Sunday, December 28, 2014

Stairs home run lifts Phillies over Dodgers

OK, so you already knew that.

Stairs home run lifts Phillies over Dodgers

Matt Flippin' StairsOK, so you already knew that.

But it was still fascinating last night to watch the complete replay of Game 4 at Dodger Stadium, which aired on Comcast Sports Net. I'm sure most of you watched it on TV, but it was my first time doing so, which gave me an entirely new perspective on the game. Keep in mind, when all of the events of that night were unfolding in real time, I was sandwiched in between Paul Hagen and Jim Salisbury in the not-so-modern press box of the stadium while pounding away on my laptop, deadline on the East Coast fast approaching. For the previous 30 minutes, I had been re-writing my "Phillies win, take 3-1 series lead story" into a "Rough sixth inning evens series" story. Then Shane Victorino did the improbable to tie the game, and I stopped tying and started watching. A couple of batters later, when Matt Stairs walked to the plate with a man on base, I turned to Hagen.

In jest, I said, "Watch, now Stairs will hit a home run" (We sports writers can be a cynical lot).

Four pitches later, Stairs swung, and the ball leapt off the bat, and there was never a doubt, and as soon as ball met wood, I channeled my inner-Utley and said the first thing that came to mind:

"No (bleeping) way."

From that point on, I don't remember anything, just the mad flurry of fingers on key board combined with the almost audible hope that Brad Lidge would not blow his first save of the season and cause me to hit the delete key.

Anyway, back to the original point. I watched the game on the television last night, which was a study in dramatic irony.

A few observations that have since been overshadowed by the Stairs home run:

1) Almost as remarkable as Stairs' home run was the fact that the Phillies were still in the game after the sixth. They had men on second and third with no out and bases loaded with one out, yet allowed just two runs to stay within striking distance.

2) The diving double play by Utley to end the inning didn't get nearly as much press as it should have.

3) Ryan Madson was absolutley electric in that frame, and Scott Eyre's contribution (retiring Andre Ethier) was almost as important.

4) Speaking of Ethier, how about that diving catch he made in the bottom of the fifth to rob the Phils of two runs?

5) I swear Dodger Stadium seemed louder on television than it was in person.

6) Geoff Jenkins is in just about every camera shot. I know he struggled at the plate this season, but he was a great presence in the clubhouse. Probably the most memorable shot from that game is him grabbing Charlie Manuel's shoulders from behind and giving him a High 10 after Victorino's home run.

Here's the game story from that night, by the way.

Have a great Christmas

David Murphy Daily News Staff Writer
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