The 2008 Philadelphia Phillies: World F---ing Champions!
The 2008 World Series ended a 28 year-championship drought for the Phillies and a 25-year drought for the city of Philadelphia.
In the ceremony after the parade, Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley summed it up best:
"World F---ing Champions!"
Thought it was probably partly done in light of Utley's slip at the 2008 Home Run Derby, the All-Star let out the feelings of relief of both the city and players.
After the years of disappointment, Philadelphia had finally won a championship (the first in my lifetime), and the supposed "Curse of Billy Penn" had been reversed.
The 2008 season for the Phillies was one of a roller coaster that ended in the best way possible.
There were the down points: the injuries to Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino, Rollins' two benchings by manager Charlie Manuel, and his statements about the Philadelphia fans being "front-runners", Ryan Howards' constant out-making, and the first-half struggles and demotions of starting pitchers Adam Eaton and Brett Myers.
Throughout the year, however, the production of the Phillies' top position players of the 2008 regular season—Chase Utley, Jayson Werth, and Pat Burrell—kept the Phillies in contention and position to make a run.
Once September came, everything seemingly turn around for the Phillies.
A resurgent Brett Myers and questionable free-agent acquisition Joe Blanton joined ace Cole Hamels and veteran Jamie Moyer to give the Phillies a solid four starting pitchers. Meanwhile, all of the position players were healthy and contributing to the team, leading the Phillies to a 17-8 September record.
The performance carried onto the season, where the Phillies' NLDS win over the Brewers was highlighted by Game Two—in which CC Sabathia's legendary walk of Brett Myers led to a grand slam by Victorino. The Phillies received strong starting pitching in way to a four-game series win over the Brewers.
Against Manny Ramirez and the Dodgers, the Phillies continued their success. Cole Hamels continued his strong starting pitching, winning the opening game and clinching game with a 1.93 ERA.
Matt Stairs' Game Four home run and Jimmy Rollins' leadoff Game Five home run were very memorable striking blows to the Dodgers, as the Phillies won in five games.
The Phillies entered the World Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, and for the second straight series, the Phillies were underdogs.
Cole Hamels continued his success in the Phillies' 3-2 Game-One win, as Chase Utley's first-inning home run provided the lefty with sufficient run support. However, the Phillies had an disappointing 4-2 loss in Game Two, out-hitting the Rays but letting the Series slip to a 1-1 tie.
As the Phillies moved home, the weather began to play a role, as Game Three was delayed due to rain, and started at approximately 10 PM.
The heroic pitching of Jamie Moyer, home runs by Carlos "Chooch" Ruiz, Chase Utley, and Ryan Howard seemed to be enough for the Phillies, but a series of events including Carl Crawford unrightfully reaching base on a spectacular play by Moyer and B.J. Upton stealing his way to home after a single.
The Phillies and their relentless catcher would not be stopped. A strange series of events—Eric Bruntlett being hit by a pitch and intentional walks to Victorino and Pedro Feliz gave Chooch a chance to win the game.
With Tampa Bay aligning with a five-man infield, Ruiz's swinging bunt was just far enough away from Rays third baseman Evan Longoria to allow Bruntlett to score and the Phillies to come away with a 2-1 series lead at 1:45 AM.
After Game Four, a 10-2 thrashing of Andy Sonnanstine and the Rays, the Phillies fans were realistically dreaming of a parade down Broad Street. On Monday, Game Five, the situation got much more complicated.
The umpires and Bud Selig controversially let the teams play on during rainy conditions, and in the middle of the sixth inning, after the Rays had tied the game at two in the top of the inning, the conditions were enough for baseball to call the game.
After another delay of one day due to continued bad weather conditions, the situation turned from doubtful to ideal for Philadelphia fans on a memorable Wednesday night.
Geoff Jenkins led off the bottom of the sixth with a double, and from there, Jenkins was driven in by Jayson Werth. After Tampa Bay tied the game, Pat Burrell led off the bottom of the seventh with a double, and his pinch-runner Eric Bruntlett later scored on a single by Feliz.
From there, the Phillies' season was ended like so many of their games were that season, as Brad Lidge struck out Eric Hinske to complete his perfect season and giving Philadelphia their first championship in 25 years.
Phillies fans rejoiced, and their exuberance was exemplified two days later, as millions of Phillies fans (estimated to be as many as 2.5 million) packed the streets of Philadelphia, as the the Phillies' parade, led by free-agent-to-be and the Phillies' longest tenured player Burrell on a horse-drawn carriage rode through.
The festivities were ended at Citizens Bank Park, where a ceremony was led by Hall of Fame announcer Harry Kalas, capped off with speeches by Phillies players, Mayor Michael Nutter, owner David Montgomery, and manager Charlie Manuel.
Some players had inspirational speeches, all of them thanked the fans for their undefeated postseason at home, but in the end, Utley said it best:
"World F---ing Champions!"
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