Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Who I Feel Good For...
It's hard not to feel good for people when a team wins the World Series.
I bet even somewhere in our dark and uncaring hearts we Red Sox fans felt good for a player or two during the Yankees World Series titles.
(Or do you really have that much venom towards Mike Aldrete?)
So here are the people I feel best for with the Phillies World Series title...
1. CHARLIE MANUEL
This is the baseball lifer you can't help but love.
A career in baseball with a few years as a player but the rest of the time as a minor leaguer, in the Japanese league, managing and coaching in the minors. A stint in Cleveland and tons of people wanting his head in Philadelphia.
And all the while he was a calming force with that Southern voice and baseball brains... he is the real life Joe Riggins, the manager from Bull Durham. (You throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball.)
Guys like that should have a ring.
2. JAMIE MOYER
When Jamie Moyer first broke into the major leagues, I was a 14 year old freshman in high school living in the suburbs of Boston.
I am now a 36 year old father of twin 3 1/2 year olds living near Los Angeles.
That's a long damn time.
Let me put it another way... when Jamie Moyer broke into the bigs, Cole Hamels was a 2 and 1/2 year old baby.
He now has a ring.
Guys like Jamie Moyer deserve a ring.
3. MATT STAIRS
I've already written a Valentine to Matt Stairs, but 16 years in the bigs have come to this.
He wasn't even a Phillie until August, but like Dave Roberts in Boston, he has permanently etched his name into the sports narrative in Philadelphia with his off the bench heroics in the League Championship Series.
Now he has a ring.
It's a good thing you didn't retire Matt!
4. BRAD LIDGE
Maybe he'll never live down the Pujols homer completely.
Hell, Eckersley clinched a World Series in 1989 but people always link him with Gibson.
And I maintain that the Pujols homer was a little overrated since the Cardinals lost the next day... but don't forget Lidge also lost games 2 and 4 of the World Series including a walk off to Scott Podsednik of all people.
Who could have guessed that Houston would be too tense a place for him to pitch but he'd be perfect in the pressure cooker of Philadelphia?
He has a clip for all time... clinching the second ever World Series title for the Phillies.
(Not that that is a consolation for Astros fans.)
5. COLE HAMELS
He's 24... he's about to become a millionaire many times over... he's impossibly handsome... he's now the darling of a passionate sports fan base... and tonight, despite the weather's best efforts to deprive him of the award, is the first MVP of both the LCS and World Series in the same year since Livan Hernandez in 1997.
And let's face it, Hernandez didn't deserve the World Series MVP. That should have gone to Moises Alou.
But the only ones to win the LCS and World Series MVPs in the same year have been Willie Stargell of the 1979 Pirates, Darrell Porter of the 1982 Cardinals, Orel Hershiser of the 1988 Dodgers and Hernandez.
Not bad company to be in.
6. SHANE VICTORINO
We are not in a glory age for nicknames in baseball... we need more cool nicknames.
So how's THE FLYING HAWAIIAN?!
That's a great nickname folks!
And guess what, with a nickname like that and the hard nose play he gave in the World Series (not to mention the grand slam off of CC Sabathia) it doesn't matter if he stinks the rest of his career or never plays in another game.
He will get standing ovations in Philadelphia as long as he is alive.
Philadelphia fans love players who play hard, win titles and have great nicknames.
Just ask Bake McBride!
7, 8 & 9. JIMMY ROLLINS, CHASE UTLEY and RYAN HOWARD
All are under 30.
Rollins and Howard each have an MVP on their mantle.
Utley will probably have one soon enough.
They, along with Hamels, are the faces of a home grown Philadelphia team that has the chance to be one of the most loved teams in that city's history.
And none of them will EVER have the "He never won the big one" label that hung over Barkley, Lindros, Cunningham, Iverson and still hangs over McNabb.
Oh yeah... all three are millionaires who play baseball for a living.
10 and 11. SCOTT EYRE AND PEDRO FELIZ
They were members of the 2002 San Francisco Giants who came so close to winning against the Angels.
At least they got rings now... not that that is much consolation for Giants fans.
12. MILT THOMPSON
He had a fine career over 13 seasons but his only post season experience was with the 1993 Phillies, who lost to the Blue Jays in the World Series.
Now, as a coach, he finally got a ring.
13. PAT GILLICK
Talk about knowing when to fold em!
His third ring as a GM (albeit using a lot of Ed Wade's pieces).
I wonder if this merits Hall of Fame discussion.
14. PHILLIES FANS LUCKY ENOUGH TO BE LISTENING TO HARRY KALAS' RADIO CALL OF THE GAME
Joe Buck's call on TV was flat and disinterested.
Kalas? Full of passion and is no doubt the ring tone of many Phillies fans starting today.
15 and 16. TAMPA SUPER FANS PAT AND CHRISTIN
I'm sure there are a lot of bandwagon, cow bell buying, mohawk getting Rays fans wandering around Tampa these days.
But Pat and Christin have been Rays fans since they were the Devil Rays.
(OK, that only goes back to 2007... but how many die hard Devil Rays fans do YOU know?)
And yes, their team didn't win the World Series, but going into this season the goal was a 71-91 record (which would have been the best in team history.)
If the Rays have indeed put together a powerhouse team for the future, you know Pat and Christin will enjoy every inning.
They've earned it!
17. JOHN OATES
With fellow Philadelphia native Darryl Hall out with the flu, John finally got a solo!