Friday, October 10, 2008

NLCS: Two games in Philadelphia

That sound, persistent and dizzying, during the 6th inning of Game 1 of Dodgers-Phillies wasn't just a buzz: it was a stadium's full-throated acclamation for its hometown heroes. Or it may have been an infestation of locusts. Either way, this was, mind you, before Chase Utley's game-tying home run. Under these environs, you just knew something would happen.

And it did. The turnaround -- from 2-0 to 3-2 -- was stunning, happening so fast it may have been legerdemain. Utley's homer barely in the books, Pat Burrell took advantage of an obviously tiring Derek Lowe and sent a screamer into the left field bleachers, with Manny barely moving. The Phillies would not relinquish their lead, nor would the fans lose their voice.

Then there was Game 2, which we'll just jump straight to the finish: Nomar Garciaparra, always known as a free swinger, made up his mind to swing three times before he got to the plate. Three Brad Lidge sliders later -- each going a bit farther out of the zone than the preceding -- and we all witnessed the easiest strikeout we'll ever see in postseason play.

2-0 Phillies. But this series is coming back...

POSTSCRIPT 1: A columnist war? Philly Inquirer's John Gonzalez on LA Times's T.J. Simers:

For shame, Simers. If you're going to be lazy and clich├ęd, you can't half-(rhymes with pass) it. You must press your full backside against the keyboard.

In his defense, Simers works in a city teeming with dispassionate transplants. When catering to the botox crowd, you have to write in broad generalities, lest they furrow their brows in a vain attempt to understand.

POSTSCRIPT 2: This is awkwardly worded, but nonetheless (

Tampa Bay sold out and won both of its games in the AL Division Series, and it went 23-2 this season in front of a home audience of more than 30,000. The Rays' growing attendance, coupled with a newfound belief that they can win, has the Trop finally lending some identity to its oft-beleaguered franchise.
23-2 in front of home crowds exceeding 30,000. Almost makes up for the fact that the place looks like a cankersore patch.

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