Thursday, October 02, 2008

Controversy Re: Victorino's Grand Salami

This is EXACTLY (!) why we need instant replay in The MLB -- to authenticate history's most-precious home runs.

Y'see, only mere moments after the Fightin's' 5-2 win over the Brew Crew in Game 2, the kid who delivered the Hawaiian punch to the gut of Milwaukee when he cleared the flower bed with the first postseason, 4-run homer in the 126-year history of the Philadelphia Phillies, told interviewers that the meatball which C.C. Sabathia tossed plateward was "a slider ... up."

However, in one of the initial AP stories which found its way into cyberspace, it was reported that our beloved Flyin' Hawaiian hit "a hanging cutter."

Until America gets its story straight, we may never <<"wait!" does it matter?>> for all we'll ever know, it was a palmball with no "late action."

The bottom line is: It felt like justice. Shane took a mighty cut and we all shouted, "ShamWow!"

Most important, though, is that it made Americans feel good about America again.

That is, until a few minutes later when those V.P.-wannabees, Biden and Palin, engaged in that national debate which had us returning to our usual state of soaking the ol' stars n' stripes in kerosene before pulling that book of matches from our pocket.

It makes ya laugh -- 'cuz Americans who don't really follow The MLB might've been settling into their La-Z-Boys at home, gettin' ready to watch the VP Debate and, when John Q. Public saw Victorino's homer on a quickie highlight clip, he probably remarked to Mrs. Public, "That little Puerto Rican kid got all of that slider up, didn't he?"

Said Mrs. Public to Mr. Public: "He's not Puerto Rican ... and it was a hanging cutter, dear."

Enn-nee-way, for those of us who fashion the Victorino hairstyle in our everyday life, we got all goose-bumpy when Shane's first greeting when he reached the dugout came from Jayson Werth standing near the railing -- and Werth offered a quick, one-handed, two-swirl rub to the stubble-haired slugger.

That was two seconds before Victorino descended into the dugout to a hero's welcome before he climbed back out, popped his head out and acknowledged the Citizens Bank Park crowd (92 percent of whom love to cheer -- or boo -- the Phils ... and only 24 percent who actually have a money market account at a Citizens Bank branch).

On the other hand, some of us Phillie Diehards were still sooooo drunk with euphoria that we contemplated using Joe Biden's massive-and-overly-botoxed forehead as scratch paper for making notes as to which was a bigger moment in Brick Myers' survival -- the 9-pitch standoff vs. Sabathia when Brick was wearin' a battin' helmet and holdin' a bat or the comebacker which Corey Hart hit to Brick which the pitcher turned into a 1-2-3 DP which really saved the Fightin's from a big frickin' mess (started by Brick, of course).

Brick giveth ... and he taketh away ... (lousy piece of pitching by 311-lb. Carsten Charles, though -- that's a .061 hitter, bub -- and an equally lousy piece of hitting by Hart, swinging at the first pitch after J.J. Hardy had just coaxed a bases-loaded walk ... still can't believe that America voted Hart onto the All-Star team in that LastSpotIsUpForGrabs ballot ... then again, a pile of crap named "Fook-ooo-doh-meee" was voted in as a starter ... that blood is on YOUR hands Phillie ballot-box stuffers ... ).

Hey, what if we used Biden's forehead as an easel for a picket-fence tally (y'know, four vertical lines w/ a diagonal line through those lines) to gauge America's opinion as to who had a bigger dip in his front lip tonight: Sabathia -- or Werth as he was hittin' those two doubles off of Sabs?

When Sabs is pitching for Detroit (or St. Louis, possibly Houston) next summer, it probably won't matter any more.

What matters is the opinions of those people who claim that The Cit's gigantic, lighted Liberty Bell (which was happily doin' its postgame thing in neon splendor after this historic win) is actually a little smaller than Biden's botoxed-forehead (no, seriously ... the only thing more-offensive to Americans these days is probably the color of Costas' hair).

Notwithstanding Biden's massive-and-unnaturally-smooth forehead, a lot of Americans probably never work up to the fact that, going into tonight, the Phils had an all-time record of 0-8 in playoff Game 2's (that's not counting the 2-3 record all-time in World Series Game 2's).

A lot of Americans never had to sit through the Game 2's of '76, '77, '78, '80, '81, '83, '93 and '07 ... Game 2's which featured heartbreak and anguish, ranging from the '76 NLCS wherein Dick Allen's error allowed the tying and go-ahead runs to score during the 4-run Reds rally sparked by those three Hall of Famers (Rose, Morgan, Perez -- who kinda sucked when they played for the '83 N.L. champion Phils) to the giveaway in Game 2 in the '80 NLCS whereby the Phils stranded too many runners (4 runs on 14 hits? ... and why did Lee Elia hold Bake McBride at third in the bottom of the 9th on Lonnie Smith's single ... sure, Terry Puhl's got a decent arm, but, c'mon ... ) ... and, ohmigod, Crime Dog's homer into the top deck in RF vs. Tommy Greene in '93 ...

And, let's not get started re: those Dodjerk pitchers who shoved it up the Phillies asses (Sutton, John, Fatnando) in the Game 2's of '77, '78, '83 ...

