Year In Review: World Series

After clinching the pennant, the Phillies were headed to the World Series for the first time since Joe Carter's World Series clinching home run off Mitch Williams in 1993.

Mitchy-Poo threw out the first pitch of the 2008 postseason at Citizen's Bank Park. He threw the ball just a bit outside, into the backstop. Maybe it worked as a double negative. The message to the fans was get wild, but maybe it took a bad pitch to cross out all the other bad postseason moments.

With no preference as to who to play, the Phillies waited a few days to find out. The Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox battled each other for 7 games in the American League Championship Series. The Rays came out on top, heading to the World Series for the first time in their brief history.

The layoff hurt the Colorado Rockies in 2007, but the Phillies knew about the business ahead of them. A week after Nomar Garciaparra popped out to Carlos Ruiz, Scott Kazmir threw out the first pitch at Tropicana Field to start the World Series.

In July, Kazmir earned the win in the All Star Game, giving the American League home field advantage. The loser was Brad Lidge, who was perfect all year. It was ironic that these two teams would be playing for rings.

It wasn't long before the Phillies scored. With a shift on and runner on first, Chase Utley decided he'd try to bunt down to an empty third base. His bunt attempt failed, fouling the pitch. However, a few pitches later, Utley jacked one into the right field bleachers. A 2-0 lead was all Cole Hamels needed. The Phillies took game one 3-2.

James Shields dominated the Phillies in game two. He didn't allow a run in 5.2 innings. Dan Wheeler and David Price limited the damage out of the bullpen. The Rays scored on a couple of ground outs off Brett Myers, and the Rays won 4-2.

The Phillies were struggling offensively, leaving many runners in scoring position. They left 24 men on base in game one, and 26 in game two.

The series headed back to Philadelphia, hoping their hitter friendly park would snap some of the struggles. Losing the All Star Game suddenly became a home field advantage with 3 games in a row at Citizen's Bank Park.

Rain delayed the start of game 3 over an hour, but it wasn't enough to stop the Phillies, and an ill Jamie Moyer. Moyer, who had a stomach virus a few nights before, made his first World Series appearance. He was shaky in the NLDS and NLCS, but the Rays and Moyer were a perfect match. Young, anxious hitters. In 6.1 innings, Moyer allowed 3 earned runs, striking out 5. He even made a fantastic diving play, however, like many other plays during the series, the umpire missed the call.

Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard each homered off Matt Garza, the ALCS MVP. The Phillies had a 4-1 lead before the Rays rallied and tied the game. B.J. Upton reached on an infield single, stole second, stole third, and scored on a Carlos Ruiz throwing error.

Tied in the 9th, Eric Bruntlett was hit by a pitch. After a wild pitch, Bruntlett moved up to second, however Dionner Navarro's throw sailed into center field. The Rays brought in an unusual 5 man infield, walked Victorino and pinch hitter Greg Dobbs. Carlos Ruiz was up, having a chance to redeem himself.

With the bases loaded, Ruiz got ahead in the count early in the at bat. He fouled off a few pitches, and then hit the biggest hit of his life. It didn't go very far, but it went far enough. Ruiz chopped the ball down the third base line. Bruntlett was on his way home while Evan Longoria barehanded the ball flipping it to the cather. The ball sailed well over Navarro's head, scoring Bruntlett, and capturing a game three, 5-4 win.

The bats came alive in game 4 as the Phillies won 10-2. Ryan Howard hit two home runs, and Jayson Werth also hit a home run. Starting pitcher Joe Blanton even got into the action hitting a home run of his own. Blanton also worked well on the mound, giving up just 2 runs in 6 innings of work.

The Phillies had a 3-1 series lead, with an opportunity to win the World Series on their home field. The weather forecast was not looking good, with chances of rain throughout the area.

Despite some rain, the game started anyway. As the game went on conditions got worse.

Once again, the Phillies scored early off Kazmir. Victorino laced a 2 run single down the left field line.

Cole Hamels continued his playoff domination, but weather conditions worsened. Rollins missed a fly ball, the infield puddled. Conditions were affecting the game. BJ Upton reached on an infield single. He hydroplaned into second base on a steal, and scored on a base hit by Carlos Pena, who hadn't had a hit in the World Series prior to the at bat. Instead of letting the Phillies bat, or not letting the Rays bat, the game was called.

The game tied, and perhaps MLB was off the hook. Commissioner Bud Selig did not make it clear that no matter what happened, all 9 innings would be played, despite the fact that any game longer than 5 innings is official. The game was suspended for the first time in World Series history.

46 hours later, the game resumed. Geoff Jenkins was called to lead off the bottom of the 6th. He doubled, Rollins moved him to third, and Jayson Werth's bloop single scored the go ahead run.

However, Rocco Baldelli homered to tie the game at 3. The Rays threatened to take the lead with Jason Bartlett on second base, and Akinori Iwamura do up. Iwamura grounded up the middle, however Utley was able to scoop up the ball, preventing it from reaching the outfield. Utley faked to first, and Bartlett kept running. Utley threw a strike to the plate, nailing Barlett.

Pat Burrell hadn't had a hit all World Series until the 8th inning. Off the bat, it looked like it were headed for the seats, but it just missed, bouncing off the wall. Burrell reached with a double, and Pedro Feliz drove him in, which proved to be the winning run.

Brad Lidge was on the verge of not only being perfect, but on the verge of becoming a World Champion. While flashbacks of Albert Pujols danced in every baseball fan's head, Lidge thought different. He came into the 9th inning with a 4-3 lead.

With a runner on second base and one out, Ben Zobrist ripped a ball into right field. Thankfully, it hung up long enough for Jasyon Werth to catch it for the second out. Eric Hinske came to pinch hit, and the rest was history.

One strike away; nothing-and-two, the count to Hinske. Fans on the their feet;
rally towels are being waved. Brad Lidge stretches. The 0-2 pitch — swing and a
miss, struck him out! The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of
baseball! Brad Lidge does it again, and stays perfect for the 2008 season!
48-for-48 in save opportunities, and watch the city celebrate! Don't let the
48-hour wait diminish the euphoria of this moment, and the celebration. And it
has been 28 years since the Phillies have enjoyed a World Championship; 25 years
in this city with a team that has enjoyed a World Championship, and the fans are
ready to celebrate. What a night!" -Harry Kalas

Brad Lidge went down to his knees. Carlos Ruiz ran to hug him, but both were clobbered by Ryan Howard to start the dogpile, which everyone joined. They phinally did it! The Phillies are 2008 World Series Champions!

Manuel exclaimed "this is for Philadelphia!" before Jimmy Rollins delivered the World Series Champs newspaper headline. Kalas sang "High Hopes." Burrell's dog Elvis accompanied for the parade. The series MVP, Cole Hamels insisted to be in the parade "again, and again, and again." Chase Utley cursed on TV for the second time. In words of Jamie Moyer, it blew 1980 away.

The moment we dreamed of and waited for became reality. The city went nuts. Players showered each other with champagne. 2 million people came to the parade. A baseball team had not only brought a World Championship to the city, but brought the city together.


GM-Carson said...

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Nice pictures (wink, why don't you have a picture of J.A. Happ. It was his calm and coolness sitting in the bullpen that propeled the Phillies to the title, you know.

Amanda said...

Haha, thanks. Happ's rear on the pine totally led the Phillies to their World Series title.

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