Thursday, September 24, 2009

You'll Always Remember Your First Time, Part 10

They say you never forget your first time. And with October right around the corner, the vivid memories of my first time witnessing a professional Philadelphia franchise win a championship are ripe in my head. Even with football underway, I find myself wandering back to that glorious month of October. It's something I want to relive again and again. In fact, that's exactly what I'm going to do, republishing my feelings during the wild ride to becoming 2008 World Fucking Champions. View part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here, part 4 here, part 5 here, part 6 here, part 7 here, part 8 here and part 9 here.

Today is part 10, originally published Oct. 14, 2008:

Shane Victorino is My Hero and Matt Stairs is a GOD!!!

I'll admit it. I was pissed. Despondent. Ready to throw in the towel, curse my night away and get ready for Cole to take the hill tomorrow night in an even series.

I had lost my cool. Completely. I lambasted Charlie for pinch-hitting Pedro Feliz for Greg Dobbs in the 6th when everyone in the world knew Joe Torre would bring in a righty to face Pete Happy. I screamed at Jimmy for sucking at the plate and dropping an over-the-shoulder pop-up. I just destroyed Ryan Howard for simply continuing to be the worst defensive first baseman in the history of baseball. All hope was lost. The ship was sinking, and my sanity going down with it.

As Adam EatShit walked out of not only the room, but the house, I knew we had all finally reached our breaking point. This game was too much for any of us to handle. My roommates left the room, I went to the kitchen to make my lunch, keeping an eye on the TV as the Dodgers had the bases loaded and one out. Then something happened that saved the game. And no, it wasn't Shane. It wasn't Stairs. It was Chase.

The man, the former Dodgers fan, snared a liner off the ground, dove to second, and kept the score at 5-3 when it should have been much, much worse. Still, I was down. I thought the game was over. I shut off the TV, walked up to my third floor bedroom, settled into my bed and watched the end of the game in solitude. I should have known better.

Ryan Madson came in and did what he's done all postseason—dominate. He kept the Dodgers from pulling away, and the Phils still had a chance—albeit a slim one. The Dodgers bullpen had been nearly flawless against the Phils in the first three games. The outcome looked like a done deal.

But a Ryan Howard leadoff single off Kuo meant all it would take was one swing of the bat to tie it with Burrell at the dish. Pat has had some huge home runs, but when he flew out, things looked grim. Cory Wade got the Bat and his success in prior games suggested this one was over. Only Shane Victorino had other ideas. Specifically, he wanted revenge, and he got it the best way he possibly could have. Right as Shane took his spot in the batter's box, Adam EatShit walked into my room. On the first pitch, Shane waited on a curveball and sent it looping just over the rightfield wall.

I turned to Adam and said, "Did that really just happen?" It did. I couldn't believe my eyes. But my eyes did not lie. The playoff MVP, Shane Victorino, brought the Phillies back from the dead. The game was tied, and the Phils were still up.

Pete Happy followed with a line out, and I was prepping myself to deal with an extra-inning game where the Phils had very little left on the bench. Well, Curbball Ruiz got a two-out single, which seemed harmless enough. Then Matt Stairs walked to the plate. I turned to Adam and told him this was interesting matchup, power on power, Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton in the game. If Broxton grooves one, Stairs could hit it out.

Then Stairs worked a 3-1 count, being the professional hitter he is, and sat on his pitch. I said, "If he comes middle in, Stairs is going to take a big hack." Sure enough, Broxton tried to fire a 96 mph heater past Stairs on the inside of the plate. Stairs locked and loaded, took a mighty cut and hit the hardest ball I have ever seen hit, deep into rightfield, giving the Phils a 7-5 lead.

As soon as he swung the bat, Adam and I jumped up, and I started to literally scream like a little girl. I was stunned. Matt Stairs, welcome to Philadelphia immortality. A nice job by J.C. Romero in the 8th, followed by a 4-out save by Lidge, and suddenly the Phillies are one win away from the World Series. Thanks to Chase, Shane and Stairs.

Chase Utley, you are the man. Shane Victorino, you are my hero. And Matt Stairs, you are a god. I can't wait to see what T.J. Simers has to say about this.


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