Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Power Of Positive Thinking

What? A Phillies fan (me) having a positive thought about the Phils? (yes, it happened).

As Game 4 of the NLCS was inching toward its conclusion, it was looking like L.A. was going to get the road win they would need to guarantee the series would head back to California.

An early 2-0 Philly lead quickly turned into a 4-2 edge for Los Angeles. After the Phils crawled back to within one-run in the 6th, The Dodgers were hanging onto that 4-3 lead into the bottom of the 8th. The Phillies mounted a rally, getting two men on with only one out for Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth.

This was it! Another chance for Howard to be a hero, or Werth -- who singled home the NLDS series clinching run -- to get the job done again.

Strike out, fly out, on to the 9th.

After Lidge dodged some bullets and kept the deficit at one heading to the bottom of the 9th, it happened. My moment of positive thinking. I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth, so that whenever the game ended I could just turn off the TV and head to bed -- for my upcoming four hours of sleep -- and I said out loud to myself, "just gotta think positive here, right?"

Why shouldn't I? After witnessing this team rally for the 2007 and 2008 NL East titles, winning it all in '08, and advancing to the NLCS in '09, why shouldn't I feel positive about their chances in the 9th.

All I kept thinking was, if they could just turn the lineup over...if they could just turn the lineup over.

And, with Jonathon Broxton coming in -- and is there anyone else in baseball that looks like they need to immediately pee in a cup? -- I knew that the Phils would find a way to get Matt Stairs into the game to pinch hit.

Stairs, of course, drilled a Broxton fastball "into the night" in game four of last year's NLCS, sending the Phils to a 7-5 win, and a 3-1 series lead.

The 9th opened quietly enough with Ibanex grounding out to second base -- and, does anyone ground out to 2nd more often than Raul? -- but then here came Stairs, and you could tell Broxton was having some bad flashbacks. He pitched around Stairs, walking him to put the tying run on 1st.

If one of the next two guys could get on base, they'd turn that lineup over for Rollins.

thankfully, Broxton's composure was still shaken, and he hit Ruiz with a fastball. As long as Dobbs didn't hit into a DP, Rollins would come up.

Why was I confident in Jimmy? He was due. It was hit turn for his 2009 moment.

After Dobbs lined out to third, up came Jimmy with two on, and two out. A single ties it up. An out, and the series is 2-2.

Jimmy likes to swing for the fences, and being eager to jack one out on the opening fastball -- which he missed badly, as it was about six inches inside -- I got a little nervous with the count 0-1.

"Come on, Jimmy! We only need a hit here, not a home run!"

And then...

Even Henry Hill from Goodfellas was excited...

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