For any/all Phillie Phans who were puzzled as to what was missing in their lives, the answer came tonight.
A diet which includes more bran.
And a lineup which includes more Branyan.
With another wild-card berth looming ever so tantalizingly just out of reach, the recent acquisition of Russell Branyan -- a guy who strikes out while brushing his teeth in the morning and then gets rung up at least once more on his way to the ballpark that day -- paid immediate dividends.
Sure ... a lot of us thought, "What's Russell F-ing Branyan gonna F-ing do except F-ing strike out every other F-ing AB?" (depending on one's F-bomb usage).
Then again, when the guy with the middle name "Oles" isn't taking a mighty hack at a pitch which bounces twice before reaching home plate, he has the capability to do what he did tonight -- jumping on a belt-high, 83 MPH fastball and frickin' jacking it halfway to the Lincoln Memorial. That melodramatic bat-drop after his follow-through, well ... that was a BRANtastic personal touch.
That was vintage "Branny."
Still, most of Phillie America probably won't be satisfied until it sees the vintage "Bran Slam."
What a weird one to watch while finishing up some paperwork at the office.
The Nats broke the scoreless deadlock with those 2 runs in the bottom of the 7th -- and with the way that Ayala had looked in the top of the 7th when he fanned Burrell, Howard and Rowand, well ... it sure as heck looked as though the team's record was going to dip to 1-30 in games in which they score 3 runs or fewer.
Leave it to the BranMan to decide matters.
As Metallica told us, "Enter night / Exit light ..." et cetera, et cetera ... "We're off to never-never land ..."
Nats mgr. Manny Acta made the mistake that 93.57 percent of managers do nowadays -- ("My reliever looked brilliant against the heart of the order ... let's put in somebody new.") -- he gave the Fightin's a chance to fight back.
"By the book" can get a guy killed.
STILL ... the recent acquisition of Russell Branyan -- the MLB's all-time striking-outtest striker-outter -- makes Phillie Phan rewind it 11 years when we all wondered, "What the frick?" when -- in separate deals -- Mike Benjamin and J.R. Phillips were brought to Philly. It always makes ya wonder what goes through the minds of front-office people and player-personnel lunkheads when somebody speaks up and says, "This .225 hitter might be just what we need to win the pennant!"
It makes ya wonder about about the food chain, which goes something like: Child molestors, MLB front-office staff, serial rapists, et cetera ...
Sure, Russell Oles Branyan is a stop-gap measure (sayeth the front office: "an insurance policy" with Victorino and Bourn on the DL), but, is it really? Does his HR tonight make up for the 10 strikeouts in his next 11 ABs? What about your Aunt Freda -- or that guy workin' the graveyard shift at the Citgo Xtramart? Couldn't they do that?
Tonight was BRAN-tastic ... until Russell's next AB ... when he's showin' un-bran-lievably bad discipline and plate coverage ...