Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Why Matt Stairs Is My Hero.

File this one under:

Sure, Jimmy Rollins might have been the real hero of last night's game 4 win for the Phillies, but after reading some of the post-game write-ups I think Matt Stairs just might be my new favorite baseball player.  My anti-Chipper Jones, so to speak.  

For those who missed it, Stairs came in with one out in the ninth inning, drew a four-pitch walk, and then was promptly lifted for a pinch runner.  The exact sort of at-bat that heros are made of, my friends.  Alright, who am I kidding... that's not why Stairs is my hero.  He's my new favorite player because of what he said after the game.  (Quotes below taken from Jayson Stark's article on ESPN.com.)

"As I was standing in that batter's box," he went on, "I had one thing in mind -- and that was going for that Budweiser sign (which hangs from the facing of the second deck in right field). But then again, that doesn't change -- against anybody."  
Come on people, who doesn't love a guy who goes to the plate with one goal in mind... hit the Budweiser sign?  I'm not sure if this would be better if he's aiming for the Budweiser sign because the man can throw down some Steveweisers like it's hit job, or if he's aiming for the sign because he hates InBev and all that the beer conglomerate stands for, or maybe he's just aiming for that specific sign because it happens to be deep in rightfield and Stairs is a dead-pull lefty.  It doesn't really matter, because either way when the game is on the line and he digs into the batters box, Matt Stairs is thinking about beer.  Amen, Mr. Stairs. 

But he's not done. 
"I'm just glad he didn't throw me a 3-and-0 fastball [over the plate]," Stairs said, chuckling to himself, "because I was gonna swing as hard as I can and see what happens. I've never turned down a fastball, and I never will. I'll be swinging at fastballs till I'm 50. They might be slow-pitch fastballs, but I'll be swinging at them."
You have to admire a guy who knows what he wants.  And Stairs wants fastballs.  Lots and lots of fastballs.  And the best part about this quote is that I can see someone like Matt Stairs playing in a BREC slow-pitch softball league in his 50s crushing slow-pitch fastballs 187' over the right-field fence, then skipping the home-run trot (they don't want you to waste time running the bases) and heading straight to the dugout to shotgun a few Buds.  That's right Matt Stairs, in slow-pitch softball, drinking in the dugout is more or less a part of the game.  If that doesn't get you excited for your inevitable retirement from MLB, I don't know what will.  Just for the love of Jesus man, try not to hit any screaming liners up the middle.

And as if all that wasn't enough to convince you that Matt Stairs is the coolest man in baseball, check out this t-shirt!  I want one, put it on my Christmas list.

 Three other fun facts from last night's games: that was only the third time in MLB post-season history that a team had a walk-off extra-base hit to come from behind while down to their last out (while playing in an open-air stadium, against a right-handed pitcher, blah blah blah...); the pitch Rollins hit for the walk-off double was the fastest pitch he'd seen all season; if Rollins had just stopped at first (because really, with two outs, he didn't matter at all at that point) then fun fact #1 would be irrelevant. 

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