All these years later, these eyes can still see Jamie Moyer sloshing through puddles while making his way to the bullpen before the biggest start of his career.
Weather was a big subplot in the 2008 World Series.
Surely, you remember how rain impacted the decisive Game 5 and how the Phillies had to wait around for an extra day before their coronation.
But rain also had an effect on Game 3.
The start was delayed 91 minutes and Moyer did not throw the first pitch until 10:06 p.m.
Three hours and 41 minutes later, way past everyone's bedtime, the Phillies pulled out a dramatic, 5-4, walk-off win over the Tampa Bay Rays to go up in the series two games to one.
You won’t have to endure a rain delay to relive Carlos Ruiz’s heroics in Game 3. Just tune into NBC Sports Philadelphia on Wednesday night for a re-airing, first pitch to last. We’ll make sure you stay dry.
Moyer made his only start of the series in Game 3. He did not get the win, but delivered 6 1/3 innings of very valuable three-run ball.
Even though he had to endure a long rain delay before throwing his first pitch, Moyer lived a dream on that night. The 45-year-old pitcher had grown up in the Philadelphia suburbs and skipped school to attend the parade after the team won the World Series in 1980. He had often told his younger teammates what it was like to be at that parade and what it would feel like to have one of their own.
With his help, the young Phillies were just two wins away from finding out.
“I think it exceeded every dream that I had,” Moyer, then in his 22nd major-league season, said after his first World Series start.
Moyer joined the Phillies late in the 2006 season in a trade from Seattle. He quickly established himself as a mentor to several young pitchers, including Cole Hamels, the MVP of the '08 World Series.
But Moyer was also a mentor to Ruiz, who was in his second year as the team’s regular catcher in 2008. Years later, Ruiz won a lot of praise for his game-calling from Roy Halladay. Ruiz often credited Moyer for helping him hone his game-calling skills.
Game 3 of the World Series was Ruiz’s center stage. A decade earlier, he had signed with the Phillies out of his native Panama. He had been a second baseman at the time. Phillies scouts were only so-so on him as an infielder. Ruiz said he could also catch a little. Phillies scouts worked him out behind the plate and decided to sign him — for the bargain price of 8-grand.
That investment paid off many times over the years, including in Game 3 of the World Series. Ruiz homered in the second inning. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard also homered as the Phils ran out to a 4-1 lead.
Tampa Bay rallied for two in the seventh then tied the game in the eighth. The run was set up on a throwing error by Ruiz.
Ruiz got his shot to atone in the bottom of the ninth. Eric Bruntlett was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame and moved to third on a wild pitch and an error. The Phils had the winning run 90 feet away. Rays manager Joe Maddon ordered a couple of intentional walks to load the bases and called for a five-man infield.
Up came Ruiz.
With the game on the line and a cold, wet crowd of 45,900 on its feet, Ruiz tapped a slow roller toward third base. Bruntlett broke on contact and slid home safely with the winning run as Ruiz reached base on an infield hit that traveled maybe 60 feet.
Long ball. Short ball. Ruiz did it all that night.
“No matter if it's an infield hit or whatever, I'll take it,” he said after the game. “I'll take the win."
Amazingly, Ruiz’s infield hit was the Phillies’ only one in five chances with a runner in scoring position. They were a feeble 2 for 33 with runners in scoring position in the first three games of the series but still managed to have the lead.
Something special was brewing.
Check it all out one more time Wednesday night on NBC Sports Philadelphia. And don’t miss Game 4 on Thursday night and Game 5 on Friday night.
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