Shane’s a changed man.
Earlier this year, I was in the left field stands when he threw a warm-up ball to a little girl. Clearly, I had no problem with this. In fact, I pointed at him. And he pointed back. We continued this gesture several times. I sat down.
“That’s Shane,” I informed some nearby people who hadn’t asked. ”We’re friends.”
But I’ve seen an evolution in the man this season. The relaxed, carefree, “Let’s just play some ball” attitude is all but gone, and replaced by a guy who needs to relax. Maybe it’s the parasite in his guts. Maybe it’s because his slump lasted a little longer than everybody else’s. Maybe he’s sensitive about his weight.
I don’t know what it is. But the guy is clearly stressed, because the caught stealing temper tantrum he threw today was not indicative of a man who has a Bob Marley song played before every at-bat.
I wouldn’t say I’ve lost respect for him, but Shane may have a lot on his plate right now. Going into the playoffs is a time when we need guys like Shane more than ever. Players that come through, put the bat on the ball, and run with the speed of a screaming demon, pulled by a dozen stallions in a chariot of fire.
This is when we need every last ounce of baseball you can beat out of a player.
Magic number? 6.
Games to play? 10.
Games on Tuesday? 2.
Kudos to the bullpen, Tyler Walker especially, for disassembling to Braves this afternoon. Nine of their 15 outs were strikeouts, including a game-ender by he-who-must-not-be-named. And ever since the Nationals series, we’ve been putting the bat on the ball with relative ease. You might say everything I’ve been complaining about has been rectified.
Which is probably why today’s post is so short.
It’s rally towel season, and with a clinch within our grasps, the streets of Philadelphia will be flooded with the jubilant cheers of the drunk and violent.
In a good way…not like the way the Eagles fans must be.