Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Phillies Win World Series

It took two days but the Philadelphia Phillies won Game 5 of the World Series and with it their first championship since 1980.

This World Series would have been largely uneventful if not for the events of two nights ago. On Monday night, it was raining cats, dogs and other assorted barnyard animals and yet the game went onward. Rays manager Joe Maddon looked like he was on a fishing boat at sea.

The game was delayed in the middle of the 6th inning tied at 2-2. The rain continued in Philadelphia yesterday so it was postponed until tonight.

The proceedings this evening were delayed not by rain but by hot air. Barack Obama's infomercial to be exact.

(No, I did not see the infomercial. I was too busy writing my article on Obama that just went up. I came home just in time for the resumption of the game.)

Well, it was only three and a half innings but it was a fun packed three and a half innings.

Geoff Jenkins, who pinch hit for starting pitcher Cole Hamels, resumed the game with a double off Grant Balfour. Jimmy Rollins put down a sacrifice bunt to to advance Jenkins to third. Jayson Werth singled home Jenkins to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead.

No sooner than the Phillies took the lead than the Rays tied it at 3-3 on a solo homerun by Rocco Baldelli off Phillies reliever Ryan Madson. Jason Barlett then hit a single. After Bartlett was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Rays reliever J.P. Howell, Madson was removed in favor of J.C. Romero. Akinori Iwamura hit a ball up the middle which Chase Utley got to but appeared unable to throw it to first. That's because he threw it home and Carlos Ruiz tagged out Bartlett at the plate. The game remained tied at 3-3.

Pat Burrell just missed hitting a homerun but settled for a double. He was removed for pinch runner Eric Bruntlett. That might represent Burrell's last appearance in a Phillies uniform as he is now a free agent. Burrell has spent his entire nine year career with the Phillies. If he does leave Philadelphia for other pastures he leaves with a World Series ring.

I've always been a fan of Pedro Feliz. Not a superstar but he can hit, has some power and can play a variety of positions. A good role player. Feliz singled in the go-ahead with a base hit up the middle plating Bruntlett. Phillies lead 4-3.

Karl Rove told Bill O'Reilly that Barack Obama is a lousy closer. Perhaps he should hire Brad Lidge who did not blow a save opportunity in 2008. Lidge struck out pinch hitter Eric Hinske to give the Phillies their second World Series title in franchise history which began in 1883.

The Phillies triumph also represented the first time a pro sports team in Philly has won a championship since the 76ers won the NBA Title in 1983.

My father thought the Rays underperformed and that the Rays beat themselves rather than actually being beat by the Phillies There's no question the Rays performance was subpar but the Phillies had to take advantage of that opportunity. With the exception of the 10-2 blowout in Game 4, the Phillies won all their other games by one run. Their offense was not sterling but their hits were timely. Chase Utley's two run homerun in the 1st inning of Game 1; Carlos Ruiz' 8th inning single in Game 3 and Shane Victorino's two run single in the 1st inning of Game 5 two days ago.

It also didn't hurt the Phillies to have Cole Hamels on their side. Although Hamels got a no decision in the clinching game he did win Game 1 that set the tone of this Series. Hamels added the 2008 World Series MVP to his 2008 NLCS MVP trophy. Nice work if you can get it.

Yes, it would have been a nice Cinderella story for the Rays to have won the World Series. All the more so given my infamous prediction they would win it all two years ago. But Philly fans are as passionate as Red Sox fans. The Phillies have a long history with sporadic success. So it is nice to see them triumph. Phillies manager Charley Manuel might not have any new age 9=8 formulas a la Joe Maddon but Manuel has survived cancer, quadruple bypass surgery and earlier this postseason lost his mother. If he could persevere so could the Phillies. They overcame the Mets in the NL East, the Brewers in the NLDS, Manny Ramirez and the Dodgers in the NLCS and now the heavily favored Rays in the World Series. The Philadelphia Phillies earned every bit of their success and Philadelphians can enjoy the fruits of that success. A hearty congratulations.

Now onto five months of baseball withdrawal.

No comments: