The most consistent Phillie just endured a bit of a wild weekend.
On Friday, Shane Victorino was given the night off, and in his stead, Ben Francisco chipped in with his first home run as a member of the club. The usual centerfielder pinch-hit in the seventh, but fouled out in his only plate appearance. Nothing too crazy, just a day of rest.
Earlier that day, before he would witness his team lose the first of three to the Florida Marlins at home, Victorino would help out his birthplace. According to David Kawada of Examiner.com, Shane gave back to his old community in a big way.
As the State of Hawaii Department of Education deals with a multi-million dollar budget cut, Victorino offered a $10,000 donation to ease the pain. As Kawada reports, Hawaiian public schools are looking at a 65 percent decrease in funding for athletic programs. Victorino personally placed the call to assist his brethren in staving off the financial downfall that is affecting the island.
It’s a first-class move by a first-rate player and human being. Victorino is clearly proud of his heritage, so it’s remarkable to see him give back to those in need.
A day later, Victorino gave back to his new hometown, this time with the bat. He went 2-for-5 with a triple and an RBI, but again the Marlins were victorious. The swelter of the warm weekend and the heat of the second-place Marlins gaining steam on the Phillies would push emotions overboard in Sunday’s finale.
In a weird, wild chain of events, the mild-mannered Victorino was given the heave ho from his centerfield resting-place by none other than home plate umpire Ed Rapuano. As Victorino stood at his position in the seventh inning, he raised his arms in disgust after an 0-2 Rodrigo Lopez offering was called a ball by Rapuano. The man behind the mask, possibly taxed by the heat, and/or reeling from a blown call in the sixth inning during a Ryan Howard strikeout, quickly tossed Victorino in the long-distance ejection.
Victorino lost his cool, sprinting from the outfield to the umpire, while being held off by several teammates. In one of the most bizarre examples of umpiring, Rapuano added to the already-ugly three game set. That one moment of emotional distress perfectly summed up the Phillies’ weekend. A clean sweep at the hands of their division rival was not what the Fightin’s had envisioned as a seven-game lead swiftly dropped to only four.
Victorino, and the Phillies as a whole, began the weekend in an excellent spot. The Flyin’ Hawaiian used his celebrity to give a helping hand, and the Phils sat pretty atop a languishing division. However, in no time, those feelings of optimism turned to glumness and doubt.