Adding his name to the growing list of former Philly athletes (and coaches…) who have gone on to have rapid, wild and career-defining success somewhere other than here, Shane Victorino hit a grand slam to send the Boston Red Sox to the World Series… and to punch you squarely, and firmly, in the dick:
I fell asleep and woke up at about 2 a.m. to find out what happened. I turned to Ms. CB (Victorino used to be her favorite player) and told her the news. Her response: “Ew. That’s annoying.”
That just about sums it up.
But in case you feel the need to inflict more pain upon yourself, here’s Tim Britton of the Providence Journal to remind you just how important Victorino has been to the Red Sox’s’s’s’s cause this year:
When Cherington signed Victorino, the guffaws could be heard throughout the league. Sure, Victorino had been a productive complementary player in Philadelphia, but those days were behind him. In 2012, he played like a platoon outfielder — someone who should only see action against left-handed pitching.
“Players’ careers go through ups and downs and there’s a range of possibilities,” Cherington said. “It made sense to us, and once it made sense to us, we pursued it aggressively and did what we had to do to sign him. He’s a very tough player, does a lot of different things well. He’s one of those guys that does a lot of different things well, maybe not one thing well, so maybe he doesn’t get the credit that other guys do.”
What Cherington saw in Victorino has been validated, and then some. Victorino has arguably been Boston’s most valuable player throughout the season. Playing through a litany of injuries that have limited him to batting from the right side, he’s sparked the Sox both with his bat and his glove.
For a time, the ALCS and Saturday night provided more fodder for the doubters. When Victorino failed to get a bunt down in the third inning, short-circuiting a scoring chance, he fell to 2-for-23 in the series.
“Lots of thoughts were going through my head: How was I going to explain not getting that bunt down?” Victorino said. “Trust me, I was down and out. I heard people talking about dropping me in the lineup. It makes me want to go out and be that much better.”
That failed bunt? Forget it. The 2-for-23? Never happened. Those injuries he’s been dealing with? Gone, the minute he connected with Veras’ hanging 0-2 curveball.
That’s when he established a home-run trot for a whole new generation of Red Sox fans to mimic. Carlton Fisk had his wave, Dave Henderson his pirouette. Victorino’s move is threefold, from the arms over his head, to the leaping fist pump, to the pounding of his chest.
“I was definitely excited running the bases,” Victorino said afterward. “It was a special moment for me, for the city.”
Fisk. Henderson. Victo.
Red Sox. Lore.
I just vomited. Not the kind of vomit that needs to be aided by gravity to find the toilet, but the kind where you have to calculate the distance to stand from the bowl (usually seven feet) because you know it has its own propulsion system and is angry. That kind.
That’s not just because yet another former Philly athlete is having success elsewhere. No, it’s because Victo’s Game 6 slam to send the Sawx to the Series, not his slam off of CC Sabathia in Game 2 of the 2008 NLDS, is now the career-defining home run for the Flyin’ Hawaiian. I’m a weird guy, moments like the slam off CC hold a special place in my heart and mind (I was there, sitting in left field), and I like it when the athlete has the same reverence toward it as I do. But now when Shane Victorino looks back and thinks about his biggest hits, his temporal lobe is serving up the ’13 Sox before the ’08 Phils. Hell, his Nicetown Boys & Girls Club is already making room on the wall for this image:
And go ahead, type “Shane Victorino grand slam” into Google Images– see what comes up:
Here’s what would’ve come up yesterday:
And of course, because it was in Boston, it has all sorts of weird, old-timey historical meaning. From Elias Sports:
Shane Victorino is the first player in major-league history to hit a game-winning grand slam in the seventh inning or later to clinch a postseason series.
It was the second time in the 2013 ALCS that the Red Sox hit a lead-changing grand slam while trailing in the seventh inning or later. Davis Ortiz’s slam in the eighth inning of Game Two tied that game, 5-5. There have been only three other slams of that kind in postseason history. They were hit by Ron Cey (1977 Dodgers, vs. Phillies in NLCS), Vladimir Guerrero (2004 Angels, at Red Sox in ALDS) and Paul Konerko (2005 White Sox, vs. Astros in World Series).
You have to be happy for Victorino. He’s always come up big the Postseason, and he’s given us plenty of these types of moments to look back on. But that doesn’t lessen the sting of seeing a Phillie forcefully inject himself into Red Sox history. In fact, it makes it worse.
Finally, here’s Melissa Victorino celebrating with all the Red Sox wives, because why not: