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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Phils Win! Phils Win! Phils Win!


As a diehard Phillies' fan, I have waited 28 years for this.

As a stalwart Philadelphia fan, I have waited 25 years for another title.

The Phillies picked up where they left off last night. Another of many signature moments was when seldom-used OF Geoff Jenkins, "leading off" in the suspended game, doubled to right centerfield. Somehow, we Phillies fans knew that this was an omen of good things to come.

To the Rays' great credit, they kept battling. A nifty infield play by 2B Chase Utley prevented the Rays from taking the lead, as Utley threw Rays' SS Jason Bartlett out at home. Another signature play, as Utley faked throwing to first, prompting the Rays' 3B coach to send Bartlett home. Carlos Ruiz made the tag, and the game remained tied.

Fittingly, it was the Phillies' closer, "Lights Out" Lidge, who sealed the deal by striking out pinch hitter Eric Hinske to end the game. Controlled pandemonium ensued (the only "scary" moment was when 1B Ryan Howard ran in from his position and plowed into Lidge, but thankfully no one was worse for the wear).

Among the great moments last night, in no particular order of preference:

1. Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins, who said that before the game, he told Jenkins, "Listen, this is the middle of the game. You have to get up there and make something happen."

2. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, whose post-game salute of the fans was memorable in its sincerity and tone.

3. The guy in a Santa Claus suit who held up a sign that said "Phillies fans, I forgive you." Phillies fans were accused of tossing snowballs at Santa in the 1970's. What really happened was that the guy playing Santa was drunk, so they were bombarding him because he was dishonoring Santa, but, naturally, the national media took another opportunity to slam the City of Brotherly Love.

4. The signs that said, "Mitch, we forgive you," as Phillies' fans remember well Mitch Williams, the sometimes wild closer who gave up the Series-ending home run to Joe Carter in the 1993 fall classic. I shrugged; I had never held anything against Williams, who I thought did the best he could. (I thought that the Blue Jays were the better team and that Phillies' manager Jim Fregosi was too stubborn upon insisting that the sometimes struggling Williams always had to pitch the 9th inning). At any rate, when I said all of this to my wife, she said, "Oh my, I didn't forgive him." And she's from Baltimore! Mitch has turned into a wonderful TV commentator.

5. Have a happy retirement, Pat Gillick! You built that Blue Jays' team, you built Seattle several years ago (they won 116 games in the regular season one year you were there) and you helped finish the job in Philadelphia. Great job!

6. Somewhere Ed Wade, Pat Gillick's predecessor, is laughing and smiling. He helped build this team, too, and deserves some of the credit for the team's success.

7. It was great to see the players so happy. To a player, they did their best, picked each other up and did a fantastic job.

8. Lastly, the fans. You stayed to 2 a.m., you got soaked, you froze, and you saw a great triumph!

Onto the parade!

Let's go, Phillies!


Blogger Charlottesvillain said...

Congratulations! I am blue with envy. The Utley throw to home was a great great play.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That guy in the Santa suit was me! When is the national media going to find a new angle when discussing Philly fans? Sportscasters are always quick to reference the snowball incident when trying to cast us as a gang of ruthless, blood-thirsty thugs. My goal is to squash this beef once and for all.

If Santa can forgive, maybe the media can forget.....

5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone!

What a great night!

Now the national media has to give the Phillies credit. All post-season we heard about CC Sabathia and the Brewers, the Cubs and their NL-best record, Manny and the Dodgers and the upstart Rays. The Phillies? More like a field horse than a favorite. So what happened? They just beat everyone every which way, and they didn't lose at home.

Thanks, Santa, for acting like a purgative. It was a hilarious gesture. Now only if the fans had behaved a little better in Center City last night. . .

9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

greatest moment of my life. the fans deserve to riot.

12:19 PM  

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