They both kick ass.
What does “24” have to do with baseball you ask? The answer will be explained later.
I spent a beautiful Opening Day watching the Phillies taking on the Washington Nationals at an ex-pat Philadelphia bar in New York City called Wogies. Yuenglings, cheese steaks and most importantly, and emphatic 11-1 victory to start the 2010 season = A Perfect Day.
Roy Halladay delivered in his first regular season appearance in a Phils uniform: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 9 K’s. All of this while throwing only 88 pitches. He easily could have started off this season with a complete game, but why push it. They’ll need this dominance later on.
After the grand opening ceremony at Nationals Park, including a first pitch thrown by President Barack “membership has it’s privileges/I’m going to put on a White Sox hat” Obama, the home team jumped right on Halladay, striking for one run on an RBI double by Ryan Zimmerman. Along with a strong first couple innings by Nats starting pitcher John Lannan, things were looking good for Washington.
Then the 4th inning started.
Leadoff hitter Chase Utley walked to start the inning. Ryan Howard came up and deposited one of his patented moon shots in to the Potomac River. Just like that, the momentum shifted, and the Phillies didn’t look back. After an RBI single by Shane Victorino, Halladay “helped his own cause” (copyright) with a swinging bunt/infield single scoring Raul Ibanez. Recently re-acquired third baseman Placido Polanco also made an immediate impact by plating Victorino with a sacrifice fly. 5-1 Phillies.
Lost in the off-season soap opera that was the Roy Halladay/Cliff Lee trade, the Phillies signing free agent Placido Polanco may become one of the biggest moves of the year. Polanco was such a solid player for the Phils when he manned second base between 2002 and 2005. However, due to unfortunate circumstances, he became expendable and was traded away because, a) a highly touted prospect named Chase Utley was also a second baseman, and b) a move to third base wasn’t going to happen because they had an overpaid, underperforming veteran already there in David Bell. They weren’t going to waste their money by having Bell on the bench! Ugh.
In addition to his incredible tenure with the Detroit Tigers, Polly’s performance today just drove home the fact that this trade back in 2005 was a mistake. After another RBI in the sixth inning, Polanco came up to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. He proceeded to hit only his second grand slam in his career, extending the Phillies lead to ten runs. His final line: 3 for 5, 1 R, 1 HR, 6 RBI’s. Dreams of “what-if” start going through my head if Polanco had stayed a Phillie this whole time…
And as I drift off in a haze of Phillies bliss, I glance outside and see actor Kiefer Sutherland walk on by. I smirk, shake my head, and think to myself, “how apropos”.
Welcome back baseball. Welcome back Polanco. Welcome back Phillies. Welcome back to another kick-ass season.
About the Author
Written by Bryan Sargent
Bryan Sargent is a lifelong Phillies fan, currently residing in the least hospitable city for such a person as himself, New York City. This coming January he will be attending Phillies Phantasy Camp in Clearwater, FL. He is currently documenting the entire process on his blog (http://www.bryansargent.com). You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @BTSargent.