October 03, 2008
The Philadelphia Phillies are going to the World Series.
Oh, there's still the small matter of winning one game in Milwaukee and then four in the NLCS — most likely against the Dodgers, the only team that can challenge The Fightins' for a higher inner core temperature.
But you can't convince me at this moment that they won't be representing the Senior Circuit when the Fall Classic rolls around. Not after watching Shane Victorino hit that grand slam off the previously unhittable CC Sabathia in Thursday's Game 2 victory. Not after watching Brett Myers draw a nine-pitch walk off Sabathia to help load the bases for the Flyin' Hawaiian in the first place.
The path to the World Series is made up of seven victories, but you don't advance from step-to-step without creating a few memorable moments, the kind that immediately enters a fanbase's institutional memory for the long haul, the kind that lets everyone know that this is really happening, the kind where everything seems real and finally here.
With Myers' walk and Victorino's two-out blast, the Phillies got just that. In a time when they needed to get to the Brewers' ace, the pitcher who spent time with a minor-league team named the IronPigs this season put together an epic at-bat for a free pass. Then the team's official scrapper, the official heartbeat of a team with plenty of MVPs and natural-born talents, the guy who wears the Marvin Martian helmet, poked a ball over the left field wall.
Later Victorino would write on his blog that the homer was even bigger than the one he hit on Hawaiian Day and that his immediate thought was, "Did that really just happen?" You can't write scripts like this, which is why we're all still paying attention in October.
Oh, maybe the Phillies won't be as good in the NLCS. Maybe the Dodgers will use their two signature moments — James Loney's Game 1 grand slam and an opportunistic second-inning in Game 2 — as fuel to power their own dream trip.
But sometimes a team just gives you a gut feeling of where they're headed.
On Thursday night, the Phillies did just that to me.