Phillies

How Marc Zumoff’s unique World Series moment was born

How Marc Zumoff’s unique World Series moment was born

Unlike the other Phillies fans who were at Citizens Bank Park on the night of Oct. 29, I wasn’t going to get caught up in the moment. I wasn’t going to allow myself to be swept into the delirium of a World Series Championship or monstrous cheer at the moment of Game 5’s final out.  

No, I had a selfish little plan. I was going to remember this piece of Philly sports history a different way.

I did obsess over two days with everyone else when Game 5 of the 2008 World Series was suspended on Oct. 27 due to rain, only to be resumed Oct. 29. 

But I was obsessing for a different reason. Oct. 29 was the 76ers home and season opener across the street at the then-Wachovia Center against the Toronto Raptors. I had to reconcile that little conflict.  

It took a little pre-planning on my part, and a little help from the NBA, so that I could be in the ballpark to hatch my narcissistic scheme for the game’s final inning. Thankfully, the NBA would allow a small concession for those who wanted to experience both events: a 6 p.m. tip-off instead of the usual 7 p.m.  Sure, I’d still miss some of the World Series, but if I planned ahead, I could minimize how much I missed.  

And so the 76ers game tipped off on Comcast SportsNet a little past 6 p.m. with yours truly at the mic and an announced crowd of 15,750 at the then-Wachovia Center. The Sixers played like they had one eye on the World Series, shooting 34.5 percent in a 95-84 drubbing at the hands of Chris Bosh and the Toronto Raptors. And seconds after my broadcast duties were over, I began the sprint to Citizens Bank Park to see a game that had already started.

Sitting neatly on my desk at the arena were my clothes for the game, including the requisite thermal underwear and sweats to guard against the frigid night, along with my Ryan Howard Phillies jersey that would go on top. I arrived as the score was tied 4-4, just as Chase Utley was faking a throw to first and nailing someone at the plate. I did get to see Pat Burrell’s double that would lead to the Series-clinching run.  

And as the game got to the ninth inning, I went about remembering the night in my own unique way.

The first in the two-part plan was a timely photo before the start of the fateful ninth. I had a fan take a picture of me and two of my besties, Rob Grossman and Chuck Meyers, with me holding up three fingers to indicate how many outs remained in order to win the World Series.  

Then, with two outs and Erick Hinske representing the Rays’ last chance against reliever Brad Lidge … and an 0-2 count on the batter … and everyone in the place standing … wildly anticipating a moment that would be etched in their memories forever … and as Lidge prepared to go “lights out”….

I closed my eyes, and just listened … 

Analyzing the roads ahead for Phillies and Braves

Analyzing the roads ahead for Phillies and Braves

Exactly a month from today, the Phillies and Braves will meet for the first time since May 23.

The Phillies have 27 games between now and then; the Braves have 29.

The Phils missed a golden chance to pick up ground in the NL East race this weekend by losing the final two games of the Mets series while the Braves were swept at home in a four-game series against the Rockies.

As a result, the Phillies are a half-game back in the division with the regular season 75 percent complete. The wild-card picture is crowded, with the Phillies currently tied with the Rockies and Brewers.

What's been going on with the Braves?

Prior to being swept by the Rockies, the Braves had gone nearly three weeks without losing two in a row. They've been carried lately by rookie Ronald Acuña Jr., who on Sunday did not reach base to begin the game. It was notable because he had reached base to lead off nine games in a row, the longest streak in 18 years.

The Braves have some challenging series ahead but will be a threat down to the final days of the season because of their dynamic top-of-the-order and the consistently solid, clutch production from Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis. Whether or not you believe in "clutch," the icy, contained, contact-heavy approach Freeman and Markakis have in pressure situations sets them up for more success than most with runners in scoring position.

In the rotation, lefty Sean Newcomb has allowed five-plus runs in four of his last eight starts. Kevin Gausman has been a valuable addition so far, allowing two runs in six innings, one in eight and three in five since the trade from Baltimore.

The Braves' bullpen has been shaky. With closer Arodys Vizcaino on the DL, second-year lefty A.J. Minter has been closing games. He had an ugly meltdown Saturday night with two outs, nobody on and the Braves ahead 3-0. He's blown two of his last six games.

The upcoming schedules

The Braves have just one off day between Aug. 20 and Sept. 13. 

They begin a seven-game road trip tonight — three in Pittsburgh, four in Miami. 

The Pirates have faded from contention but are a pesky team that makes a lot of contact and has a very good bullpen combination with Felipe Vazquez and Keone Kela. These should be low-scoring games.

The Braves are 7-1 against the Marlins since the All-Star break. Miami can't be relied on for much spoiling at this juncture.

Following that for the Braves is a nine-game homestand against the Rays (2), Cubs (1), Pirates (3) and Red Sox (3).

Hopefully, the Red Sox still care about wins and losses two weeks from now. Their lead is so big. 

After that comes a real test for the Braves, a late-season, seven-game West Coast road trip to Arizona and San Francisco. The Diamondbacks are in the thick of the race and the Giants are on the periphery but still far from a doormat. 

The Phillies, meanwhile, have just one series left all season outside the Eastern Time Zone.

After that West Coast trip, the Braves have three with the Nationals, three with the Cardinals, then come the Phillies.

Just to review, the Braves' schedule leading up to Phillies series:

• 3 at Pirates
• 4 at Marlins
• 2 vs. Rays
• 1 vs. Cubs
• 3 vs. Pirates
• 3 vs. Red Sox
• 4 at Diamondbacks
• 3 at Giants
• 3 vs. Nationals
• 3 vs. Cardinals

And the Phillies' schedule leading up to that point:

• 3 at Nationals
• 3 at Blue Jays
• 3 vs. Nationals
• 3 vs. Cubs
• 3 at Marlins
• 3 at Mets
• 3 vs. Nationals
• 3 vs. Marlins
• 3 vs. Mets

More on the Phillies

Krukcast: Memories from Little League

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Krukcast: Memories from Little League

On this edition of Krukcast, Gregg Murphy and John Kruk share memories of Little League Baseball. Kruk on what it was like covering the Little League World Series. Also, the guys discuss what they hope today's kids experience playing in Little League.

1:00 - Kruk was a dominant Little Leaguer.
5:00 - What made Little League so enjoyable.
9:00 - Lessons Kruk learned growing up in Little League.
14:00 - Covering the LLWS.

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