CC Sabathia

Brett Myers' walk against CC Sabathia was an all-time Philly sports moment

Brett Myers' walk against CC Sabathia was an all-time Philly sports moment

I was sitting in section 110 at Citizens Bank Park when the Phillies won the 2008 World Series. It’s a moment I’ll never forget. “They actually did it,” I remember thinking. It was a truly remarkable feeling.

It was the first championship I ever witnessed a team from Philadelphia pull off.

But if you asked me what the most memorable play that I witnessed in person from that run was, my answer probably wouldn’t be from Game 5 against the Tampa Bay Rays. Or even from any of the three World Series games I attended in South Philly that series.

That’s because Brett Myers drew a walk.

NBC Sports Philadelphia will re-air Game 2 of the 2008 NLDS against the Milwaukee Brewers this evening and I’ll get to watch Shane Victorino take CC Sabathia deep for a legendary grand slam once again.

But it was all made possible by the Phillies' starting pitcher working a remarkable at-bat against the Brewers' ace that had the 46,208 screaming fans at Citizens Bank Park going ballistic.

"Myers looked like a woodchopper as he fouled off pitches to prolong the at-bat and the full house loved it. The crowd and the length of the at-bat clearly weighed on Sabathia because he walked the next batter, Jimmy Rollins, on four pitches to load the bases,” is how Jim Salisbury described it today. My memory is pretty similar, but from the vantage point of the second row in the third level in right field where I was sitting with my dad and friend Matt.

One of the aspects of sports that makes it such a joy is its unpredictability. Myers shouldn’t have stood a chance against Sabathia, and yet with each fouled-off pitch, the roar of the crowd grew, the white rally towels waving higher.

And the chants. How can you forget the chants?!

“CEEEEE! CEEEEE! … CEEEEEE! CEEEEEE!”

Man, that sure was fun. One of the most joyous moments of being a Philly sports fan I've experienced.

“Most f******g insane [stuff],” Matt texted me yesterday when reminiscing.

“SHANE.”

That’s all that needed to be said. No questions asked.

I took out my camera prior to the seventh pitch of the Myers' at-bat and started recording. My favorite part of the video is the laughing at what we were witnessing. So rewatch the TV broadcast of the 2008 NLDS tonight but enjoy the view from the crowd once more below. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Phillies

An entertaining 2008 Phillies win and a visit with Shane Victorino's proud father

An entertaining 2008 Phillies win and a visit with Shane Victorino's proud father

Game 2 of the National League Division Series — which will be re-aired on NBC Sports Philadelphia on Tuesday night — was one of the most entertaining of the Phillies' 2008 World Series championship run.

A roaring crowd of 46,208 — the largest ever at Citizens Bank Park to that point — watched the Phillies beat the Milwaukee Brewers, 5-2, to go up two games to none in the series.

The Phillies scored all of their runs in the second inning against Milwaukee ace CC Sabathia, who had previously been spectacular, going 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 17 starts after joining the Crew in a mid-season trade with Cleveland.

Phillies starting pitcher Brett Myers helped make it an entertaining night for the fans when he worked Sabathia for an unforgettable nine-pitch walk to keep the second inning alive.

Myers looked like a woodchopper as he fouled off pitches to prolong the at-bat and the full house loved it. The crowd and the length of the at-bat clearly weighed on Sabathia because he walked the next batter, Jimmy Rollins, on four pitches to load the bases.

As important as Myers' remarkable showdown against Sabathia was in Game 2, it was not the most memorable moment of the game for these eyes.

That would come two batters after Myers' walk, one batter after Rollins' walk, when Shane Victorino stepped to the plate and launched a dramatic grand slam to cap a five-run inning.

In my mind's eye, I can still see Victorino pick up that 1-2 pitch, a sweeping breaking ball, out of Sabathia's hand.

I can still see him turn on the pitch and sprint around the bases to the thunderous reaction of the crowd.

And I can still see him cross home plate and point to his dad in the stands.

"I saw it," Mike Victorino said that night. "I was tearing up."

Mike Victorino had flown all day from Hawaii and arrived in Philadelphia just a couple of hours before the game.

A few innings after his son's grand slam, I wandered down into the stands and found him.

Shane had a big night, three extra-base hits, including the decisive one, in the Phillies' win and Mike Victorino was thrilled to be in the house for it all.

"Shane had a fabulous night," Mike Victorino, wearing a red Phillies cap, said that night. "I'm so happy and proud to be here and share in this with him.''

After the grand slam, Mike pulled out his cell phone and called his wife back home in Maui. Jocelyn Victorino could not make the game because of a work commitment, but she saw her son's heroics on television.

"I didn't make a reservation until (the day before)," Mike said that night. "I wasn't sure if I was coming. Mom said, 'You go.' She hopes the Phillies make the next round so she can be here."

Cole Hamels was that October's MVP, Brad Lidge was perfect, and Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard were the best ever at their positions in Phillies history. But that great Phillies team was loaded with key complementary talent — players like Victorino, Jayson Werth, Carlos Ruiz, Ryan Madson, Matt Stairs and others — and the title doesn't happen without them.

