Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's the World Series, Read All About It

Well shit, I still can't believe the Phillies just won the World Series. So yeah, read everything.

-The greatest article ever written. I cried while I was reading it.

-This one was for June and Charlie.

But Manuel also has a long memory. During the postgame news conference Manuel saw a veteran baseball writer from Cleveland sitting in the audience.

"Why don't you go back to Cleveland and tell them we won a World Series," said Manuel, smiling. "Don't take this a cocky way: I always knew how good I was."

I didn't always know, Charlie. Now I do. Best manager/coach in my lifetime. You deserve this.

-King Cole

-Watch it again folks.

-Pat fucking Burrell

"We play in a tough-ass town, and I'm proud of that," Burrell said. "I'm proud to say I play here and behind this city. Just for the fact that they've been behind me. I don't think anybody in here understands this city and the way [it thinks] more than I do. To be able to hand this over to them, this is as good as it gets."


"Who knows what's going to happen," he said. "It's going to be hard for me to walk out of this town."

-Believe it.

It felt like sprayed champagne in your eyes and fans who didn't want to leave, who chanted for Phils manager Charlie Manuel to come back out of the clubhouse nearly 90 minutes after the game ended.

It looked like relief pitcher Chad Durbin, kneeling down on the pitching mound, scooping up a handful of dirt and sifting it into the tiny hand of one of his children.

It looked like 45-year-old pitcher Jamie Moyer, standing on the field, doing an interview and then excusing himself to run over and get into a picture with his wife and children. It will make one hell of a Christmas card.

-The great Bill Lyon

And thus ended one of the most bizarre and controversial games ever played in the World Series, complete with a 46-hour wait between innings, and how fitting that was, for this is Philadelphia, after all, cradle of liberty, acid reflux, angst, anxiety and the sure and certain belief that we are doomed forever to walk along the Boulevard of Busted Dreams.

But not now. Not this time. No, you can go ice skating in Hades now. The Phillies have broken the Hundred Season Drought. The franchise of 10,000 losses is a winner.


The Phillies have been committing baseball for 126 years, and this is their second championship. Their history is a tortured one.

But Lidge offered exactly the right perspective when he said: "This is our time right now, and I don't give a crap about all the rest."

Yes, the time for haunting is past. What has gone before now shrinks in importance. The vinegar turns to champagne.

Asked if he and the rest of the Phillies fully grasped the magnitude of what they had done for the city, Cole Hamels, the pitching prodigy who was MVP of the World Series, said: "When we come back, when we're all old and retired, and we come back, and they still stand up, giving us a standing ovation like they do to the guys of the 1980 World Series. The fans added to our confidence.

"These fans, they could taste it as much as we could."

-The best photo gallery ever.

-Like him or not, Bill Conlin is a must-read when it comes to baseball.

As the bullpen gate swung open and the relievers and coaches there began the sprint toward the writhing dog pile of regulars and reserves that every player dreams of joining, a token force of nine officers on motorcycles rimmed the outfield warning track, lights flashing. The crowd was too busy high-fiving, man-hugging, woman-kissing, child-lifting and releasing enough pent-up emotion to light the city for a year to take notice of the subtle police presence.


This will be remembered in the land of the Philly-bashers and the believers that no World Series that excludes the Yankees or Red Sox is worth the number of people who will fall asleep trying to watch it. Especially if it includes a small-market upstart like Tampa Bay.

But you will manage to live with the knowledge that this was the least-watched Series in history- no thanks to a pair of epic rain storms here and the actions of a clueless commissioner who should be turned out of office at the next owners' meeting.

You will live with it because these Phillies made 28 years of waiting go away. They turned in their own version of the Tug McGraw-Bob Boone ending.

And now all you need is a player to hold your favorite tabloid newspaper aloft Friday and bellow a paraphrase of McGraw's famed message to New York: "The rest of the country can take this World Series and stick it!"

-It wasn't a dream. It was real.

It felt like a dream, but it wasn't. You are wide awake and the Phillies really are World Series champions. They beat the weather and the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-3, to earn just the second title in franchise history.

Philadelphia's quarter-century without a major sports championship is over - outta here - thanks to a gritty, talented team that won two games in one day and one game that took three nights.

"I grew up watching this silly team play," said Souderton native Jamie Moyer, who skipped school to attend the Phillies' only other championship parade in 1980. "And now I'm standing in their clubhouse as a player, and we won a world championship."

Moyer, eyes red from champagne and tears, took a breath.

"Wow," he said. "World championship. That's the first time I've ever used those words. It sounds great."

Moyer and a million friends will attend another parade tomorrow. It won't be in Boston. It won't be in New York City. It won't be in Los Angeles or Chicago and it sure as heck won't be in St. Petersburg, Fla.

It will be right down Broad Street, right under the approving gaze of Mr. William Penn, right through the still-racing heart of Philadelphia.


So remember Brad Lidge, completing his personal perfect season by striking out pinch-hitter Eric Hinske for the final out. Lidge dropped to his knees as the sellout crowd at Citizens Bank Park roared, fireworks filled the sky, the Who blared on the PA system and the Phillies rushed to the mound to celebrate.

Remember Cole Hamels, seven months younger than our title drought, delivering five stellar postseason starts to earn the World Series MVP award.

Remember Charlie Manuel, awash in chants of his name, standing on the makeshift stage behind second base and holding up his index finger: No. 1. Manuel, who buried his mother during the playoff run, promised Philadelphia a "grand parade," and he delivered.


Remember Burrell delivering a 400-foot double in what might be his last at-bat as a Phillie.

Remember Pedro Feliz driving in the biggest run of the Phillies' season - the one that gave them a 4-3 lead in the seventh inning last night.

Remember every last thing Shane Victorino did: the grand slam, the two-run shot in Los Angeles, the defense, the four-RBI game against the Dodgers, the beanball throwdown and, of course, the two-run single 48 hours before the end of Game 5.

Remember Ryan Howard's just-in-time power surge, and the electrifying moments when his moonshots landed amid the bouncing fans and clutching hands.

Remember Chase Utley's opening statement, a two-run homer in his first World Series at-bat to signal that these Phillies were different from the teams that had disappointed in every sport for the last 25 years.

Remember Jimmy Rollins for the leadoff home runs and for leading the way all along.

Remember Carlos Ruiz, the shy, smiling catcher, topping a ball 50 feet down the third-base line for the biggest little hit in Phillies history.

Remember Eric Bruntlett sliding safely home on the biggest little hit in Phillies history to win Game 4 at 1:47 a.m. Sunday.

Remember Joe Blanton and his no-way home run in Game 4.

Remember the fans who turned the Bank into the loudest, happiest, coolest place in sports for the past month.

Remember the 25 years. They're important. They were real, too, and they helped define this city as a sports town for way too long. It was long enough to turn passion too often to anger. Maybe this championship will turn the vinegar back into wine.

Remember 1964 and Black Friday and Joe Carter, because they're all just a little further away and a little less menacing than they were a week ago.

Remember the Phillies' 10,000 losses, because they make this one win all the better.

Remember the other, uncountable losses: the loved ones buried in their red caps and Eagles sweatshirts, the fathers and mothers, spouses and friends who didn't make it to this day. Even the die-hards die in time.

Remember the older loved ones you weren't sure would live to see it. Make a call. Give out hugs. Bask in this with the people who matter most.

Remember Tug and Whitey. Remember Vuke and the Pope.

Remember it all, savor every moment.

After all, you waited forever and a day.

-I was just blinded.

-Great work all year from We Should Be GM's

-So, uh, this car got flipped.

-Best play in World Series history? Best play in World Series history.

-Check out everything at The700Level.

Phinally! Celebrating a World Championship in Philly from BridgeMG on Vimeo


Once on a television show I was working on, Philly writer Joe Queenan was a guest speaking on the anniversary of the Phils’ World Series victory in 1980. The host asked him, “Philadelphia sports fans have a reputation for being very angry and bitter … why is that?” Queenan’s reply was so beautifully succinct that it was almost a haiku. “Well,” he said, “Philadelphia teams don’t win very much, and that makes us angry.”


