Wednesday, October 29, 2008 &mdash 9:58 p.m.
Philadelphia fans are now howling in the streets, after the Phillies defeated the Tampa Bay Devil Rays tonight, 4 to 3, to win the fifth and final game of the 2008 World Series. Starting Pitcher Cole Hamels was named series MVP; and relief pitcher Brad Lidge continued his record of perfection, getting his 48th save of the season, in 48 tries. Great pitching and defense won the series for the Phillies, and some timely hits by the lesser-known players aided the cause.
The Phillies have been playing baseball for 126 seasons: the team was founded in 1883, and called the "Quakers". The last (and only previous) World Series victory by the Phillies happened 28 years ago, in the year 1980. The last sports championship for the city was a basketball triumph by the 76ers, in 1983. After 25 years of losing, Philadelphia fans have a lot of celebrating to catch up on tonight.
"In Northeast Philadelphia, thousands more gathered at the intersection of Frankford and Cottman Avenues, where city workers had greased the light poles to keep fans from dangerous, inebriated ascents. Instead, fans climbed onto the roofs of cars or onto the shoulders of their parents and waved towels and held up signs that said, "Finally," or in the local vernacular, "Phinallie." A dog walked about clad in a Phillies cape."
— New York Times article
Most of the experts and oddsmakers were dead wrong when they picked the Rays to win. The experts forgot about the all-important psychological factors that make the vital difference. Like the 2007 Phillies who rejoiced after beating the Mets for the N.L. East crown, the Rays must have been elated to knock out the powerful Boston Red Sox -- and like last year's Phillies, they celebrated too soon.
The Phillies got hot at just the right time, winning 24 out their 30 final games, and going undefeated in their home stadium. The Phillies' post-season playoff record was a remarkable 11 wins and 3 defeats. The name of the game is "team" -- and the Phillies excelled in unselfishness. When Brad Lidge struck out the last batter to end the World Series, he fell to his knees, raised his arms to the sky and shouted: "We did it!"
The New York Times stories about the victory are here:
For Phillies and City, Title Is Worth the Wait
25 Years of Frustration, Popped Like a Cork
Rain or Shine, a Champion Again