Congratulations to the Philadelphia Phillies, 2008 World Series Champions.
Last night’s coverage mentioned, a lot in conversation and on ESPN's bottom line, this being their first championship in 28 years; apparently that’s the fourth-longest wait for a championship in MLB history. Which doesn't seem right based on what Cardinal 70 posted today. I though it would have hit closer to home if they’d also mentioned this was Philly’s second championiship ….EVER. Which it is; Philadelphia’s poorer franchise has only won the NL 6 times in their 126 year history. In contrast, the Philadelphia A’s won the AL 9 times before leaving the city in 1954. I guess it helps when Connie Mack is your manager for 50 years.
Former Cardinal alert – So Taguchi won another ring last night. He’s made appearing in the World Series in even-numbered years a habit lately. He’s also not seen a World Series go more than 5 games yet. So didn't get an at-bat in the Series, but so what? It would be interesting to hear his take on the celebration last night in comparison that ours 2 years ago.
For a game that lasted just over an hour, it was pretty exciting. Baldelli just missed the ball Jenkins hit into RC. I thought the Rays did the right thing bringing the infield in for Werth; too bad it backfired when Iwamura couldn’t make the play on that pop-up to CF (that was a tough play). Then there’s Baldelli’s HR to tie it. 3-3.
It’s difficult to describe how heads-up the play Utley made to get Bartlett at the plate and end the seventh was. Jimmy Rollins, after the game, said that as the play unfolded he thought “Man that’s a heads-up play!” and had to duck so the throw wouldn’t possibly hit him in the head on the way to the plate. I haven’t heard anyone attacking the Ray’s third base coach for sending Bartlett, nor should they; it was amazing Utley got to that ball in the first place, and when he made the throw home Bartlett was probably 15-20 feet around the bag and committed. With two outs you have to send that guy. Good baseball.
Rays hit into tough luck. Upton’s double play ball in the eighth really hurt. Zobrist smoked the ball he hit in the ninth, but it was right at Werth. Hinske had no chance against Lidge.
I was hoping Perez would try and swipe third in the ninth. There wasn’t any real utility to doing that, except to try and force a throwing error from Ruiz – which may have been possible based on how he bounced the throw to second earlier in the inning. If he had been thrown out stealing to end the game, it would have led to a discussion of one of my favorite trivia questions – has a World Series ever ended on a caught stealing? (Yes). When, and who? Feel free to guess in the comments. I’ll narrow it down for you: the Cardinals played in that World Series.
Interesting commentary after the game, at least on the radio; I heard the bottom of the eighth and top of the ninth while driving home. Werth credited the fans for pumping the team up before the game. Based on Jenkins’ reaction as he stood at second after his leadoff double in the sixth, they did a real good job. Moyer was listed as a kid from the Phila area, and boy does that come through when he’s interviewed; I haven’t heard that accent since I graduated from Villanova, but it’s unmistakable. Best quote (other than Rollins’ above): Interviewer: “Congratulations, Jamie, enjoy it.” Moyer: “Thanks. I will.”
With this win the NL stands at 4-5 in World Series this decade, and have one the last 3 without home field advantage (thanks again, “Bud”). We live in a world where the Phillies are world champs. Again, having spent some time in the City of Brotherly Love, I have a bit of an appreciation of what this means to the city and area. I was rooting for the Rays, but seeing Philadelphia win doesn’t bother me at all. So enjoy it, Philadelphia.
Post Script – at 0645 Thursday morning one of my co-workers showed up in a Rollins Jersey and Philly hat. All I could do was smile and nod appreciatively.
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