Is It Over Yet?

26 May

By the time that game ended last night I forgot that the Phillies had runners on third base with less than two outs twice and couldn’t get them in

By the time that game ended last night I forgot that for the second night in a row the Phillies blew  a 3-1 lead.

By the time that game ended last night I forgot that even Roy Halladay can’t win em all.

By the time that game ended last night, I forgot what I ate for the dinner I had in the first inning.

But by the time that game ended last night, I remembered why I love baseball.

I remembered that even after watching this game for longer than I care to admit (OK, over 40 years) I still see things I’ve never seen before.  That even in a marathon of a game that lasted 6 hours and 11 minutes, using up both teams’ entire bullpens and benches, there were still individual moments I’ll remember.

I’ll remember Ryan Madson redeeming himself, coming into a tie game in the 9th for the second night in a row. After giving up 3 runs the night before losing the game for his team, this time he mowed down the heart of the Reds line-up one-two-three.

I’ll remember Ryan Howard‘s moon-shot home run in the bottom of the 10th to keep the game alive after the Reds had again taken the lead.

I’ll remember Chase Utley, who had the night off, coming in as a pinch hitter to a stirring standing ovation only to be intentionally walked.

I’ll remember the sight of Carlos “Chooch” Ruiz, playing an unfamiliar third base, diving over the tarp and almost into the front row of the stands trying to catch a foul  ball.

And, of course, I’ll remember infielder Wilson Valdez taking  the mound in the top of the 19th inning.  Not only was he pitching for the first time in his major league career but he was coming into a tie game and facing the Reds sluggers.

“I put him right down the middle of the order to see what he’s got,” quipped manager Charlie Manuel.  “He passed the test.”

Although Valdez did hit Scott Rolen, he retired the other three batters he faced, including NL MVP Joey Votto and Philly-killer Jay Bruce, on fly balls.  And he played his part well, even shaking off his catcher several times and wrapping his arm in ice as he sat in the dugout waiting to see if he would be retuning to the mound.

Fortunately that wasn’t necessary as the Phillies finally scratched out a run in the bottom of the 19th giving utility infielder turned pitcher, Wilson Valdez, his first major league victory and a night he won’t soon forget.  

Now that is something I’ll remember.

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