I really hope Shane Victorino makes it to the All-Star Game next week in St. Louis.
There, I said it. In fact, I told Victorino as much before Monday night’s game against the Reds. Of course I told him this after I busted his stones about Pablo Sandoval having far superior statistics and that the Giants’ rookie really suffered an injustice when he wasn’t named to the National League squad.
“It ain’t about numbers anymore,” Victorino said. “It’s a popularity contest.”
He has that right, but then again it’s always been a popularity contest. But my motives for Victorino getting to St. Louis are completely selfish. Oh sure, Victorino is as worthy of an All-Star nod as anyone in the league. Though his numbers don’t pop off the page, they are above average and he has been a consistent cog for a team that has been wildly inconsistent.
But I told Vic that I hope he gets there even after he explained how he spent Monday afternoon going door-to-door along Oregon Avenue with Mayor Michael Nutter. Of course he had to endure more teasing about the mayor of Philadelphia taking time out of his busy day to help him get to the All-Star Game.
“What, are you going to go help him with his budget deficit after the game? You’re doing all of this just to spend three days in St. Louis?”
Victorino knew why guys like me want him in St. Louis. He understands the media-player dynamic and has seen how stodgy and scripted ballplayers are in press situations. It’s like they are coached to be as uninteresting as possible, which is no fun for anyone.
Nope, there is no altruism about wanting Victorino to get to the All-Star Game and he knew it.
“You just want me to do something bleeping stupid at the All-Star Game,” he said.
Oh, but it was much more than that. Certainly if Vic were to “do something bleeping stupid,” it would be very entertaining. In fact, it was a blast to see him in the World Baseball Classic and the madness he must have spewed into the notebooks of the scribes covering those games. However, if Victorino were to get to St. Louis there would actually be someone (gasp!) to talk to. That’s downright revolutionary in this age of verbosity.
Besides, the other Phillies in St. Louis won’t be free to cut loose like Victorino. Chase Utley doesn’t have much to say unless he’s dropping F-bombs before large crowds and Ryan Howard will be in his hometown and surely will have a limited amount of time to hang around and chat. Manager Charlie Manuel likely will only be able to offer official comments from a podium or to the right’s holders, though we’re pretty sure Chuck will offer up some nuggets to the hometown scribes.
Charlie is good like that.
Nevertheless, it’s Victorino who might be the go-to guy. Hey, the guy just can’t help himself. Here’s an example of that:
After Game 3 of the NLCS at Dodger Stadium last October, I waited out Victorino. Taking his time to emerge from the off-limits areas, Victorino knew media types wanted to ask him about the bench-clearing incident with Hiroki Kuroda. Word had been sent out that he wasn’t going to talk about it, but c’mon. We all knew how he was.
So when he walked over to his locker in that old visitors’ clubhouse in Los Angeles, I kind of held up my palms, shrugged my shoulders and said, “Yo Shane, what’s up?”
“What’s up with what?”
“You know what I’m talking about.”
“I’m not talking about it.”
That’s when he talked about it for 15 minutes.
Hey, the guy just can’t help himself and bygolly, get this guy to the All-Star Game so we have someone to talk to.
And just to be sure, I won’t cast a vote for Victorino. I’ll root for him to get there, but won’t cross the line to actually cast a vote.
Besides, have you seen Sandoval’s numbers? How did he get left off the roster?
Oh yeah, has anyone seen the big No. 8 on the big Amtrak building next to 30th Street Station? Obviously the city is rallying to try and get Victorino that trip to St. Louis, but what about the guys who actually made the team already? Charlie, Utley, Howard and Raul Ibanez are in… where’s their building?