Tonight's Sunday Nighter on The Disneyland Sports Station sure seemed to be headed for a frustrating finish for Phillie Phan - - that is, until Big Fly Ry launched that higher-than-a-skyscraper blast just beyond the pretty flower bed atop the LCF wall.
The Philly 6'er definitely needed that one because, during that recent road trip against the Cubs n' Brew Crew, he was overmatched.
In the 4-game set at Wrigley, Howard went 3 for 18 with 11 strikeouts. At Miller Park, he was 2 for 11 with 5 punchouts.
Since the Cubs or the Brewers figure to be the Phillies' opponent for that one-game playoff to determine who faces the D-Backs in the NLDS, these are important measuring devices.
Orrrrrr ... we could simply leave it to Joe Morgan to educate America as to how baseball functions.
He made Phillie Phan chuckle in the first inning tonight when he observed that Mark Teixeira was playing behind the runner at first base (Pat Burrell) with Howard batting.
"That surprises me because Burrell runs well."
Since most of America tunes out Little Joe, that remark fell on deaf ears - - but, alas, some of us Phillie Phans are STILL keepin' close tabs on the Ol' WheelBurrell's basepath exploits.
What Little Joe didn't comprehend - - due to the fact that it wasn't on a stat sheet in front of him and it wasn't whispered into his earpiece - - is that Burrell began the night with a 410-game streak of ZERO stolen-base attempts.
Joe didn't know that for the past three seasons, the people with as many steal attempts as Burrell are janitors, paraplegics, paralegals, deceased Korean War heroes, orphans in Lithuania ... hence, Joe might've forgotten that, when Burrell's on second base, it takes two triples and a ground-rule double to get Pat home.
It's a fun little game that's known around some parts as "Putting The PAT in 'BasePATh'."
PRESTO! Burrell was on second base with two outs in the first when Jayson Werth smacked that solid baseknock to RF.
True ... Werth hit it sharply - - which meant that Burrell was toast at the plate when he tried to score ahead of Francoeur's rocket throw.
Here's the deal, though: There were two outs ... it was a 3-2 pitch ... so, why wasn't Burrell approx. 20 feet from third base with a full head of steam when Werth made contact?
Answer: 'Cuz MLBasebore ain't about running the bases. It's about Home Run Derby (and little else).
Sure ... Burrell's been on fire since July 1 (batting exactly .400 entering tonight) - - but that doesn't mean that Phillie Phan is going to forgive him for hitting .157 in May and June.
And, some of us aren't going to overlook the fact that, paycheck-wise, the Ol' Wheelbarrow is supposed to set a good example by performing 14 times better that The Philly 6'er (based on $13 mil vs. $900 K).
Some sanity was restored when Jimmy Rollins cranked that ball to the RCF gap and breezed for a triple (later scoring on a sac fly when Francouer's throw to the plate sailed just a weeee bit and hit the railing of the Braves dugout).
Disney Baseball did note that J-Rol could become the first player since Mays to go 20-20-20-20 (doubles, triples, homers, stolen bases) - - and wouldn't that be a nice feather in his cap? (that is ... if ballplayers still wear feathers in their caps)
OKAY ... Jimmy is just a tad more exciting and complete than Juan Samuel, circa '84 thru '87.
But, that's "a tad."
As in "negligibly" better ... not as in "appreciably" better.
The Fightin's, though, better not louse things us and go flat on this road trip to D.C. and the Steel City. Those are two pitching staffs which are lookin' to get roughed up ...