The 2008 Phandom 25: Chooch!

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Mon, January 19, 2009 10:46 PM | Comments: 20
2008 Phandom 25, Posts

Last year I wrote a series of posts chronicling 2007’s 20 greatest moments in Phillies Phandom. Each game had a special “wow” factor, whether it was an insane comeback, an awesome feat or a trademark moment. And each game was a Phillies win, of course.

For this year, clearly, you know the top moment. But ranking the rest was very difficult. Do I rank the NLCS second just because? Is the NL East clinching victory as important as other postseason moments? I used some heavy discretion, but I believe I came up with a pretty solid list.

Each moment has an attached video link, if you’d like to go back and reminisce.

Like the 100 Greatest Phillies countdown, I’ll be posting one per day. I swear, you won’t get any more countdowns this offseason.


5. Chooch’s chop
Date: October 25, 2008

Bases loaded. No outs. Ninth inning. Tie game. Game three of the World Series. Carlos Ruiz stood in the box, the biggest at bat of his life facing him.

A chop.

It just worked.

Eric Bruntlett slid in past Evan Longoria’s high throw, winning the game for the Phillies over the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-4. The Phils took a 2-1 lead in the series, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Bruntlett set up the rally after getting hit by a Chad Bradford pitch. JP Howell relieved him, but uncorked a wild pitch that sent Bruntlett to second. Dioner Navarro then tossed a wild throw into the outfield, and Bruntlett hurried to third. With the winning run 90 feet away, Rays manager Joe Maddon decided to walk the bases loaded and employ a five-man infield. But Carlos Ruiz beat the strategy. It ended a lengthy night, started by a three-hour rain delay. By the time the game ended, at 1:30 a.m., it was time to call it quits — even the celebrations felt hungover.

It should’ve never happened that way. The Phillies held a 4-1 lead in the seventh inning, thanks to three home runs and a groundout RBI. Ruiz, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard supplied the power, pushing the Phils very close to a 2-1 advantage without much of a fight. But starter Jamie Moyer got hosed. A Carl Crawford bunt attempt was expertly and beautifully played by a diving Moyer, and yet Crawford was incorrectly called safe on the play. It led to two groundout runs, pulling the Rays within one. Even worse, they scored the tying run off Ryan Madson in the eighth, thanks to an infield hit, two steals and a wild throw.

The Phillies had outplayed Tampa Bay all game. There was no way it could end poorly.

It didn’t. Ruiz channeled his inner Chooch, getting just enough of the bat on the ball to put it in play, creating a tough moment for Longoria, a still very green player participating in his first World Series. Ruiz played like a champion all series, swatting balls, handling the staff like gold. His little squib was the kind of play that typified the 2008 series — it sure wasn’t pretty, but it was clutch, and it got the job done.

Like the 2008 Phillies campaign, it just worked.

The video: Chooch wins it

From the comments:

Keith: RUIZ. our best hitter

Jeffrey: Three cheers for Jamie Moyer!

Dave: Ive never seen a WP on an IBB before….




RUIZ is Da Man!

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About Tim Malcolm

Tim Malcolm has written 1948 articles on Phillies Nation.

  • Posts: 0 Justin

    I was at that game and all i could say is wow, it was electric there that whole night. People give Philly crap because of the 3 hour rain delay but god just to be there and feel the electricity of this city and the feel to be in Citizens Bank Park in October in the WORLD SERIES no better feeling, it helped that it was a historic win. Historic in the sense that it was the first time either in history or in over 50 years that a game winning hit in a world series never left the infield.

  • Posts: 0 Jeffrey

    “Ruiz channeled his inner Chooch” — I love it. Let’s hope he figured it out and can do it next season like he did in the postseason last year. Chooch!

  • Posts: 0 Mike T.


  • Posts: 0 Richie

    I love choooch, I screamed his name at the games, I will continue to do so, but what position is in demand in the league that we have a somewhat surplus in the minors, and our starter in that position is never gonna be better than he is right now. Does anyone really think that Carlos Ruiz will do anything similar to this postseason. He can’t. Why not sell high on the guy? We gotta bring Marson(our untouchable at the deadline) up soon. Again I love the guy, but ya gottatake shots sometimes and don’t, please don’t give me that stupid cliche that he calls a good game. Please spare me.

  • Posts: 0 Jason B.

    Although I agree that chooch’s value is never higher than it was now. But, I would rather keep Ruiz for 2 more seasons and let Marson learn behind him. allow the pitchers to get comfortable with the rookie. Also, you are solely speaking on his offensive output. This lineup is stacked so an offensive catcher is not a priority. Chooch and keep the ball in front of him which is extremely important when you have a closer that throws a slider like lidge does. Also, defensivly he may not be gold glove caliber, but he is close.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    A baseball connoisseurs dream… maybe it wasn’t NY or Boston in the WS but it was a WS unlike any other. This game was absolutely remarkable. A fitting chapter in our book…

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I thought I read that Travis D’Arnuad was ranked higher as a Catching Prospect then Marson now??

    He would be a few years away, but if that is the case, that might make Marson trade bait.. keep Ruiz who already has a relationship with the pitching staff, hope he hits better, and trade one of your top prospects in Marson because you have a guy that could overtake him anyway..

    When was the last time we had a surplus of decent catching prospects?

