There were a few moments that stuck with me yesterday in the aftermath of the Phillies' 6-2 win over the Brewers in the fourth and final game of the two teams' National League Division Series. First, there was the deafening silence that enveloped the crowd at Miller Park after Jimmy Rollins gobbled up a ground ball by Jason Kendall and threw to short to record the final out. Just seconds before, the place was about as loud as a stadium can be. Geoff Jenkins, a former Brewers, said afterward that the past couple of days are the loudest he has ever heard a baseball game in Milwaukee. And then, after Kendall's swing, the place just shut down. It was a really weird experience watching the Phillies stream out of the dugout and celebrate to absolute silence.
The second moment came in the clubhouse after the game. The scene was pretty much as you'd expect. There was champagne and Bud Light and all that alcoholic goodness. But the party died down pretty quickly. Everyone seems to realize that a loss in the next round will relegate this season to a failure, at least from the eyes of the players and coaches. But the moment that stuck with me involved Pat Burrell and Phillies chairman Bill Giles. Obviously, after his two home run effort yesterday, Burrell was the man of the hour, and everyone took turns congratulating him. But Giles took it once step further. He kissed him. Granted, it was on the cheek, and not on the lips. But it was a very long kiss.
"My hero," Giles said after the man-kiss.
A running debate throughout the past 24 hours has revolved around the Phillies and Eagles head-to-head television match-up yesterday. Most people seemed to believe the Eagles would top the Phillies in the overnight ratings. I have yet to see them, but I think that's how it will shake out. Funny story: was out with a group of people Friday night and we ran into one of the Phillies' players. He joined in the debate and agreed the Eagles would win the ratings war. I'd love to hear which game you chose to watch, or at least what strategy you used when it came to the remote control.
I still don't have many details on the Phillies' plans for the next few days. Game 1 of the NLCS is on Thursday at 8:15 p.m. and will likely feature Cole Hamels against Derek Lowe. Game 2 is on Friday at 4:15 p.m.. Game 3 is Sunday at 8:15.
The Phillies won't workout today, but I expect them to hold a workout both Tuesday and Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park.
Rich Hofmann had a great moment with Charlie Manuel yesterday. As the party raged inside the visitor's clubhouse at Miller Park, the manager was nowhere to be found. Rich found him sitting in his office by himself. For 10 minutes, they talked about the significance of the Phillies NLDS win. Rich asked Charlie how he wanted to be viewed by people.
"You know?" Manuel said. "Know what I'd like people to call me? A winner, that's what."
From my perspective, it's hard not to attach that title to Manuel. He was on my ballot for National League Manager of the Year. I didn't put him No. 1-- that honor went to the Marlins Freddy Gonzalez -- but I think he deserves to be in the conversation. In a year in which Jimmy Rollins, Pat Burrell, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley all hit below their career batting averages, Manuel has found a way to keep this team a float.
Here's the column. . .
I'll try to get back at the blog when I land in Philly. Right now I'm sitting in the Milwaukee airport. Which, come to think of it, looks exactly how you'd expect the Milwaukee airport to look. One interesting note about the Milwaukee airport: It has an official name for the area where you put your shoes back on and your laptops back in your bag after passing through security: the "Recombobulation Area." I like that.
Finally: Milwaukee's Corey Hart had a horrible series. One of the worst playoff series a guy can have. Some people have asked me who the Phillies MVP was for the series. It might have been Corey Hart.
But here is why I like Corey Hart: His walk-up music during his at-bats is International Harverster by Craig Morgan.
I dig it.