Last night, the Phillies apparently put Friday’s painful Game 2 loss out of their minds, and set about administering a good old-fashioned butt-whuppin’ to the Dodgers, winning 11-0. Game 2 saw the Phils’ bats stymied by former Phillie Vicente Padilla (gotta admit I didn’t expect that), as they mustered only one run on Ryan Howard’s solo homer. In Game 3, they exploded for 11 runs!
And I wasn’t even wearing the lucky shirt! Mind you, it had been washed since Game 2, hopefully removing any bad luck remnants. But prior to the game, I’d been so busy helping my son with a school project, that I didn’t even think about changing shirts. So I sat down to watch the game still wearing my Penn State sweatshirt, and my Eagles not-so-lucky garment that didn’t do any good at all for them yesterday. And still the Phils won! So maybe I can just wear whatever I want for the rest of the series.
Random thoughts on Games 2 and 3:
– Talk about temperature extremes! Friday’s game was played under bright blue skies with temps in the 90’s; last night’s game had mid-40’s temps with windy conditions. Given my choice, I’d much rather the conditions in L.A., and besides, everything is better with palm trees!
– Cliff Lee once again pitched a gem for the Phillies, going eight shutout innings. So far this postseason, he is 2-0 with a miniscule 0.74 ERA.
– Pedro Martinez also pitched a gem on Friday, going seven shutout innings, but ended up with no decision in the 2-1 loss.
– Ryan Howard hit a two-run triple in the first inning last night. Now there’s something you don’t see every day, as Howard is obviously not known for his speed. Howard has now driven in at least one run in seven straight playoff games, setting a new record for a single postseason. Way to go, Ryan!
– Carlos Ruiz is quietly having a great postseason so far, hitting .429 with 7 RBIs. He doesn’t get the same amount of attention as the rest of the lineup (except possibly Pedro Feliz), but he’s been very productive batting in the number 8 spot.
The Nose Knows
Speaking of Pedro Feliz, not sure what was up with his nose last night, though I’m assuming this was a Band-aid, and not his attempt to impersonate Rudolph:
I would’ve assumed that there were products available for people with darker complexions, but surprisingly I can’t find any such thing on the internet. But there are lots of fun products out there for more interesting situations.
Celebrate a birthday:
Let the other team know you’re watching them:
Let the other team know you think they’re toast:
And since Halloween will only bring Game 3 (yes, this year’s postseason definitely goes too late into the fall) of the World Series:
Shocking TV Scheduling!
In a real surprise, the Yankees/Angels game is on at 4 pm here on the East Coast, and the Phillies/Dodgers game gets the prime time spot. What gives? Has the world tilted on its axis? Has hell frozen over? Steinbrenner wants to watch the Yankees and can’t stay up that late anymore?
Whatever the reason, I’ll be watching Game 4 tonight from the cozy comforts of home. If anyone has tickets they don’t want to use, I’d be more than happy to brave the elements! 😉
(Feliz photo by Mary Schwalm/MLB.com)
Wow! After less than two weeks of blogging, I just found out that I made my Leader List debut at number 44. I didn’t realize so many of you were reading my little missives! A big “thank you” to everyone who’s stopped by to visit – I hope I can keep up the good work.
In keeping with the MLBlog tradition of dedicating an entry to a famous, or maybe not-so-famous, number 44, I began by compiling a list of Phillies who have worn that number. Hmm. No one name jumped right out at me.
There was Vicente Padilla. Word always was that he had great stuff, but just couldn’t quite get it together. While with the Phillies, he had a fan group known as “Padilla’s Flotilla”.
There was Mike Maddux, brother of Greg, mentioned in my recent post, The Other Brother.
There were quite a few who toiled in relative anonymity, like Amalio Carreno, Steve Comer, Yoel Hernandez, and most recently Les Walrond.
There was Steve Fireovid, whose name brought to mind images of flaming Latin poets.
There was Dick Ruthven, who was a member of the 1980 World Champs, and twice an All-Star.
But to me the most interesting number 44 was Eddie Waitkus. Waitkus had two stints with the Phillies, from 1949-1953, during which he wore the number 4, and then for 33 games in 1955, during which he wore the number 44.
Waitkus, a first-baseman, began his career with the Cubs, playing briefly in 1941 (12 games), then playing full-time from 1946-1948. He was named an All-Star in 1948. While in Chicago, Waitkus became a favorite, especially among female fans. One young fan, Ruth Ann Steinhagen, became particularly obsessed.
Then, before the 1949 season, he was traded to the Phillies. Steinhagen, upset that Waitkus was no longer a Cub, concocted a scheme to lure him to her hotel room during a Phillies road trip to Chicago. She left a note for him using an alias, asking him to meet with her. Once he had entered the room, she pulled a rifle out of the closet and shot him in the chest.
Amazingly, he survived, and was named an honorary member of the 1949 All-Star team, as he had been leading the voting for first base at the time of the shooting.
He returned the next season to play 154 games for the 1950 “Whiz Kids”, compiling a .284 batting average. However, his numbers declined the next two seasons, and the Phillies were looking to trade him. By 1953, he appeared in only 81 games, splitting time at first base with Earl Torgeson.
At the beginning of the 1954 season, Waitkus was sold to the Baltimore Orioles. Always known as a slick fielder, he had a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage that year.
After playing in 38 games for the Orioles in 1955, he was released, and a few days later signed with the Phillies. He appeared in 33 games before being released after the end of the season.
After leaving baseball, Waitkus battled depression stemming from the shooting, which in turn led to problems with alcohol. Towards the end of his life, he found some solace working with young ballplayers at the Ted Williams Baseball Camp in Massachusetts. He died of cancer in 1972, at the age of 53.
Waitkus’ story inspired, in part, the Bernard Malamud book “The Natural”. Anyone interested in a more thorough telling of his career and life should read “Baseball’s Natural: The Story of Eddie Waitkus” by John Theodore. We will never know what his career might have been like had it not been for one crazed fan.
(photo from www.waitkus.org)