Steve Lombardozzi popped up to shallow center field last night, with what they wound up calling a “single.” I guess that kind of horse shit passes for a single in the Nationals clubhouse. But in ours, that shit gets caught via some acrobatic, frantic dive from a Hawaiian who may have gotten a bad jump on it.
Until last night. Instead, we joined John Mayberry as spectators, as he glided toward the ball and, much like we’ve done with Mayberry himself, watched it hit the ground.
This isn’t the beginning of the John Mayberry era in center field. This is the beginning of those few months we limped out of 2012 tasting blood and stuck Mayberry out there in center to absorb the blows.
It is the closing of Shane Victorino’s time out there, and we are going to feel it more than once in an 8-0 win.
I’m not gonna run through the gambit of memories–the time I was in the stands for his game-winning Shane Victorino Bobblehead Day home run and got carried out of the section in jubilation just because I was the only one wearing his jersey; the time I’m pretty sure he mocked me from center field for waving at him as a 22-year-old; making the fly ball catch at Wrigley, despite a beer shower from what had to be a Phillies fan in a Cubs shirt.
I mean I’m not going to elaborate on the gambit of memories.
He was a .gif machine, walkoff pie-to-the-face steward, and just a tornado of infuriating Hawaiian thunder who begged us not to trade him. Now, he returns to the team that gave up on him and whose fanbase has called him “rat face” for the last four years. Seems fair.
In a few years, there will be a squad of new fan favorites running around out there. The next generation will be on its way, whether that’s Jonathan Pettibone and Tommy Joseph or Freddy Galvis and Chase Headley. And Shane will have been ironed into a new story; an accepted Dodger, just another enemy. He’ll some to The Bank, we’ll give him a standing O, CSN will cut to a shot of a little girl holding a “MISS YOU FLYIN’ HAWAIIAN” or “ALWAYS A PHILLIE” if she didn’t feel like making a new sign after Werth came back last year, and then he’ll get a base hit and steal third and clap enthusiastically and we’ll realize why every other team hated him so much all those years.
Until then, we can look forward to him retiring as a WFC Phillie and making the Wall of Fame and being offered Gregg Murphy’s job to run around the stadium, interview celebrities and old people, and probably beat the Phanatic in an impromptu cartwheel-race around the 100 level.
Now, we just have to make do, feed off our memories, and take the advice of every cold slice of analysis that’s offered, unsolicited, this time of year: Get over it. That’s baseball. And we will. But Shane has a presence that makes him hard to recover from, whether he leaves you mesmerized or shell shocked.
Last night, though, the Flyin’ Hawaiian was grinning, the constant antagonist. And he probably felt the same way as everyone else.
Victorino would have had that.
Also, Hunter Pence was traded.