Actions spoke louder than words when Shane Victorino sat at his locker an hour after suffering the loss in the final game of the NLDS.
The diminutive Phillies center fielder, who refused to speak while trying to digest the mind-numbing defeat, ripped up his family’s NLCS and World Series tickets, which were as worthless as MySpace.
The Flyin’ Hawaiian finally shared his thoughts four days after the Phillies’ season abruptly ended last Friday night.
“This was the hardest to swallow,” Victorino said. “This team was special.”
Victorino used the correct tense as GM Ruben Amaro noted that a number of the team’s free agents are unlikely to come back. Victorino is keenly aware that some of his friends probably sported red pinstripes for the last time.
“I’ve played with Jimmy [Rollins] since 2005 and with [Ryan] Madson since 2005,” Victorino said. “With Raul [Ibanez] the last three seasons and with Brad Lidge, too. I don’t want to lose Jimmy but we realize this is a business.”
All or some of those players will be gone when camp breaks in Clearwater next year. Victorino believes the Phillies current group of talent can win it all and that the drive remains, particularly with him.
“The hunger is still there,” Victorino said.
Victorino, who is the Phillies’ most colorful interview, grew more animated as he spoke. It was apparent how much the disappointing season hurt him. He repeatedly called the 2011 Phillies, which set a regular-season record with 102 wins, “a special team.” He failed to call the squad another nickname.
“I never use the word Dream Team,” Victorino said. “I know the team across the way [Eagles] used that and I don’t want to be compared in that regard to being a Dream Team, but I think this team was special.”
This Phillies squad, which won the NL East by 13 games, was special. It led the majors in wins, featured an awe-inspiring rotation and finished games with one of the best closers this season. It was a special unit — until it reached the playoffs.