The Phillies are zeroing in on free agent outfield candidates to fill their vacancies, but it’s been two former outfielders who have been at the center of the MLB playoff races. Halloween came a little early this year, as Raul Ibanez has dawned his Reggie Jackson costume. His clutch home runs on back-to-back nights against the O’s was the stuff of legends.
Wait, wasn’t this guy too old to contribute?
Apparently the New York native missed the memo. Raul’s home run magic carried into the LCS when he tied the game in the ninth with another two-out bomb. While the TBS crew couldn’t stop gushing over the heroics playing out before their eyes, Phillies nation couldn’t help but feel there was some cruel joke at work. It was bad enough we have to watch this years playoffs without the Phils (if your watching at all), but to have a member of those playoff teams coming through for someone else just made me sick to my stomach. Adding insult to injury, Ibanez did it all for the Yankees. Like they need any more playoff heroes for their “storied history”!
If you were able to stomach the pain of watching Ibanez lift the Yanks, you were witness to the baseball gods exact their vengeance. Jeter breaks an ankle, A-rod get’s distracted by the ladies in the stands, and Ibanez hot-streak came to an end. Rauuuuuuuuuul finished his playoff run hitting .318 with 3 (monumental) HR, 5 RBI, and one October he will never forget.
Hunter Pence has been on the flip side of the playoff coin, struggling mightily for a Giants team on the brink of elimination. Post season struggles are nothing new for Hunter, who stunk up the joint in last year’s Division Series against the Cardinals. Losing to the Cardinals a second year in a row would be especially tormenting to Pence. Even when he hits a paltry .171 no one can argue that he left it all on the field.
Ibanez is out, and Pence looks like he is soon to follow. It’s bittersweet watching these players in the playoffs for other teams, especially when those teams are recent nemesis. One thing these former Phils have provided is something to root for in a sea of hated rivals and the fog of recent playoff disappointment. There may not be any former Phils who reach the World Series (Quentin Berry doesn’t count), but at least we can root against whoever advances from the NLCS.