Victorino lets his bat do the talking
LOS ANGELES -- During the National League Championship Series, after he had played a starring role in yet another big postseason game,
It made perfect sense, then, that when Fox wanted to have a player wear a microphone during Game 5 of the NLCS, Victorino was the choice. And even though he made headlines for screaming and signaling to Dodgers pitcher
While Victorino is a native of Wailuku, Hawaii, his game is more South Street than South Shore. He is a 5-foot-9, 180-pound ball of energy every time he takes the field, running his mouth, making big plays and getting his jersey dirty along the way. It's hard not to think of a memorable moment during the Phillies' best postseason run in 15 years and not think of the switch-hitting "Flyin' Hawaiian."
He hit the Phillies' first postseason grand slam in Game 2 of the NLDS against
He drove in four runs in Game 2 of the NLCS and robbed
In Game 4, as Dodger fans prepared to celebrate another home win and a 2-2 series tie in the NLCS, Victorino hit a game-tying two-run homer off
Finally, in the clinching Game 5, Victorino had a hit and two walks, and showed remarkable range in making a pair of impressive catches in the late innings that kept the Dodgers from climbing back in the game, and perhaps, the series.
"My dad always told me as a kid, and my parents always told me, always hustle," said Victorino, who has a franchise record 11 postseason RBI. "Being called a high-energy guy, I think that has a lot to do with just going out there and playing the game, basically 100 miles an hour, try to play the game hard. I like having fun. And I think that a lot of people know it. Everybody is always saying, 'Why are you always smiling?' I'm having fun. To have the opportunity to come out here every day, it's a lifelong dream and lifelong goal."
The irony is that Victorino's dream was to be wearing Dodger blue and his goal was to be playing centerfield at Dodger Stadium. Victorino was drafted by the Dodgers out of high school in the sixth round of the 1999 draft and was twice given up for grabs in the Rule V draft for $50,000. In 2002, the Padres chose him but eventually sent him back to the Dodgers, who couldn't give him away until the Phillies finally took a flier on him in late 2004.
Victorino, 27, rewarded the Phillies for the opportunity, earning the International League's MVP after batting .310 with career highs in hits (153), home runs (18) and RBI (70) at Triple-A Scranton.
Manuel kept close tabs on Victorino while he was away, often getting messages from Scranton manager
What Manuel quickly discovered was that he couldn't take Victorino out of the lineup and had to find way to get him on the field. The scrappy switch hitter that would often lose focus during spring training was leading the Phillies in sacrifices (8) and outfield assists (11) and did not commit an error all season in 2005. His performance allowed the Phillies to trade
"He's very, very, very full of energy," said Howard, who has struggled this postseason while watching Victorino lead the team in hits (9), total bases (20), steals (3) and RBI (11). "He's our little sparkplug. He's wirey, he's firey and he'll always go out there and make a big play. He will hit a triple or a double or do whatever it takes for us to win and he's not afraid to show his emotions out there."