Featured Cards: 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter’s #160, Shane Victorino; 2008 Upper Deck Phillies World Series Champions #PHILLY
The recent lackluster play of the Phillies over the past few weeks is one of many reasons why I have taken a short break from the almost manic updates to the Phillies Online Database. The last five seasons greatly spoiled me, and though I knew that the streak would eventually come to a depressing end, the suddenness of the Phillies collapse this season took me completely off-guard. I knew that regression to the mean was a quickly rising probability with any rapidly-aging club, and I was prepared to see the Phillies’ record decline quite a bit this year. However, the season has far exceeded any worse case scenario I envisioned as realistic back in March.
So, the Phillies are now doing what any team in their position should try to do: retool for next year. Sadly, that means trading long-standing members of the team like Shane Victorino. It might be hard to recall now, but Shane almost wasn’t a Phillie. After taking him in the Rule 5 Draft, the Phillies decided that they didn’t want to put him on the Major League roster, which meant they had to offer him back to San Diego. The Padres refused, which meant the Phillies got to keep him anyway. The rest was amazingly fortunate history. The Phillies run over the past five years does not happen without Victorino, and while trading him was the sensible move for the team now, that doesn’t make it any easier to say good-bye.
Shane provided a few moments that have become indelibly etched in my mind, but the biggest one, by far, was captured on the 51st card of the 2008 Upper Deck World Series Champions Box Set. I don’t remember anymore if he was already being called “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” before this moment, but regardless of when it was applied to him, there’s no picture that better captures the spirit with which he played while with the Phillies.
I’m sad to see him go and equally sad for what his departure in such a manner represents. Of course, I will root against him whenever he’s facing the Phillies, and seeing him in Dodger blue will take getting used to — even though that might only be a two-month cameo. Nonetheless, like Pat Burrell before him, I wish Shane nothing but the best of luck in the future, and am grateful for his role in shaping the Golden Age of Phillies Baseball.