I have but one thing to say: That’s why we call him Shane Victorino!
Did you see that?! His grand slam was sweet!
So maybe it wasn't as immortal as the one he slammed when we crushed C.C. (wait, he prefers "CC'; I'm rolling my eyes here) Sabathia in the Playoffs, but it hit the spot, no doubt.
Right before that, I was about to fall asleep. Since almost nothing else happened for eight innings, the commentators busied themselves spouting records and lists and promoting Charlie Manuel’s new show. Then everything changed.
Victorino came to the plate, and the pundits started discussing who would pitch to him: Lindstrom, the Marlin’s freshly groomed pony, or Pinto, the man who could scare a batter to death with his face.
The intrigue grew as we waited to see if Shane would bat left- or right-handed. Switch hitting is such a turn on.
But when he stepped into the ball on the first offering, I got the sinking feeling that Charlie had given him the signal to get hit by a pitch.
No! There’s nothing honorable in that! He’s not Charlie Buttermaker!
My heart stopped, thinking my Shane, my fantastic Hawaiian hustle machine, was about to wimp out and end his 0-for-4 game by taking a pitch to the body (albeit a fine one).
"Say it ain’t so!" I implored.
But wait! That was just a diversionary tactic, as was the whole game! It was like a suspense novel that took eight grueling innings to build. Every now and then, the Phils like to do stuff like this (see the whole '08 season).
There were other things that contributed to the fiinale that "brought the house down" last night.
First, the Phils sent struggling Brett Myers to the mound to make us fans sweat 44 pitches in the first inning. This served only to help the Marlins' Dan Uggla break his 21 hitless at-bat drought with something as unbelievable as a three-run homer.
On the other side, the Fighting Fish brought on a pitcher with a 97 MPH fast ball and a slider that could pick off my Dreamsicle like a seagull at the beach. But wait...
Philadelphia had something (or a few somethings) to counter that. They cast Raul Ibanez as the "Zen God of Consistency" and Matt Stairmaster as "The Pinch-Hitting Guru." Then Myers hit another closed-eye single, and the Phils flashed their first-in-the-MLB-in-fielding-percentage defense.
Next, they threw in "Little Lou Who" Marson, who, after almost cowering in his first at-bat, cracked a late-game single, and Chase Utley belted a verse of "Anything you can do, I can do better" with a one-run dinger. It was as though he and Shane were playing a game of home-run horse. But it gets even better...
Lindstrom just imploded. I thought seven runs and three walks in two-thirds innings was something that only happened to Phils pitchers. Whew!
Glad that notion was shattered.
And last but not least, just to add to the fantastical, the Phillies had 29,132 people in attendance. Yes, that number happened to include 1,540 dogs (yes, actual canine dogs) and one cat (what was he thinking?).
And there you have it. If that doesn’t have the makings of a 7-3, last-inning, Oscar-worthy victory, I don’t know what does. This wasn't just baseball, it was the work of a professional scriptwriter.
With suspense like this, who cares that Charlie Manuel was born in a car?
Not me. I can’t wait for the sequel.
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