2008 Phandom 25

The 2008 Phandom 25: The Gift Win

Last year I wrote a series of posts chronicling 2007’s 20 greatest moments in Phillies Phandom. Each game had a special “wow” factor, whether it was an insane comeback, an awesome feat or a trademark moment. And each game was a Phillies win, of course.

For this year, clearly, you know the top moment. But ranking the rest was very difficult. Do I rank the NLCS second just because? Is the NL East clinching victory as important as other postseason moments? I used some heavy discretion, but I believe I came up with a pretty solid list.

Each moment has an attached video link, if you’d like to go back and reminisce.

Like the 100 Greatest Phillies countdown, I’ll be posting one per day. I swear, you won’t get any more countdowns this offseason.


13. The little pop-up that could
Date: June 6, 2008

You’ve watched a game where your team needs one miracle to stay alive or win, and when the miracle doesn’t come, you hope maybe there was an error. Maybe they have to redo the play? Maybe there was a gaffe? Something? The game couldn’t be over, could it?

On June 6, it wasn’t over.

Chris Coste approached the bench with runners on first and second with two outs in the ninth inning of a 2-1 Braves lead at Turner Field. He popped up Blaine Boyer’s first offering near the first base line, and Kelly Johnson shifted back to make the easy final out. He seemed to have it aligned, and the ball fell in his glove. Then it fell out. As Johnson scrambled to recoup the ball, Eric Bruntlett came across the plate to tie the game. Though Pedro Feliz was thrown out at the plate afterward, the damage was done, the tables were turned, the game was still somehow alive.

That game looked like a lot of Phillies games between June and August. Great pitching — Jamie Moyer and the Phillies bullpen surrendered just two runs — but no offense to back it up — only a Chase Utley groundout made damage, and that was way back in the first.

But in the ninth, the Phils responded off a pretty poor back end of the Atlanta bullpen. With two outs, Geoff Jenkins walked to keep hope alive. Bruntlett pinch ran for Jenkins and stole second; Pedro Feliz walked, and up stepped Coste. And the pop-up that could really did.

Tom Gordon pitched the bottom of the ninth, and though he let up a double, he saw his way out of the pinhole with a strikeout of Mark Teixiera and pop-out of Jeff Franceour.

The Phils finally cut the glass in the 10th. Chris Snelling recorded his second-biggest hit as a Phillie, a double to deep center field. So Taguchi ran for Snelling, and Shane Victorino muted the substitution with a triple to right field. The Phils grabbed the lead. Utley added insurance with an easy double into the right field corner. With a two-run lead, Brad Lidge was entering and getting a great chance to secure the game for the Phillies.

It almost didn’t happen. Getting one out, Lidge unraveled and surrendered a pure single, then a bunt single by Gregor Blanco. After striking out Greg Norton, Lidge faced a second and third with two outs. At bat was Yunel Escobar, and for the first time, someone beat Lidge.

He singled up the middle, scoring one. Blanco trucked it for home, and Victorino met the ball and ripped off a laser throw to the plate. Chris Coste caught the ball, turned to his other side and swiped Blanco’s leg mere milliseconds before it could touch the plate. Final out recorded. Game over. The Phils ran out of Atlanta with a gift victory.

A miracle, for sure.

The video: Kelly Johnson can’t catch the ball

From the comments:

NEPA: HOLY SHIT! I was in the middle of congratulating Coste on the Jeltz award. Please let us come back and win this.

Matt: absolutely spectacular. Shane Victorino won this game single handedly

Phil: hahaha I agree give Kelly Johnson the Asburn Award.

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