  • Posts: 0 Richie

    Don, I’m just trying to stir the pot a little, but the truth of the matter is that when Marson’s name came up last summer, everyone was “ooh noo way” he’s the future, he’s on a fast track, etc… Now Carlos Ruiz has a good, I’ll give him a very good postseason, and now he’s Johnny Bench and not a career .235 hitter with a slightly above average glove.

  • Posts: 0 Richie

    I guess my point is, let’s see Marson, Donald, Carrasco, before we start placing the “untouchable” tag on them. Prospects are exactly that, they pan out about 30% of the time.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    Thus far, in the majors, Ruiz has proven to be an above average defensive catcher… I still think that he hasn’t found his stroke as a major leaguer BUT I do believe that he has a lot of offensive potential. He has always been an upward trend guy. His first year in AA, he hit .266 with 2 HR; his second year in AA he hit .284 with 17 HR (1 HR per 20 AB). His first year in AAA he hit .300 with 8 HR. His second year he hit .307 with 16 HR (1 HR per 23 AB). There is a huge learning curve for catchers… I mean, he has to learn how to catch major league pitching before he can devote time to learn how to hit ML pitching. He’s certainly not going to be Mike Piazza but it he can hit anywhere near those numbers in the major leagues, he’ll go down as one of the best catchers in franchise history.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Ruiz ALSO hit .300 in the minors like Marson… which I’ve pointed out before.. so there is no guarantee that Marson will hit anywhere near that in the majors.

    And.. Marson JUST overtook Jason Jaramillo last year as the top catching prospect in the organization.. and now, just one year later, some reports list a 19 year old (or 20?) Travis D’Arnaud as a higher prospect than Marson.. so how good is he really?

    I’m praying that he’s the best catcher of all time.. and that Jason Donald is an MVP.. but that is because I realize that “prospects” are just that, “prospects”… Homer Bailey, Micheal Bourn, Lastings Milledge, etc… but then sometimes you get Albert Pujols and Mike Piazza from the last rounds of the draft.

    Those are the reasons I’m NEVER going to be excited about getting 1st round draft pick when a player leaves… I’d rather have a prospect that is already in the minors and scouts have at least a little bit better chance to project where that player might peak

  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    I’m trying (unsuccessfully) to find the 2008 leaders for CERA (catcher’s ERA). I know that Ruiz was leading the National League in CERA through mid-September. To me, that’s a much more important stat than Ruiz’s batting average.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    Great minds thinking alike once again… agree with you 100%. People tend to overrate minor league prospects, however, they are extremely important (more so than draft picks). One more thing, touting our prospects is important… keep up the good work, guys (and gals).

    Don, do you think that Ruiz will be a 20-25 HR guy in the bigs or do you think that he’ll never be able to duplicate those minor league numbers (and that he’ll continue to be a good defensive catcher)? Do you think that we are better off with Ruiz or Marson?

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I think we’re better off with Ruiz… I doubt he’ll ever get 20-25 HR because he’s a groundball-to-line drive hitter.. who seems to have success spraying the ball to Right-Center. When he pulls it, that usually amount to him topping the ball and rolling over it to SS or 3b. I could see Ruiz getting 10-15 HRs at some point, but over that would be a reach.

    I’m very interested to see what Marson does at the AAA level, I know that his defense was pretty good, but I think he committed more errors than Ruiz .. and people were jumping all over Ruiz last year for not hitting, to which I kept replying that if you’re worried about the lack of offense from your #8-hole hitting catcher, you’ve got things all wrong.

    Ruiz was said to be going through lots of personal problems, a sick mother at home, and was said to often be in the hallway on the phone immediately before and after games, and was noticeably upset throughout the season. I think he’s very good defensively, not afraid to block the ball in the dirt, and seems to call a good game… If Marson is better, that would be cool, because Ruiz is far from the best catcher in baseball.. but until we see that from Marson, we should stop appointing him Savior.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    Defense is far more important behind the plate… Ruiz is above average defensively and anything he gives us offensively is icing on the cake. With that being said, I think that Ruiz is going to end up being a pretty good hitter… it might not be in April or May or even this year but I think that, eventually, he’s going to start hitting. He is a very coachable player and he has great focus. Like you said, he has had to deal with a lot of distractions, but I don’t doubt that once he’s able to devote time to perfecting his craft, he will succeed in every aspect of the game. For now, his defense and ability to call a game is worth more than a few extra points of batting average in the 8 hole.

  • Posts: 0 Jason B.

    Has anyone else heard the Boston Globe report over the weekend that the Phils are looking into Ben Sheetz? I wouldn’t touch his injury laden arm with a ten foot pole!

  • Posts: 0 Jason B.

    Although, Hamels, Myers, Sheetz, Moyer, Park sounds like a very solid rotation… Maybe I’ll recall my statement prior to this and say, see what he’s asking…

  • Posts: 0 Richie

    Even better Hamels, Myers, Sheets, Blanton, Moyer.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I heard someone mention the Phillies interest in Sheets.. though I never saw where that came from. From what I can tell, the Mets are interested in an incentive-laden deal.. Sheets thinks he deserves the money since he pitched 198 innings last year. The Rangers were in on him early, and the Brewers were interested in bringing him back, not sure what happened with either of those teams. I really can’t see Sheets coming here

  • Posts: 0 Jason B.

    oops, how could I leave out Fat Joe!?!

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