Then, tonight when the Phillies were creating total aggravation by wasting Victorino's double in the 1st ... wasting Werth's double and SB in the 3rd ... and loadin' the bases w/ 2 outs in the 4th (thanks to a cool double-steal by Rollins and Victorino) and leavin' 'em loaded again in the 5th and, hang on, don't forget the two which were stranded in the 6th ... akkkk! ... ).

In years past, those opportunities to go up 7-1 or 9-1 would've come back to haunt the Fightin's.

This year's different, "apparently" ... and, when we combine this FIGHTIN' PHILLIE magic with what the Dodjerks did to the Flubs in Wrigley for the second night in a row (nice work, S.I. Cover Jinx ... "It's Gonna Happen FOR SOME OTHER TEAM") and now, barring a double-barreled miracle from the N.L. Central, it's a shoo-in for another chapter in the Phillie-Dodjerks playoff anthology -- the first time for us to revisit this epic confrontation since Sarge n' Sixto launched those homers in Game 4 in '83 to clinch a berth in the World Series.

It's difficult to understand why a main-squeeze like Liza couldn't grasp the magnitude of those pennant-clinching homers by Sarge n' Sixto since they occurred on the one week anniversary of our brand new love -- but, then again, it's smarter to dismiss that shortcoming and spend more time wondering why a fiancee like Cheryl found it necessary to jinx the final eight years that the Phils wore the maroon pinstripes w/ the maroon piping down the sleeves and down the sides until the Phils ditched the maroon and Cheryl got dumped in '92, oh well.

Totally makes ya happy as heck that the girlfriend of '93 who understood the glory of the '93 craziness became Mrs. Ground-Rule Triple and, thus, negated all of the previous boyfriend-girlfriend hate crimes of Philly-L.A. and HEY, BRICK MYERS SEZ, WHAT ABOUT ME?

Admittedly, the guy showed some real cajones tonight following that HUGE break in the first inning when Corey Hart and his sunglasses at night showed no plate discipline.

A 1-2-3 DP had to give Myers a boost of confidence (especially since Brick didn't do something insane, such as air mail his throw to the backstop after fielding the comebacker).

Fact: No one's ready to rank Myers ahead of Shane Rawley in Phillies pitching lore (yet), but now is maybe the time to say that, "yes" ... Victorino just moved ahead of the aformentioned Shane Rawley (as well as Shane Turner -- .171 in 35 ABs for the '88 Phils) as our all-time favorite Phillie Named Shane.

It's up to America, though, to reconcile whether Victorino's homer tonight is the biggest n' baddest of all the homers hit by one of Philadelphia's Great Number 8's ... that's to say, bigger than the opposite-field, 3-run HR hit by #8 Dick Sisler on the final day of the 1950 season vs. the Brooklyn Dodgers which clinched the pennant for the Whiz Kids ... or bigger than that 3-run bash hit by #8 Jimmy Eisenreich off of Dave Stewart in Game 2 of the '93 World Series ... or bigger than the game-tying, solo shot which #8 Joe Morgan hit in the 6th inning off Scott McGregor in Baltimore in the '83 Series ... or bigger than the .412 which #8 Bob Boone hit in the '80 World Series while striking out zero times (America sez: "Hey, Boonie didn't hit a homer ..." -- SO WHAT! He batted .412 and didn't strike out -- and when the frick is The MLB gonna enshrine him in Cooperstown?").

Sure ... everybody's upset that Juan Samuel couldn't make our Great 8 list ... after all, the current Orioles third-base coach was goddamn electrifying when he'd go from batter's box to third base 20 years ago.

Well, if it's any consolation, "yes" ... J.C. Romero is our all-time fave #16 Phillie pitcher -- and it's not just because he made Prince Fielder's bat explode (it's also 'cuz we can't think of another pitcher who ever wore that number for the Phils ... in fact, all our brain can come up with for #16 is Tony Longmire ... which is bizarre how stiffs such as Longmire and Shane Turner can sneak their names into a Phillies playoff recap ...).

Because the Phillies spent five of the first six innings wasting opportunities (save for that 5-spot in the 2nd), it was a little annoying that Fielder came to the plate in the top of the 8th representing the tying run.

Enter Romero ... and he buzzsawed the bejabbers outta the Prince's Sam Bat, causing the bat-barrel to skip n' tumble n' roll thru the infield while, at the same time, the batted ball scooted n' crawled n' tip-toed toward Utley, who charged in and glove-flipped to Howard w/o the danger of the transfer.

Prince's bat: Barely reached the outfield grass.
Prince's dribbler: Barely reached the infield dirt.

It's the sorta thing that we might've expected from former lefty-hittin' Brewer first-sackers, such as Billy Jo Robidoux or maybe Franklin Stubbs when he was wearin' #0 for The Crew.

Well, now all the Phillies need to do is take care of bidniss at Miller Park, which seems like a better prospect than last year when, instead of leading 2-games-to-none, they were down oh-two headin' to Coors Field.

Despite the Miller/Coors beer connection (some of us STILL drink only Olympia or Tuborg Gold), the Phils will need to combat the effects of the first playoff game in Milwaukee since the days when Fond du Lac-bred, Oshkosh-educated Jimmy Gantner (middle name: "Elmer") wore the cap with the fun logo ("lookitthat! it's an "m" and a "b" shaped to look like a mitt holding a ball, no way!").

Y'know ... those were three fun World Series games in County Stadium in '82, alas ... nostalgia is the enemy.

The Phils cannot be deterred by Bernie Brewer and between-inning weiner races ...


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