Friday, June 18, 2004

A Royal Pain

Kudos to the Inquirer's Jim Salisbury for not taking the easy way out in previewing the Phils-Royals series that begins tonight at Citizens Bank Park. Rather than filing a by-the-numbers profile, as the Daily News's Paul Hagen does today, Salisbury writes of Dickie Noles's role in turning the tide of the 1980 World Series. Noles's knockdown of Kansas City's George Brett in Game 4 has been cited as a seminal moment, one that emphasized the Phils' unity in the face of adversity and cemented their destiny as that year's champions.

Both Noles and Brett discount such talk, but it's hard to deny the emotional impact of watching a future Hall of Famer get dusted by a young no-name mopping up in long relief. I remember watching Royals manager Jim Frey bolt out of his dugout and yap with the home plate umpire in protest, and I remember Pete Rose, in one of his finest moments as a Phillie, telling Frey, in essence, to sit his ass back down on the bench. I also recall Brett standing off to the side, waiting for the rhubarb to end, an almost amused look on his face. Salisbury's evocative and well-reported story is well worth reading.


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