In a weird narrative circle, the two teams the Phillies played in the 1980 post season are now playing each other. That's actually not that weird. But last night, Game Four of the Astros-Royals ALDS played out in a weird parallel - on the exact same day on which it occurred 35 years ago.
Funny, ESPN Classic played Astros blowing lead in 8th, losing to Phillies in 1980 NLCS as real time Astros lost to Royals in similar fashion— Glenn Guilbeau (@LSUBeatTweet) October 12, 2015
If parallel universes across time exist, then today, somewhere, the 1980 Phillies were beating the Astros in the eighth inning all over again.
Houston was taking a 5-2 lead late into the game, with a young man named Nolan Ryan entrusted to hold it. There were no safe bets in this series, however, and little did the Hall of Fame Robin Ventura-puncher know, but the Phillies were about to trim his ego.
The inning started with a three-hit singles barrage, loading the bases with no outs - two of which didn't leave the infield thanks to Bob Boone's (???) infield single and a bunt single by former Phillies hitting coach Greg Gross. The thunderous rally continued with a Pete Rose walk and a Bobby Keith "Zonk" Moreland ground out. Del Unser prolonged the Houston nightmare with a run-scoring single, and then Manny Trillo wore out Harry Kalas' voice.
Those Phillies went on to, among other things, watch Dickie Noles try to murder George Brett.
Today, the Astros entered the eighth leading the Royals 6-2. Between the moment Salvador Perez's foot touched the plate after his first inning two-run bash and the beginning of the eighth frame, the Astros had tried to homer the Royals into submission, seeing round trippers from the jubilant Carlos Gomez, the unfathomable Colby Rasmus, and the repetitive Carlos Correa, who hit two. Correa added a RBI double as well, accounting for all six of the Astros attacks.
That left Kansas City in a four-run hole, and with the eighth inning happening whether or not they wanted it to, they all gathered in the clubhouse for a quick four-hour video session*.
"This is how a real team wins games," Ned Yost roared at his squad, and the Astros waited patiently on the field while the offense watched an entire, seemingly unrelated baseball game.
Reinvigorated, the Royals ran into the dugout screaming, some of them wielding large knives, successfully hiding them behind their backs whenever the camera was on them. From that point forward, the Royals were so jacked and the Astros so unnerved that celebrating the anniversary of Houston's earlier playoff implosion became inevitable.
Six Royals had come to the plate before Mike Moustakas struck out, making the inning's first out. By then, Kansas City had struck with a singles barrage of their own (five straight, beating the Phillies' three) followed by a bunt - not unlike Gross' - that turned into a fielding error. Again, an RBI ground-out similar to Moreland's kept the rally going, with the Royals now leading 7-6, and all the Astros could do was gasp.
Once again, the 2015 playoffs invoke an inevitable mention of the Phillies. It's almost as if the playoffs want or need the Phillies; calling to them, reaching out to the Phillies even though they aren't there.
Shh, shhhh. It's all right, playoffs. We shall soon return. WE SHALL SOON RETURN.
Anyways, nobody even tried throttle anyone else in the Mets-Dodgers game, reminding that baseball can be disappointing for people other than the Astros.
*EDITOR'S NOTE: Starting here the accuracy of this post is grossly called into question.