Is it just me, or did this feel almost anti-climactic? Not in a bad way, for sure. But with the way the Phillies pounded the Dodgers into submission to advance to the World Series for the second straight year, and fresh off a dramatic walk-off win in Game 4, Wednesday night's clincher felt, well, different.
Onne year and five days ago, the story was the newness of it all, the aforementioned split second of realization -- Holy hell, we're going to the World Series -- carrying well into the next morning. Last night? Last night was something different. Last night was a prize fighter that had already withstood the best his opponent had to offer, had already endured the 35 degree chill of Denver and the 90 degree heat of Los Angeles and the three-run rally by the Rockies in Game 4 of the NLDS and the flame-throwing closer protecting a two-out lead in Game 4 of the NLCS.
Want to know what Wednesday night felt like? It felt like an encore, a victory lap, one last exhibition of brutish strength in the form of a 10-4 victory over a team that looked as if it knew it was beaten. Yes, the Phillies are going to their second straight World Series, the first time a National League team can make that claim since 1996, when the World Champion Atlanta Braves defeated the Cincinnati Reds in the NLCS. Yes, they are the first team in franchise history to achive such a feat, leaving little doubt that the finest era in Phillies baseball exists in the present. Yes, the champagne still smelled sweet, and the party still rocked, as did the thousands of red-clad fans who lingered into the night.
Yet as the players streamed out of the dugout after Shane Victorino settled under a lazy fly ball off the bat Ronnie Belliard to cap off the five-game series win, it was somehow different..