|That ball looks like a melon, don't it, Shane?|
Currently, I am working on a blog series that I think is really exciting and more focused and meaningful than what I have posted in the past.
I will leave you all in anticipation of that, and instead, share with you a cool nugget of information that may only serve my amusement, but I will try to present in a way that will peak your interest as well.
As you may or may not have known, I rooted for Boston in the most recent Fall Classic. I get a sick pleasure out of watching New York Yankee fans suffer, and I have been a minor supporter of the Red Sox since their improbable comeback in the ALCS nine years ago.
In order to better justify my leanings this October, I decided that I wanted to see former Phillie Shane Victorino get another ring.
Those of us watching remember well Victorino's heroics in Game 6 of the ALCS and Game 6 of the Series. He drove in a combined eight runs in the those two games, including a grand slam over the Green Monster in the former.
All of those RBI came with the bases loaded, and toward the end of the game that would result in Boston's third title in nine years, Fox commentator Joe Buck revealed that Victorino was 6-for-8 with 20 RBI with the bases loaded in his postseason career.
Yowsah! (figure I'd thrown in some Boston-ese)
With my baseball stat appetite whetted, I hopped on my favorite website, baseball-reference.com. More than anything, I wanted to prove that Buck misspoke because just two of those six hits for Victorino were grand slams. Twenty runs driven in seemed far-fetched.
But Buck was right, and I now share with you all of Victorino's postseason RBI with the bases loaded. It's quite astonishing when you think about it.
Bases-Loaded Walk, 2008 NLDS Game 1
Grand Slam, 2008 NLDS Game 2
2-run Single, 2008 World Series Game 5
Hit-By-Pitch, 2009 NLCS Game 5
Sacrifice Fly, 2009 World Series Game 3
2-run Single, 2010 NLDS Game 1
Bases-Loaded Walk, 2010 NLDS Game 2
Grand Slam, 2013 ALCS Game 6
3-run Double, 2013 World Series Game 6
RBI Single, 2013 World Series Game 6
Those numbers blew me away. Despite my appreciation and respect for sabermetrics, I still think that clutch hitting is a credible term. Like anything else, hitting is mental and if you go into an at-bat believing you're going to succeed, then there's a higher chance you will. Just ask David Ortiz.
Honestly, what really sticks out to me in that list are the two walks. Victorino is not a player that comes to mind when I think of plate discipline. Much like the guy he followed in the Philly lineup during the glory years (I think his last name is Rollins), Victorino is an uppercut swinger, who becomes a major concern to opposing pitchers when he does get on base.
But when the calendar flips to October, Ortiz is no longer the only guy the Red Sox want at the plate in high-pressure situations. No room on the sacks for the Flyin' Hawaiian? Don't worry, he'll make room.
Congrats on all your success, Shane, and maybe someday, you will don the red and white pinstripes yet again. I would welcome that.