Shane Victorino's grand slam won the American League Championship Series, which pits the Boston Red Sox against the St. Louis Cardinals in this season's World Series. Most Philadelphia Phillies' fans were happy to see the 'Flyin' Hawaiian' push that familiar postseason clutch one more time this fall.
The 32-year-old veteran was a key component of the Phillies' five-year (2007-2011) playoff run. One of his more fall dramatic moments took place during that iconic 2008 season.
Victorino's bottom-of-the-second grand slam against Milwaukee Brewers starter C.C. Sabathia put the home team ahead 5-1. A balanced bullpen didn't relinquish that lead as Philadelphia took a 2-0 advantage in the National League Division Series before closing out the Brewers in Game 4.
General manager Ruben Amaro, Junior's trade of his starting center fielder to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 31, 2012 seemed like a smart move at the time. With Victorino heading toward free agency and another large payday, it appeared as though it was best to exchange a potentially diminishing asset for new inventory.
It's easy to second-guess this decision, especially when this always-energetic player appears to still be in the prime of his career. However, clear baseball minds know that Victorino finally agreed to only bat from the right side of the plate this season. That choice clearly is connected to why he was able to reverse a descending two-year statistical tide.
Still one of the better fielders in the league, the current Red Sox right fielder finds himself serving once again as a valued piston inside a humming baseball machine.