Los Angeles Dodgers third-baseman Juan Uribe hit what for most MLBers would be a career-defining homer last night in Game Four of L.A.'s NLDS series against the Atlanta Braves. With the Dodgers trailing 3-2 and a man on second in the eighth, Uribe lifted a no-doubter (based on his own reaction, anyway) to left off Braves reliever David Carpenter, giving the Braves a 4-3 lead that closer Kenley Jansen would nail down in the ninth. And that's all she wrote for Atlanta, as Big Blue now heads to the NLCS with their 3-1 series victory.
To Phillies fans, certain elements of that story will feel eerily, disconcertingly familiar. This is, of course, because a similar story was written about Juan Uribe after the deciding game of the Phillies-Giants NLCS in 2010, when Juan Uribe lifted a Ryan Madson pitch just over the right-field fence of CBP in the eighth inning, giving the G-Men a 3-2 lead that they would hold for the next two innings. It went a little something like this:
[mlbvideo id="12901485" width="400" height="224" /]
This was the loss that irritated me the most of any the Phillies suffered in their five consecutive playoff appearances from 2007 to 2011, the one that a large part of me still refuses to accept. Mostly it was because I'll always believe the Phils were the far superior of the two teams in that series, as evidenced by the guys that did most of the damage for San Fran, seemingly none of whom were even on the team a year later. Cody Ross? Andres Torres? JUAN FRIGGIN' URIBE? I figured for sure that the homer would be Uribe's last notable moment in baseball before washing out entirely, further irritating me with its staggering unlikeliness.
It probably should be of some comfort, then, that he's actually held on to be pretty important for the Dodgers three years after his series-deciding blast. He hit .278 with 12 homers and a 117 OPS+ for LA this season, and more surprisingly for the stocky 33-year-old, was worth nearly two wins with his glove at third base, according to Baseball-Reference. (In fact, Uribe's overall WAR of 4.1 for the year was the highest of his 13-year career.)
And now this. Catharsis of some sort, I suppose, though nothing that makes you relive the events of that awful Saturday night in October 2010 can ever really be considered a worthwhile experience. At least it came at the expense of the Braves this time.
Plus, dude knows how to celebrate a game-winning homer. Got to give him that.
(.gif courtesy of @Kazuto_Yamakazi)