The Philadelphia Phillies are the 2008 World Series baseball champions, after beating the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-3, in a game that had been suspended Monday night because of rain. VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer was at the clinching game Wednesday night in Philadelphia and has a report.
The Philadelphia Phillies of the National League have won the best-of-seven World Series against the American League's Tampa Bay Rays, four games to one.
To do it, the Phillies prevailed in the first suspended game in World Series history. For the home fans it was surely worth the wait.
With terrible rain and wind, Game 5 had been stopped in the middle of the sixth inning, Monday night,with the Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays tied at 2-all.
When play resumed Wednesday night, Philadelphia got a go-ahead run in their half of the sixth inning. But the Rays came right back to tie it at 3-all, on a solo home run by Rocco Baldelli in the top of the seventh.
The Phillies took the lead for good in their half of the seventh, with third baseman Pedro Feliz knocking in the winning run with a single, after a double by outfielder Pat Burrell.
Phillies star closing pitcher Brad Lidge got the final three outs in the ninth inning for the save, an amazing 48th save in 48 chances this season.
Starting pitcher Cole Hamels, who won game one and pitched the first six innings of this Game 5, Monday night, was named World Series Most Valuable Player.
"I'm definitely going to have to enjoy this moment, because there are a lot of times you don't have everything go your way," Hamels said. "Obviously, I was fortunate enough to be on the good end of these victories and winning a trophy. But truly it was the teammates behind me that really helped me through these times, and they're the ones that scored the runs."
Phillies manager Charlie Manual explained what the World Series championship means to him.
"It means everything to me," he said. "It means like, you know what? You see people in baseball, for instance, if you see people and they have a [World Series] ring on. Everybody always wants to see the ring but not only that the symbol is that you're a winner. Once you won a World Series you became a winner. In baseball, when someone asks me what I want to be known as, I want to be known as a winner."
For the Tampa Bay Rays, even though they lost the World Series, this season was a major achievement. The franchise has only been in existence since 1998 and, until this season, the Rays had never even had a winning year, finishing last in their division nine of the 10 previous seasons before this one, when they beat out the 2007 champion Boston Red Sox for first place.
Rays Manager Joe Maddon was gracious in defeat.
"Very few people in this country, or even throughout the baseball world, thought that we'd get to this point would have even guessed that we could get here," Maddon said. "I'm very proud of our guys, as a group. Really a truly remarkable job. We made a powerful statement. It's just the beginning."
Maddon added he knows his players will have a burning desire to try to win World Series next year.
For the Phillies it was only their second baseball championship in more than 100 years of existence. Their only other World Series title came in 1980 and, for fans like Dave Strouse, it was great joy.
"This is it!!! We've been waiting for 28 years for the Philadelphia Phillies to do this, man! It is absolutely awesome! I can't tell you!" he exclaimed. "We came four-and a-half hours for this game for three-and-a-half innings. It's awesome! It's awesome!!"
The city's mayor announced that the Phillies will be honored with a big parade, on Friday.