To everyone who resisted the desire to hit the clicker late in the impending shutout in the Friday night game with the Marlins – I commend you. And I have but one thing to say: that’s why we call him Shane Victorino!!! Did you see that?!?! His grand slam was sweet; maybe not as immortal as the one he slammed when we crushed C.C. (wait he prefers ‘CC’ – roll 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 when Shane Victorino came to the plate. They 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? Then the intrigue grew when we waited to see if Mr. Victorino would bat left or right-handed. (Switch hitting is such a turn on.) But when he stepped into the ball on the first pitch, I got the sinking feeling before he left the dugout he asked Charlie what the signal was 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 hitless game slump by taking a pitch to the body (albeit a fine one). “Say it ain’t so!”
But wait! That was just a diversionary tactic - as was the whole game! It was just a suspense novel that took eight grueling innings to build. Every now and then the Phils like to do that - like with the whole 2008 season! So let me tell you what else contributed to last night’s ‘bring the house down’ finale, only because it’s so amazing.
First, let’s send struggling Brett Meyers to the mound to make us sweat forty-four pitches in the first inning simply to help Uggla break his twenty-one hitless at-bat drought with something as unbelievable as a three-run homer. Then bring on a Marlin’s pitcher with a ninety-seven mile an hour fast ball and a slider that could pick off my Dreamsicle like a seagull at the beach. But wait. Let’s counter that. Let’s cast Raul Ibanez as the ‘Zen God of Consistency’ along with Matt Stairmaster ‘the pinch-hitting guru’, let Meyers hit another closed-eye single, show-off our ‘first in the MLB in fielding percentage’ defense, throw in little ‘Lou Who’ Marson who, after almost cowering at his first at bat, cracks a late game single, and add Chase Utley hitting an “anything you can do, I can do better,” one-run dinger like he and Shane were playing a game of home run horse. But it gets even better… let’s have Lindstrom implode. I thought seven runs and three walks in 2/3rds innings was something that only happened to Phils pitchers. Whew! Glad that notion was shattered. Then, last but not least, just to add to the fantastical, let’s invite 29,132 people to attend which includes their 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 makin’s of a 7-3 last inning Oscar worthy victory, I don’t know what does. But it was more than baseball – it was the work of a CSI script-writer. With suspense like this, who cares why Charlie Manuel was born in a car?
Not me. I can’t wait for the sequel.