Phillies honor Shane Victorino with ‘touching’ tribute
The middle of the fourth inning rolled around and the Bob Marley music blared throughout Citizens Bank Park. All eyes shifted to the left-field scoreboard and fans started to cheer.
The Phillies were honoring former outfielder Shane Vicorino with a tribute for his eight years of service and contributions during perhaps the most successful period in team history. Victorino, now a Red Sox, climbed to the top step of the visiting dugout and became transfixed by the scoreboard that was showing some of the most memorable moments of his life.
The personable Hawaiian watched the tribute among 38,831 of his closest friends with his trademark mile-wide smile plastered on his face. He waved and bowed, soaking in the 30 seconds or so of strong applause before disappearing into the visitors’ clubhouse. His night was over. Victorino is on the disabled list with a hamstring injury. His moment had passed, but not before creating one final memory to close out his impressive Phillies scrapbook.
“It was special. It’s very touching,” Victorino said after his Red Sox lost to the Phillies, 4-3. “I just thank the organization for allowing me to go out there and tip my cap to the fans and thank them. It brought back old memories. It was great. You talk about great times, history, a good part of Phillies history, that was very special to me and to a lot of players.”
The World Series-winning outfielder wasn’t so sure the evening would go down this way. There were times when he was loved for his skills and performances, like playoff homer that proceeded Matt Stairs’ blast against the Dodgers and his favorite all-time individual moment, the memorable playoff grand slam off Milwaukee’s C.C. Sabathia, the Phillies’ first-ever playoff grand slam.
But there were also times when his outgoing personality and careless base running infuriated the fan base. Victorino was eventually traded to the Dodgers last year with his contract set to expire at season’s end. Nobody seemed too disappointed at the time. He signed with the Red Sox this past offseason.
But when all was said and done, the curtain call Victorino received on Wednesday night spoke volumes. His time in Philadelphia will be remembered as a success. The Phillies made five playoff appearance, reached two World Series and won it all once. Victorino played 987 games and helped accrue a lot of wins for the organization that claimed him as a Rule 5 player from the Dodgers in 2004. “It was great to get an opportunity that you look back on and you’re like, ‘Wow, I did make an impact.’” he said. “You cherish those type of moments.” It’s not everyday that a returning player receives a standing ovation. These type of occasions are reserved for special players who left an indelible mark on the fans and the organization. Victorino, like Jim Thome and Pat Burrell before him, did just that. “Thome when he came back he got a pretty good ovation. But when you put yourself somewhere near that kind of guy and the kind of ovation he got and I got, it makes you feel special,” Victorino said. “Jim is a whole different type caliber player.” Maybe so. But as the video tribute reminded everyone at Citizens Bank Park, Victorino may have had an equivalent or even better Phillies career. At the very least, he created some of the best moments in Phillies history. The fans made sure to thank him for that on Wednesday night, and Victorino graciously accepted.