Seriously, Matt Stairs?
That’s what you’re asking yourself if you’re a Los Angeles Dodgers fan.
Against a lineup with the likes of Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Pat Burrell, you get beat by 40-year old Matt Stairs?
No one could have seen this coming. Well, no one besides Hickey’s cousin Charlie, who stated “The shit’s about to hit the fan” as Stairs waddled towards the plate from the on-deck circle.
With Game Four of the NLCS tied 5-5 in the top of the 8th inning, Dodgers reliever extraordinaire Jonathan Broxton grooved a fastball right down the middle of the plate, and Stairs summoned his inner Jim Leyritz absolutely crushing the pitch into the right field seats for a two-run eventual game-winning home run.
In 16 seasons, Stairs has hit 254 career home runs.
It was his first career postseason home run.
It was also the first homer Broxton has allowed at Dodger Stadium since July 2006 (Joe Buck only mentioned it nine times).
Stairs is the leading active home run leader, who has never played in an All-Star Game.
You can’t make this stuff up. The trivial tidbits just keep on coming. Why? Because it’s Matt Freaking Stairs.
“I try to swing for the fences and that’s what it’s been my whole career,” Stairs said after the game. “Get up there, don’t get cheated and swing as hard as I can.”
It’s not as if Stairs can’t hit the baseball. He made his name with the A’s, where he finished 17th in the voting for MVP in 1999 when he hit 38 home runs and knocked in 102 runs.
But the dude only had 17 at-bats for the Phillies during the regular season after coming over in a trade from the Blue Jays on August 30.
He’s the definition of journeyman. Stairs has played for the Expos, Red Sox, A’s, Cubs, Brewers, Pirates, Royals, Rangers, Tigers, Blue Jays, and now the Phillies.
In June 1993, he was bought by the Chunichi Dragons only to return to Montreal in December.
People who follow baseball know Matt Stairs. Though I’m not sure anyone besides Blue Jays fans even knew he was still in the league – four years ago.
But he’s been in the majors since 1992.
Let’s put that in perspective:
That was the year Boris Yeltsin said he would stop targeting U.S. cities with nuclear weapons.
The Redskins and Mark Rypien beat the Bills in Super Bowl XXVI.
George H.W. Bush lost his bid for a second term to Bill Clinton.
The English Premier League officially started.
Sir Mix-A-Lot gave us his lovely ballad on large assed women with “Baby Got Back.”
EuroDisney opened in Paris.
Rodney King became a household name.
Jay Leno took over for Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show.”
Amy Fisher shot Mary Jo Buttafuoco.
Anna Chlumsky and Macaulay Culkin won Best Kiss at the MTV Movie Awards for their liplock in “My Girl.”
It’s been a while. That’s why it’s so easy to be happy for Stairs. Unless, of course, if you’re a Los Angeles Dodgers fan.
A Canadian, Stairs coaches high school hockey in Maine during the offseason. Along with Larry Walker, Stairs is the only Canadian to hit 200 career home runs, which reminds me of a quote Walker said when asked what it felt like to be known as the best Canadian baseball player: “That’s like being the world’s tallest midget.”
On Monday, Matt Stairs was a giant.
Bravo, and it means we are all one game closer to putting Manny Ramirez in the rearview mirror.