Hate 'em or love 'em, these gritty Phillies are something else
PHILADELPHIA -- One Dodger was going over the possibilities and permutations following the heartbreaking
"It's going to be tough," the Dodger concluded. "This (Dodger) team, it's not like that one."
In other words, the Dodgers are no Phillies.
But who is?
That Dodger's comments were not intended as a knock on his own team but rather as high praise for a reigning world champion that appears determined to make it two straight trophies -- or, dare we say it -- to form a dynasty. The Dodgers are one loose and fun bunch; a youthful, happy go lucky team where goofy
But the Phillies are something else entirely. They are a tough team that only quickly transforms into a killer -- but only when it has to.
They are one tough bunch, team that can't be put away or stamped out.
When the Phillies are down, that's when they rise. When any of the other teams in the NL East drew anywhere near close this season, that's when they pulled away. They are one supremely confident team, and that faith didn't just come from last year's trophy.
They are intense, and can even be ornery. But they are good to each other, and when one of them steps out of line, as
When something goes wrong, they press on. Utley's the kind of guy who doesn't know how to take the game face off.
"There's mental toughness, top to bottom,"
"Physical toughness, too," Pedro said.
They aren't an especially polite as a group. They don't exactly engender warm feelings to outsiders or opponents, who wind up detesting them for their unusual combination of cockiness and perkiness. Their heart can't be measured by their height.
When little Jimmy stepped to the plate one out away from the end against the Dodgers' mountain of a closer,
Broxton is an overwhelming talent (he regularly touches 100 mph on the radar gun), but as one Dodger said about his poorly placed pitches and blown game: "He's young." And that youth showed up at exactly the wrong moment.
Maybe Broxton was recalling last year's NLCS when
"You can't walk Stairs there," one Dodger said. "(Broxton) seemed like he was trying to pitch around him, which makes no sense."
You just can't give the Phillies a break. Because if you do, they will break you.
As tough interviews go,
The final two answers were "yes" and "Donnie."
So while no one is saying it officially, the Dodgers are one team that truly has a manager in waiting. (According to Torre, the wait will be one more year, as he reiterated to SI.com that it's his intention to make 2010 his last year as Dodgers manager.) If so, it's the right choice. "No question about that,"
Mattingly didn't say the managerial job's been promised to him, and he recalled that everyone figured he was Torre's heir apparent in New York as well. ("I hear different things, but I've been through that," is the way Mattingly put it), but it's clear he is interested, maybe even interested to the point where he wouldn't consider any other managing opportunities. "The Dodgers have been great to me, and I have feelings for Joe," Mattingly said.
The Indians, Astros and Nationals also have openings. Mattingly had a phone interview with Indians GM Mark Shapiro, and there is expected to be more discussion. (The
Mattingly said he believes Torre when he says he intends to make 2010 his last season managing the Dodgers. "He's not as leverage-the-media guy," Mattingly said. "But nobody knows the future."
Mattingly understands the future isn't guaranteed to anyone. But his looks pretty secure in Dodger blue.
Trivia time: What do
Answer: They are the only two players ever to hit a postseason home run off
Payton hit a three-run home run in the 2000 World Series against Rivera. The Yankees led 6-0 entering the ninth inning. Rivera relieved
Alomar's home run came in Game 4 of the '97 ALDS, a game-tying shot in the eighth. The Indians won the game with a home run in the ninth off
Thanks to baseballreference.com, here are some more postseason numbers for Rivera: 8-1 record, 0.72 ERA, 36 saves, five blown saves, 103 Ks, 18 walks, .176 opponent batting average, .213 on-base percentage, .231 slugging, .444 OPS. In his first 40 playoff games, in 62 innings, he had 18 saves and a 0.73 ERA.
In his last 42, in 63 1/3 innings, he has 18 saves and a 0.71 ERA.
• According to the
• Interim Nationals manager
• Ex-Diamondbacks third base coach
• The Mariners' baseball people are relieved
• Raise your hand if you thought