Victorino was 27 when the Phillies won the World Series in 2008. The Phils were his third organization. He was basically rejected by the Dodgers and Padres before landing in Philadelphia and becoming an All-Star.

"Shane was always one of the smallest guys, but he always worked hard to be as good as the bigger guys," Mike Victorino said that night. "He was never the automatic first pick. He always had great stick-to-it-iveness.''

On that happy October 2008 night, Mike Victorino could not say enough about how much the Phillies and the city of Philadelphia meant to him and his son.

"I like this town for him," Mike Victorino said. "It's a blue-collar town and we're blue-collar people. Our family has worked in the pineapple and sugar cane industry. My other son is a longshoreman. This has been a great place for Shane.

"His mom and I feel like he's really matured and blossomed here. People ask me what I think of his career and I tell them he has put it together because the Philadelphia Phillies gave him a chance.

"In our hearts, Shane's mom and I thank the Phillies for giving him a chance, and we thank this town for supporting our son."

In later years, Shane Victorino gave back to the city of Philadelphia. He made a generous donation to the Boys and Girls club in the Nicetown section of North Philadelphia and the facility now bears his name.

Interesting little note about Victorino's heroics in Game 2: He batted sixth the day before in Game 1 of the series. In Game 2, he batted second. Manager Charlie Manuel liked the way Victorino swung the bat from the right side against hard-throwing lefties like Sabathia so he adjusted the lineup. Two doubles and a grand slam later, Manuel looked like a savant and the Phillies had a commanding lead in the series.

Check it out Tuesday night on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Subscribe and rate the Phillies Talk podcast:
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Spotify / Stitcher / Art19 / YouTube

More on the Phillies

Phillies had 2 massive extra advantages in 2008 NLDS vs. Brewers

Phillies had 2 massive extra advantages in 2008 NLDS vs. Brewers

You need a lot to break right to win a championship in any sport but particularly in baseball, where we routinely see the best team fail to win it all. It doesn't matter how you've performed in the preceding six months and 162 games, any team is susceptible to a bad week in October.

The 2008 Phillies were not the favorite to win the World Series when that postseason began. They had won 92 games with a prolific offense. The Cubs won 97, and in the AL, the Red Sox, Rays and Angels all won 95-plus.

The teams with the two best records in baseball that year (Angels at 100-62, Cubs at 97-64), were dispatched quickly in the playoffs, with the Cubs suffering a sweep to the Dodgers in the NLDS and the Angels going down in four games to the Red Sox in the ALDS.

Who knows how much differently the 2008 playoffs would have gone for the Phillies if they drew the Cubs or Dodgers in the NLDS, or the Red Sox instead of the Rays in the World Series. It obviously doesn't matter because reality > hypotheticals, but that 2008 postseason was a good example of timing being everything.

The 2008 Phillies were a better team than the 2008 Brewers, but they also had two huge benefits in that series beyond home-field advantage. Those benefits were the Brewers' top two starting pitchers.

CC Sabathia was the blockbuster trade acquisition in '08. The Brewers acquired him on July 7, three weeks before the deadline, and he dominated for more than two months. In 17 starts with Milwaukee, Sabathia went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. Ridiculously, he pitched seven complete games with three shutouts in those 17 starts.

But by the time the postseason began, Sabathia was spent. His start against the Phillies in Game 2 of the NLDS was his fifth straight start on short rest. Four days earlier, Sabathia had thrown 122 pitches in a complete game.

It was clear pretty early in that game that Sabathia was not the pitcher he was down the stretch, and Phillies fans will never forget the second inning. (We will explore the famous nine-pitch Brett Myers walk and Shane Victorino grand slam in more depth Tuesday.)

The other advantage the Phillies had was that the Brewers' rock that year, Ben Sheets, found out at the end of the regular season that he needed Tommy John surgery and would be unable to pitch in the playoffs. Sheets, who had a 3.24 ERA in 128 starts from 2004-08 and was a four-time All-Star, never ended up making a postseason start. 

Had he been healthy, Sheets would have started Game 1 for the Brewers ahead of Sabathia. Instead, that Game 1 start went to Yovani Gallardo, who had torn his ACL on May 1 and was unable to return until the final week of the regular season. 

Gallardo went on to have a decent 12-year career but he wasn't ready for that big moment in enemy territory in '08. The Phillies scored three runs off of him (unearned because of a Rickie Weeks error), and that was plenty of run support for Cole Hamels.

The Phillies clearly benefitted from the Brewers' starting pitching situation that October, but that doesn't discredit the business they took care of. In the NLDS, Prince Fielder went 1 for 14 (.071). Ryan Braun, who would go on to become a career Phillie-killer, had just an OK series, reaching base in five of 17 plate appearances and going hitless with runners in scoring position until his final at-bat of the series, an RBI single with the Phillies up five runs in their Game 4 clincher.

The Brewers hit just .206/.271/.254 as a team in that series with one home run against the Phils.

The re-airs of the Phillies' entire 2008 playoff run begin tonight on NBC Sports Philadelphia. The NLDS runs this week from Monday-Thursday, followed by the NLCS next week and the World Series the week after.

Subscribe and rate the Phillies Talk podcast:
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Spotify / Stitcher / Art19 / YouTube

More on the Phillies