Thursday, October 30, 2008

Phillies End 25 Years of Frustration

Ryan Howard hoists the Commissioner's Trophy after the Phillies 4-3 victory Wednesday night. Howard struggled against lefties during the World Series, but he exploded for two home runs and five RBI in his club's 10-2 Game 4 win.
With the score tied, two out in the seventh and Jason Bartlett on second, Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz paired up for the biggest defensive play of Game 5. Utley gloved Akinori Iwamura's groundball, realized he didn't have a play at first and threw home to Ruiz, who dove to tag Bartlett.

Brad Lidge was lights-out in the postseason for the Phillies. In all, the Philadelphia closer pitched 9.1 innings, gave up one earned run, and struck out 13. He was seven-for-seven in save opportunities, including the World Series-clinching save in Game 5.

Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Brad Lidge (C) celebrates with his teammates after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 5 to win Major League Baseball's World Series in Philadelphia October 29, 2008

Manager - Charlie Manuel holds World Championship Trophy

October 30, 2008
Philadelphia Phillies end 25 years of hurt to win the World Series
Philadelphia Phillies win series 4-1

The city of Philadelphia erupted in celebration on Wednesday night, as its beloved Phillies won baseball’s World Series and secured the city’s first professional sporting triumph in 25 years.
The Phillies took Game Five of the best-of-seven series at home against the Tampa Bay Rays, outscoring the visitors 4-3, to win the series 4-1.

No Philadelphia team has won a national title since 1983, when the basketball 76ers won the NBA finals. It was the longest sporting drought for any of America’s biggest cities – 100 seasons of futility between Philadelphia’s four major professional franchises. When the relief finally came the fans still had to wait just a little longer – until the end of what the weather ensured was the longest game in World Series history.

The decisive game started on Monday night but was suspended after driving rain made the field unplayable, with the teams tied 2-2 after five-and-a-half innings. Plans to reconvene on Tuesday evening were shelved when rain again threatened to turn the field into a quagmire.

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On Wednesday, the Phillies jumped out to an early lead when play resumed in the bottom of the sixth inning but the Rays hit back in the seventh inning with a solo home run by Rocco Baldelli
In the bottom of the seventh, the Phillies drove in what turned out to be the winning run when catcher Pedro Feliz singled and Eric Bruntlett scampered home.

Cole Hamels, Philadelphia’s star pitcher, was named the Most Valuable Player of the World Series. He won the first game and, though he did not pitch on Wednesday, his tight performance in the rain on Monday was crucial to the Phillies’ success. Overall, he finished with four wins and no losses in the postseason.

Another key contribution came from Brad Lidge, the Phillies’ famed closing pitcher, who finished off the Rays’ line-up in the ninth inning, and completed a remarkable season of perfection – 48 saves in 48 attempts.

Tampa Bay had been the surprise team of the 2008 season. They finished 2007 with the worst record in baseball, but this year, led by a posse of young and largely unheard of hitters and pitchers, they ended with the best record in the regular season and breezed their way through to the World Series as champions of the American League. But in the final match-up they proved no match for the more familiar luminaries of the National League's Philadelphia.

It was the Phillies' first World Series title since 1980 and only their second in their 125-year history.

"I think when we're all old and retired and we come back, we'll get a standing ovation," Hamels said. "Just like they did for the guys who won the 1980 Series."

"It's been a long ride, I'll say that much, but we did it," Rollins, one of Hamels's team-mates, said.

"I'm very proud of our guys," Joe Maddon, the Rays manager, said. "[It was] really a truly remarkable job. We made a powerful statement. It's just the beginning."

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