Philadelphia Phillies fans remember Shane Victorino's impact in the 2008 playoffs, as the Phillies put together a storybook run and brought the city its first championship in 25 years at the time. Five years later, that same energetic, bug-eyed lovable outfielder that spent the good part of eight seasons in red and white pinstripes made a very similar, intense impact in the Boston Red Sox's run to becoming World Series champions for the third time in ten seasons. In last night's clinching game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Fenway Park, Victorino led off the scoring with a three run triple in the third inning to put the Red Sox ahead for good, and help them clinch yet another World Series.
It's hard to sit here, 300 miles down the coast from a Mecca of winning sports teams, in a championship-famished city (despite the aforementioned storybook journey of the Phillies five seasons ago), watching our counterpart fans to the northeast win yet ANOTHER major sports championship. But it's also hard to not be happy for Victorino, who battled through injury all year after being signed to a 3-year, $39 million contract in the last offseason by the Red Sox. One of the few Red Sox regulars not sporting a completely ridiculous and hideous beard, Victorino's contagious energy was rather inconsistent through the World Series, as he had to sit out two games, and only hit 2 for 13 during the series, as well as just 11 for 51 in the postseason as a whole.
But when Victorino did not put up a goose egg on the box score, he made sure it had the utmost impact. His grand slam nearly two weeks ago to put the Red Sox ahead for good in game 6 of the American League Championship Series to beat the Detroit Tigers and win the pennant was the reason why the Red Sox were even in the World Series. Maybe someone else would have stepped up later in that game if it weren't for the Flyin' Hawaiian, but Victorino's heroics will go down in history. And last night's three run triple will also hold that same impact, although the Red Sox piled three more runs onto rookie Michael Wacha's game 6 line after Victorino did his initial damage.
His defense is nothing to be overlooked either. He played very solid defense in right field all season long, so much so that he was awarded a Gold Glove for his defensive play in 2013. This is his fourth Gold Glove award, as he won three with the Phillies from the 2008-2010 seasons. He made a crucial throw when St. Louis was threatening last night to keep runners in check.
No matter how the statistics break down, Victorino has won his second World Series title in three tries. Although he only played 122 games, accumulating 15 home runs and 61 RBI's through the 2013 season, Victorino's tendency to get big hits at just the right time manifested itself once again in the 2013 postseason. It's hard to forget all the clutch hits he came up with as a Phillie, especially the NLDS grand slam off of CC Sabathia in 2008. So despite the rough numbers for much of the rest of the World Series and postseason, Victorino's clutch hitting is probably nothing new to him. And neither is winning a World Series ring.
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