[Photo by ELIZABETH FIEND]
BY MIKE WOLVERTON SPORTS GUY I was working on a theory yesterday at the start of the Eagles game. It went like this: for (probably) the first time in baseball history, the outcome of an NFL game would affect the World Series. After the Phillies Game 3 loss Halloween night, I figured that if the Eagles lost on Sunday afternoon, the fans at the Phillies game Sunday night would have a sense of impending doom, a fear of a totally lost weekend. And this is the kind of atmosphere that could carry over to the players, and maybe factor into the outcome.Well, we’ll never know because the Eagles stuck it in the Giants sideways. That game was great. On the two occasions that the Giants looked like they might get back in the game, the Eagles scored right away. Eli Manning sucked and it seemed like the Eagles’ secondary could have had half a dozen picks (or more). I love beating the Giants. Donovan looked great, Leonard Weaver made the Giants look silly for a 41-yard touchdown, and LeSean McCoy busted a big one (after not showing much prior to that). With the Eagles win, it took some of the anxiety away for Philadelphia fans and thus became a non-factor in terms of the baseball game. But I think the Phillies owe the Eagles a tiny thank you for taking some of that pressure off.
So, with that weight lifted, did the loose Phillies batter C.C. Sabathia and the Yanks Sunday night? Not exactly. The World Series looked like it was going down the crapper for most of Game 4. Until the homer by Utley, and especially the tying shot by Feliz in the 8th inning. At that point I really thought the tide had turned. I thought Lidge was going to put the Bombers down 1-2-3 in the 9th, putting to rest the “Phillies bullpen blows” talk Then the Phils would dramatically win in the 9th or 10th or something, and regain the series edge with Cliff Lee due to pitch Game 5. And then Johnny Damon happened. Give him credit; a great at-bat, he knew he could run on Lidge and the guy knows how to play the game, cleverly swiping 3rd base. And even though Tim McCarver didn’t need to say it 20 times, he was still correct when he noted that having a runner on 3rd base takes a little bit away from Lidge’s arsenal…he’s got to be careful not to break off a sharp slider in the dirt. Well, some Yankee took advantage and got a big hit (I forget who) and now the Fightins are in deep. They’ll have to count on Cliff Lee to dominate tonight and then figure out a way to win twice in New York behind Pedro and Hamels. They’ve got a virtual Manayunk Wall to climb.
The worst thing about Damon’s play might be the hyperbole. ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark says people will talk about Damon’s double steal, “for the rest of their lives – and probably a thousand years after that.” Yes, just as people are still talking about Shield Jaguar’s last-second game winner at the Great Ball Court in Chichen Itza, 1108 AD. Stark is serious though…his article later says Damon’s steal is, “a play we’ll be rehashing for a millennium.” I’m sure fathers throughout the human settlements on Titan will gather their children around the Yule Log and tell them about how Lidge should have been covering third.