The Philadelphia Phillies are the 2008 World Series Champions. Let that sink in for a second. The Phillies are World Champions.
After a 28-year drought, the Phillies were finally able to bring home a Championship trophy. 46 hours between the moment Game Five was suspended and the moment the game resumed is nothing compared to the wait for Philadelphia to earn the title.
The nontraditional Game Five, which continued on Wednesday with a quick three-inning game, ended with the Phillies topping the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3. In those three innings, the Phillies showed why they are the champions.
The team has its stars, but everyone wearing the proud Phillies red was an integral part of the season—fans included. From the pinch-hit double of Geoff Jenkins to the defensive gem by Chase Utley, all the way to Pedro Feliz’ tie-breaking single, and everything in between, Philadelphia was destined to succeed.
Even the longest tenured member of the Phillies, Pat Burrell, finally got his first hit of the World Series. Many fans hoped he wouldn’t be pulled out of the game after his leadoff double, but they better. At least it’s comforting to know that if that was Burrell’s last at-bat in a Phillies uniform, the at-bat was a crucial moment that led to the run that eventually became the game-winner.
Each piece—the pitching, offense, and defense—came together subtly. While the game remained close, it was enough.
The three remaining innings summed up what fans knew all along—this combination of ballplayers formed a championship team. Each spectator saw fire in their eyes as they came up to the plate. We all felt the defense’s determination to get each out
We watched, with each steady breath, the focus each pitcher had as each ball left his hand, trailed by his understanding that he will never get that pitch back.
There is no room for regret. And the 2008 Phillies, they have none.
As Lidge recorded that last strikeout and fell to his knees, the stadium shook with the unrestrained bliss emanating from every corner of the ballpark. The red-and-white rally towels became the perpetual confetti that punctuated the celebration. In that moment, the child in each fan appeared and cheered openly for the team. Nothing in the world mattered except the Phillies were the Champions.
Back during Spring Training, it was if Jimmy Rollins knew this day was coming.
"There isn't a team in this division or the National League that's better than us," Rollins stated. "After 162 games, we'll be looking to win the next 11."
Mission accomplished, Mr. Rollins.
11 wins, one World Series Championship. Way to go, boys, way to go.