Victorino The Victorious

Seen here connecting for a double against the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series, local boy Shane Victorino celebrates the Philadelphia Phillies’ championship by coming home to host a charity golf tournament for a cause close to heart, Alzheimer’s research

Friday - November 07, 2008

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Bedecked with a lei and wearing swim goggles to keep champagne out of his eyes, Shane Victorino hoists the World Series trophy

Maui’s Shane Victorino follows up a season in which he proved he’s a bonafide big league star by helping the Phillies win the World Series

A week after winning the World Series, Maui’s Shane Victorino is still flying high - literally.

Victorino, who squeezed in this interview with MidWeek during a two-hour layover in Honolulu late Monday night, was home on Maui for his grandmother Irene Victorino’s funeral Sunday and then back on a plane Monday night to Los Angeles for an appearance on The Best Damn Sports Show Period Tuesday.

He also, since his Philadelphia Phillies clinched the Series, winning four games to one over the Tampa Bay Rays Oct. 30, has made an appearance on QVC and the ESPN2 morning sports talk show First Take as well as several other shows and events in the Philadelphia area.

Now he’s finally at home in Las Vegas with fiancee Melissa, 19-month-old daughter Kalia and stepson Keenan, and looking forward to just relaxing and spending time with his family. He can also savor a season in which he hit .293, slugged 14 home runs and stole 36 bases, followed up by hitting .333 (14 for 42) in the post-season, including a grand slam home run.


 

In another week, he’ll be on a plane again, returning to Maui to prepare for his inaugural benefit celebrity golf tournament, “A Round to Remember,” happening Nov. 22 at the Makena North Golf Course at the Maui Prince Makena Resort.

The event, sponsored by Waste Management of Hawaii, also will feature Neil Everett, ESPN SportsCenter anchor and former KGMB sports director, as emcee. All proceeds will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association-Aloha Chapter.

“The golf tournament was my idea,” says Victorino, centerfielder for the Phillies.“I wanted to come home and do something to give back to a charitable foundation, especially a charitable foundation that helps with the disease my grandma (Olive Nakahashi) had.

“I saw (Alzheimer’s) affect her and it was definitely hard. She slowed down quick. Her memory goes. But when you reminded her of who you were, she was always excited or happy.”

Victorino legs out another World Series hit

Victorino’s Grandma Olive passed away in 2001; Grandma Irene passed away Oct. 10. Both were remarkable women to whom Victorino says he was close.

“My grandmother (Irene), she loved her dolls and she loved watching QVC and the Home Shopping Network, and she would order her dolls,“recalls Victorino.“And it was funny because last week before I came home I did a QVC show sell- ing memorabilia stuff, so it was funny to finally be on a show that my grandma watched. I remember watching it as a kid and saying ‘Geez, can we watch anything else besides this?’ So, that’s kind of a weird, ironic thing.

“And my Grandma Olive, I could do nothing wrong in her eyes. Actually, for all my grandparents, it seemed like I could do nothing wrong in their eyes, even though I was a little troublemaker as a kid.A lot of who I am today is from my grandparents and also my parents.”

Victorino, who learned about his grandmother Irene’s passing after Game 2 against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series, believes she was watching over him during that game and throughout the rest of the playoffs, and even helped them to win.


“Maybe she helped me make that catch,” he wrote on his blog, referring to his robbing Casey Blake of a hit in Game 2.

“It was not only my grandma, but also our team manager Charlie Manuel lost his mom (the same day), and I think that we feel we got lifted (by their passing),” says Victorino. “I know for me, there were some things I did that would make you say to yourself,‘I couldn’t have done that by myself.’”

Victorino, who turns 28 Nov. 30, grew up in Wailuku and started playing baseball"as soon as I could pick up a ball ... My older brother Mikey, I kind of idolized him and watched him, and that’s what made me want to play,” he says. “Then in my junior year (at St. Anthony’s High School) is when I really focused in on baseball. I played other sports growing up. My first sport was soccer, and in high school football became the sport that I loved.

“But then in my junior year, I sat down with my father and talked about what career in sports I would

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