Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Home Is Where The Pounding Is

Battery-mates Carlos Ruiz and Adam Eaton were the stars of the show last night as the Phils staged another dramatic comeback in beating Milwaukee 4-3.

Eaton turned in his second straight fine outing with 7.2 innings of four-hit one earned run ball (and made a great diving tag on a bunt by Tony Gwynn) and after heretofore untouchable closer Brett Myers yielded a game-tying home run to Johnny Estrada in the top of the ninth inning, Ruiz crushed a two-out walk-off home run in the bottom of the frame for the win.

There are a lot of exciting plays in baseball -- the triple, leaping catch at the wall, and squeeze bunt among them -- but for pure exhilaration these days nothing quite matches the greeting at home plate that awaits the player who smites a walk-off round tripper. His teammates rush from the dugout en masse and circle home plate as the conquering hero rounds the bases. By the time the batter passes third base the other 24 guys are waiting to literally pound him as he approaches the plate.

For their part, the more prudent batters pause as they near the dish and wait for the throng to clear enough space for them to leap into the air and land home. Meanwhile, the umpire, still on duty, lurks just outside this inner circle watching to see that the hero of the hour does indeed touch home. Good luck, I say. Fifty pairs of feet scrambling to occupy the same cherished piece of real estate! Under the circumstances, what aribiter is going to rule a guy missed the plate? As far as I know, no one has landed on the DL yet as a result of one of these organized melees but it almost seems inevitable as some serious pounding does take place. One imagines the conquering hero might feel a bit mixed about the roughing up that inevitably awaits him but no, it appears they all reach their destination with a look of pure glee upon their faces.

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