It’s not often that a walk-off single in early September against the Marlins delivers the same kind of intensity you’d see in a decisive playoff game, but Jean Segura and the Phillies really needed this one. Though the Brewers have also been cold and thus haven’t done much to try and steal their wild card slot, Philadelphia had nevertheless managed just one win out of their last seven heading into Tuesday night (and not even against good competition—the Pirates, D-Backs, and Giants). Even if making the playoffs is easier than ever, they were going to have to reverse that momentum eventually if they wanted to avoid a depressing end to their year.
The Marlins offense delivered yet another anemic performance, scoring fewer than three runs for the ninth game in a row, but the Phillies also couldn’t string any hits together, and the score was 2-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth when the home team caught a break. Bryce Harper looped a high fly ball off the end of his bat toward the left field line and glumly trotted toward first. But instead of making the second out of the inning, Miami outfielder Brian Anderson—who’d already gotten unlucky earlier when a blocking-the-plate call negated an awesome assist on a sacrifice fly—slipped and fell trying to catch it. A revitalized Harper ended up just barely safe at second.
From there, the Marlins intentionally walked J.T. Realmuto to get a force at any base and found themselves face to face with a pissed-off Segura, who felt disrespected by their desire to face him with the winning run in scoring position. Tommy Nance first threw him a slider that dipped way out of reach in the dirt, but when he couldn’t get the same action on a repeat pitch that hung in the zone. Segura slapped it into right, Harper scored, and the Phillies had their victory.
Segura let out a ton of pent-up frustration with that game-winning swing, and you can see it all during his multifaceted celebration. Most notable is the bat flip, which is so spectacularly high that it couldn’t even be captured by one camera. You can see a little bit of its peak, even, when the shot cuts to the field after the hit, but here’s the closest thing to a complete version. Note the quick glance to ensure that he’s not about to Krist Novoselic himself:
“They keep walking people in front of me, and I’m angry,” Segura said after the game. “How high was it? Did you guys see it? Maybe I’m the first player ever to throw the bat up that high.”
But it wasn’t just the bat that got flipped. With his teammates around him on the first-base line, Segura tried his best to get his jersey off and toss it … somewhere. The jersey flip absolutely does not possess the same kind of catharsis inherent in a bat flip. One is an emphatic rejection of a violent weapon you no longer require because you’ve defeated your adversary; the other is a prelude to laundry. But the emotions of Segura overrode the awkwardness and gave the fans one more memorable image before they went home.
I think the solution here is heavier jerseys. Or at least bigger sleeves.