When the Phillies were in Washington near the end of the season, I was standing on the field with Philadelphia general manager Pat Gillick, watching Matt Stairs blast one pitch after another into the right field seats at Nationals Park during batting practice. Gillick was talking about how to build a team to compete for the postseason —- a mixture of home grown products, key trades and the piece you pick up at the end that play a role.
Monday night, Stairs, acquired in a trade just a few days before my conversation with Gillick, was the piece that delivered Monday with with a two-run home run for a 7-5 Phillies win over the Dodgers to take a 3-1 lead in the National League Championship Series. Stairs, for you Nationals fans, was signed as a free agent by the Expos in 1989 and played a handful of games for the franchise in 1992 and 1993, along with the 10 other major league teams he has played for over his career.
Any given Monday
As if the Rams 19-17 win over the Redskins on Sunday didn’t already change the perception of the schedule ahead for Washington, the Cleveland Browns stunning 35-14 win over the powerful New York Giants Monday night has put everyone on notice — there are no creampuffs in the NFL this year. Now the Redskins upcoming game agains the Browns becomes far more uncertain, as does this three-game stretch that was seen as a nap for the team, going to Detroit the following Sunday to face the Lions.
I have a theory why it truly is an “Any Given Sunday,” or in this case, Monday, league this year. No one is videotaping anyone. After the Patroits Spygate scandal last season, everyone put the cameras down.
Roast a pig
Any Washington sports fan that would delight in seeing a Baltimore sportswriter roasted to the bone should come to the Baltimore Comedy Factory above Burkes Restaurant at Light and Lombard streets in Charm City on Wednesday night to see Baltimore Sun sports columnist and blogger Peter Schmuck raked over the coals.
Tickets are $25, and it is for a good cause — the Cool Kids Campaign, part of the Belanger/Federico Foundation that helps kids who are hospitalized and being treated for cancer.
For more information, call the Cool Kids Campaign at 410-560-1770. Doors open at 7:30 p.m, and the roasting starts at 8 p.m. Radio I will be on The Sports Reporters on ESPN 980 AM on Friday, Oct. 17, from 5 to 7 p.m.
To learn more about Thom Loverro, go to www.thomloverro.com