We Philadelphians have not been so inclined. Noblesse has never obliged us to do jack-squat, because if there’s one thing we know about ourselves, it’s that we are not noblesse. All the suffering did for us was make us bitter and angry, which slowly turned us into the butt of many a national joke, which only made us angrier. It was a vicious cycle that tailspinned on and on, and before we knew it, we were Gollum chasing the Ring. “We loves the Ring ... we HATES the RING…”

Today it’s all over. The wicked witch has left the building, Mordor is up in flames, Darth Vader is dead. Honestly, I hardly even know how to begin to think about that other than to say that it feels not so much like something has been given to me as that something has been returned to me. I woke up this morning with a feeling of possibility that I haven’t felt in a long, long time. To paraphrase that great Boston poet Robert Lowell (Mr. Noblesse Oblige himself), it’s pleasant enough and now my life is in my hands. That something so trivial as baseball has the power to affect such transformations is utterly baffling to me, but then it’s often been observed that what we really want from sports is nothing so much as a constant reminder that we are all children at heart.

-Wake-Up Call

-We impressed TBL.

-The highlights

-Read everything at Ball, Sticks, & Stuff, too.


-Top 5 feel-good stories

1. Jamie Moyer — The 45-year-old produced one of the most spontaneous moments of Wednesday night's celebration, searching out a shovel and trying to unearth the pitching rubber himself. When that proved unsuccessful, members of the grounds crew pooled their strength and, 10 minutes later, the relic belonged to Moyer who took every measure to make sure no one would steal it from him. After 22 years of never appearing in the World Series, Moyer played a vital role in his first appearance. His performance in Game Three paved the way for his hometown Phillies to sweep all three games at home and to see Moyer taking off with the pitching rubber like a little kid was to see exactly why he's hung around the game for so long.


5. Phillie Phanatics — Not only did they have to deal with 25 years without a major sports championship but Philadelphia sports fans have to put up with all the lines about booing Santa Claus, Michael Irvin's injury and what-have-you whenever their fanbase is discussed. Even though they can be a bit boorish at times — hey, a little bit of angry comes in every Philadelphian's blood — I've still yet to find a group of fans more passionate or knowledgeable about their teams (and, yes, that includes my Chicago). My beliefs were reinforced over the three games played at The Bank, when the placed rocked from beginning to end and the Phillie phaithful finally got the title they've wanted for so long. You always feels good for a group of fans when you know they're appreciating what they're getting.

-meech would be proud of this and this.

-Mr. Perfect

-What. A. Scene.

-The night the boos died

Say what you will about FOX, but after the game ended, the network was smart enough to simply replay the moment of Brad Lidge’s strikeout again and again and again. From every angle. We saw Ryan Howard react. We saw Jimmy Rollins react. We saw the dugout react. We saw Lidge react. We saw fans jump higher than a moon shot. We saw outfielders instantly break into a sprint towards the mound, hands raised. It was if they had isolated a camera on every single person in the stadium in order to capture them in that one fleeting second.

And God dammit, it was glorious.


Seriously, this is the greatest, bestest thing in the world. As a fan of your favorite team, I hope you do experience it. I never, EVER thought i would.



-The Deuce is loose.

-Hugging it all out

-romanwarhelmet says there is no God. Yes there is, roman, and he resides in Philadelphia at the moment.

-The Fightins is the best site ever.

This is the happiest day of life. Now my life is complete. Thank you, 2008 Philadelphia Phillies. Thank you so very much.


  1. Well yous got one now. I did notice that somehow in all the excitement and happiness of this speech you still managed to get a quick shot or 2 in on New York. Now that you guys have this one you will all become what we are up here in Yankee land which is to expect this every year from here on out and anything short of that is considered a lost season. Enjoy the parties cause come next season the greed that everyone says we have for winning every year will now be passed on to you guys.

  2. I was in the middle of writing quite an identical posting of the best links from the Phils World Series run when I ran into your post, and I must say that this is quite impressive. A job well done and, needless to say, I decided to abandon my attempt.

    Also, still my favorite blog name ever.