get the smelling salts. So outrageous.

The announcer seemed caught off guard by the joke (granted, it was awkward and hardly laugh-out-loud funny), saying, “I’m sure you could. I don’t know if we should say that, but you just did.”

Tomko then said, “I can say whatever I want because I’m a war fighter, and this is the Cardinals Nation the last time I checked.”

That last comment caught the ire of the Crossing Broad blog, which has video of the incident. Most fans weighing in in the comments section have hammered Tomko.

A writer for also took exception to Tomko, calling the Marine a “TV tough guy” and saying “[Tomko] should keep that smack talk in the barracks. Or better yet, Colonel Tomko should dress down to his civilian duds, take a walk down to the Phillies clubhouse and say it to Doc’s face. Let’s get that awkward exchange on camera.”

Marine Corps Times writer Dan Lamothe has more about the incident at our Battle Rattle blog.


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  1. Shane is a friend of mine and he is the nicest, most caring, decent, honorable man with the biggest heart. I wish people would learn to get a sense of humor and stop taking everything so seriously. Life is too short to constantly nit pick every little thing apart. Just get over yourselves. Shane ROCKS and I stand behind him 100%.

  2. I am a fan of the Dave Glover show on 97.1 and Dave is a close personal friend of Col. Tomko.
    The uproar across the country over this is utterly ridiculous. Clearly the people writing about him have no sense of humor.
    The irony of all of this is Col. Tomko has fought and will continue to fight for the freedom to write such stupid crap about him.

  3. Great article, Phil! There is no other way to approach this nonsense, but with complete hilarity. An epidemic…perfect! No one seems to catch the fact that maybe this is a compliment! The only way to stop this amazing picher, is with a tank! I, personally, would take that as a compliment to his mastery of the craft. Anyway, sad day. Keep it up and thank you for everything, Rhino. Thanks for the article, Phil.

  4. I would love to see a national campaign in support of Col. Tomko. It was a simple joke and most people who read or hear about the story feel that way. It seems to be only the media themselves who are offended by Rhino’s statements. This man deserves some public support and a lot of it!

  5. Commander Boom on

    Wow…Bob Martin…you’re quite the tough guy. I’m here in St Louis and unfortunately this “incident” and another unfortunate liberty incident involving Marines vs thugs has put a damper on Marine Week or cast a greater pall on the city of St Louis. Grow up people. This game wasn’t even broadcast nationally so unless you were tuned into Fox Sports Midwest you only saw it on a web clip. Don’t you want your Marines to be a little rough around the edges? The PC-ification of even the military has made us weak. Nut up!

  6. Pingback: Media, He has a tank. Be careful what you write about him. | The Lost Years

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