OctoberPhest! Phils win World Series
Phillies prevail in Game 5 to clinch second Fall Classic title
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- They warmed by sheer numbers, ignoring the clouds that formed with each frozen scream. They added to the chilly night by waving white towels.
The City of Brotherly Love waited two days longer than expected, but after a wait that had entered its 28th year, what's another few days? After a delay announced at "an even 46 hours," the electrified crowd began simmering with celebratory dreams.
The Phillies delivered a 4-3 Game 5 win over the Rays on a 44-degree Wednesday night, completing a five-game triumph to award the franchise its second World Series championship in its 125-year history. It started a baseball celebration not seen since Oct. 21, 1980, when Tug McGraw struck out Kansas City's Willie Wilson and leapt into Mike Schmidt's arms.
Appropriate in this setting is a quote from ancient Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca, that was displayed on the scoreboard before Game 5 resumed: "It is the rough road that leads to the heights of greatness."
Indeed, there was some rough road right to the end, as closer Brad Lidge allowed the tying run to reach second base with one out in the ninth. But he struck out Erik Hinske then went to his knees in celebration before being mobbed by teammates in front of the mound.
In the seventh, Pat Burrell picked the ideal time for his first World Series hit, pounding a double off the wall in left-center field. Pinch-runner Eric Bruntlett went to third on a groundout and scored on Pedro Feliz's tiebreaking single.
In the previous inning, Geoff Jenkins secured his World Series moment when he led off the bottom of the sixth with a leadoff double to deep right-center -- his first postseason hit. He went to third on a sacrifice and celebrated his way to home plate after Akinori Iwamura couldn't field a Jayson Werth pop behind second.
That lead was short-lived, as Rocco Baldelli muscled a game-tying homer just over the left-field flower bed in the seventh. Jason Bartlett singled and was sacrificed to second by J.P. Howell, setting up a brilliant defensive play by second baseman Chase Utley.
With Bartlett racing around third on an up-the-middle roller, Utley faked a throw the first -- knowing he no shot of getting Iwamura -- then threw home to get Bartlett at the plate.
The unified fans, all 45,940 of them, were rewarded for their patience with a World Series championship that belonged to them as much as the men on the field, and the passionate nation erupted upon the final out.
Jamie Moyer attended the victory parade for that 1980 triumph and now will ride on a float for the first time in his 22-year career. So will 40-year-old Matt Stairs and organizational pillars Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Utley and Burrell.
J.C. Romero got the win, recording four outs, while Lidge sealed the city Philadelphia's first major championship for any of the sports teams since the 76ers won the 1983 NBA title.
Wednesday's effort had far-reaching ramifications than those in attendance. This was for parents to show their kids what it was like nearly three decades ago, when manager Dallas Green led a group of players known as Michael Jack, Charlie Hustle, Bull, Tugger, Bake, Lefty and Charlie Hustle to a World Series title. For those parents who may not have themselves been born, now they know, too.
For this group of Phillies, it served as a way for them to carve out an identity in their new ballpark. Veterans Stadium went down after the 2003 season, taking with it those memories. It now serves as the parking lot for the new place, and J-Roll, Ut, Howie, the Flyin' Hawaiian, Chooch, J-Dub, Hollywood, Mad Dog and Lidger have christened the building their own.
The 1980 team has company in the realm of World Series champions, as led by manager Charlie Manuel. Even the kids less than 10 years old should enjoy this, for one generation never knows if they'll see another such title.