Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Remembering my greatest Phillies Phan moment

For my first blog of Phillies Phan, I wanted to take a moment to reminisce about October 29, 2008. Before I get started let me preface with I have been a Phillies Phan all my life. My first game was the Phillies vs the Reds at Veterans Stadium. Mike Schmidt was still belting homers and Pete Rose was a player-manager. It wasn't easy growing up a Phan. I grew up in Central Jersey, right in the heart of NY Mets and Yankee ground, but I always defended the Phightin' Phils.

Then in 1993, my family decided to buy season tickets. What an incredible year that was to be a Phan. I was lucky enough to be a Game 6 of the NLCS and wittiness our first World Series birth in 10 years. What an incredible feeling, a feeling that would go unmatched till last October...(I was at Schilling's Game 5 masterpiece as well)

That brings me to Monday, October 27, 2008. It was cold, rainy, and flurries were in the air. But something else was in the air, confidence and excitement. The Phans through out the stadium knew that today would be the day we had been waiting for. For some it had been 28 years, for others like me who were either to young or not born yet, it had been a lifetime. But, we knew that on this night, all the pain of the last 28 years was going to come to an end. Little did we know that we would have to wait through a two day period before our moment would come. As the game started and Shane Victorino got us on the board with a 2-run based loaded single to left, the Phans had there feelings affirmed that today would be the today. As the game progressed and the rain got harder and the field became a slip and slide. Tampa Bay tied the game at 2 and the at end of the top of 6th the game went into a rain delay. We tried to keep warm in the men's room along with countless others, getting shelter from the wind and was COLD!!! Finally, Dan Baker came over the loud speaker and announced that the game was suspended till further notice and the game would resume when conditions allowed. So Phans left Citizens Bank Park cold, wet, and wondering our day would come.

2 straight days of pouring rain finally subsided and Game 5 resumed on Wednesday, October 29. I got to the stadium and the energy in the park was unbelievable. Phans were even more lively than at Game 5, part I. It was awesome, even thought we were tied at 2 with with 3 and 1/2 innings to go, we knew that by the end of the night, we would be World Champions. With all the excitement in the air, the Phightins' took to bat and Geoff Jenkins smacked a double, got the crowd even more crazy than we already were. That double lead to us scoring yet again putting us ahead in would could have been the final game. Then in the top of the 7th, Tampa Bay tied the game at 3, but no one got discouraged, we knew that this team would score again and sure enough we did. Pat the bat led of the bottom of the 7th with a double. Pat was replaced by pinch runner, Eric Bruntlett, who was brought home by a single by Pedro Feliz to give us the lead again at 4-3. What a fitting end to Pat Burrell's up and down career in Philadelphia by getting the hit that led to the winning run of the World Series.

The crowd never stopped screaming, chanting, and clapping the whole time, we were ready for our first championship since 1980 and only the 2nd title in the long history of the Phillies. Which brings us to the top of the 9th, Phillies up 4-3 and our closer, Brad Lidge enters the game. Lidge who was 41 for 41 in save situations in the regular season and a perfect 6 for 6 in the post season was in to bring home the win. In typical Phillies fashion, the 9th was not an easy one. Lidge gave up a single and a stolen base, putting the tying run on 2nd base. That brought up Eric Hinske. Lidge quickly got two strikes on Hinske, which brought us to the moment that will live in my mind and heart forever. The crowd was going nuts, we knew it was going to happen, we knew we were about to become World Champs. Then at 9:58 PM, it happened. There is only one way to described what happened next. I will let you relive the word of the late, great Harry Kalas:

One strike away, nothing-and-two to Hinske... Fans on their feet, Brad Lidge stretches... the 0–2 pitch...Swing and a miss; struck him out! The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of baseball! Brad Lidge does it again and stays perfect for the 2008 season, 48-for-48 in save opportunities... And let the city celebrate! Don't let the forty-eight hour wait diminish the euphoria of this moment and celebration! Twenty-five years in this city that a team has enjoyed a world championship and the fans are ready to celebrate. What a night! Phils winning, 4–3, Brad Lidge gets the job done once again!
- Harry Kalas calling the final out of the 2008 World Series

Watching it all unfold was the greatest sports moment I have ever been a part, right above winning the World Series in our Township's Little League in my final season of eligibility. It was unreal, it was euphoric, it AWESOME! I lost it. As you can see in my youtube video of the moment posted below. (Yes, that is me screaming OMG! OMG! OMG) I was in sports Phan Heaven. All the years of losing, all the years of having to hear how bad my team was, all comments about 10,000 losses disappearing with that strike out. We were finally WORLD CHAMPIONS and I was there to see it all unfold.

The Phillies have been a major part of my life since I was a child and they will always be a part of my life. I am going to take great pride in this blog and my website that is in construction, The site will be filled with video and pictures from the 2008 Post-Season and my other Phillies experiences, as well as other things having to do with the greatest franchise in baseball, the Philadelphia Phillies. In closing, I am proud to say that I am a Phillie Phanatic and I do not need a big green suit to call myself one. Thanks for reading and come back soon for updated blogs and website status and hoping by the end of October we will be celebrating a repeat!


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