Philly's love for Hoskins spikes in postseason

October 21st, 2022

PHILADELPHIA -- stood next to a Braves baserunner at first base last weekend at Citizens Bank Park.

It could have been Game 3 of the National League Division Series. Maybe it was Game 4.

What matters here is that the rumble from the sellout crowd never stopped, and the player felt compelled to tell Hoskins about it.

“Holy [smokes],” the player said. “I’ve never seen this place like this.”

But then again, neither had Hoskins, and he has been with the Phillies longer than everybody except and . Philadelphia had played important series at home in the past few years, but nothing compared to what the club experienced on Friday and Saturday. Hoskins expects more of the same as the Phillies host the Padres for Game 3 of the NL Championship Series on Friday night. The best-of-seven series is even, and Game 3 is critical: In a tied series with the current 2-3-2 format, the Game 3 winner has won the series 67 of 97 times (69 percent).

“There was never a point when everybody was in their seats,” Hoskins said, looking back on the NLDS. “There was always a portion of the crowd that was up, a portion of the crowd that was loud. It was deafening.”

Hoskins provided one of the Phillies’ most epic postseason moments when he crushed a three-run home run to left field in Game 3 against Braves right-hander Spencer Strider. Hoskins hit the ball, turned to his teammates, raised his arms and spiked his bat into the ground.

Then he sprinted around the bases.

It was a watershed moment for Hoskins, who has been through the grinder in Philadelphia. A top prospect who hit home runs in bunches when he burst onto the scene in 2017, he was a key piece in the Phillies’ rebuild. The team has played well at times, but it also suffered four consecutive September collapses from 2018-21.

Hoskins has been one of baseball’s most productive hitters since his debut. He can carry a team for weeks, but he also goes through exasperating cold streaks. He started this postseason slowly, then committed a costly error in Game 2 of the NLDS in Atlanta. He heard boos during pregame introductions before Game 3. He heard more when he struck out in the first inning.

“I get it,” Hoskins said. “I’m a sports fan, too. I follow other leagues. I follow baseball. So I understand the sports fandom aspect of that, and how you can live and die with what’s happening on the field and how your players are doing on your favorite team.”

Then he homered.

Then he spiked his bat.

“I’m just happy that we got to share it together,” Hoskins said. “It would have been a cool moment regardless of where it happened. If I did it in Atlanta, great, awesome, outstanding. But the fact that I got to share it with the people was special.”

Hoskins’ bat spike was such a moment that Topps turned it into a baseball card.

Hoskins has seen it. He loves it. But then he paused. He seems almost embarrassed by the attention from it.

“I don’t love that it’s being called something,” he said. “It’s just not who I am. I don’t want to ever come across like I’m trying to show up anybody. I have a respect for the game.”

But nobody looks at the bat spike that way.

Everybody understands it was a culmination of things. It was the crowd going crazy because fans were starved for more than a decade for a moment like that. It was the reaction from his teammates, who look to Hoskins as one of the clubhouse leaders. It was Hoskins releasing the pent-up frustration from his slow postseason start, including the error in Game 2 and the boos he heard just an hour or so earlier.

“For the fans, it was an 11-year release,” he said. “For me, it was a six-year release. Cool moment. The card is awesome. I’m hoping I can get a good chunk of them because it’s something I’ll be able to relive.”

For years, the Phillies have watched highlights from their best seasons on Phanavision at Citizens Bank Park: 1980, 1993, 2008, 2011.

They so badly wanted to make their own moments.

Hoskins made one. He believes there is more to come.

“There is a standard here for a reason, they did it, they won,” Hoskins said. “Acknowledging that history, we take things from it, but we also want to ride our own."