2008 World Series

10 years ago today: Brad Lidge fell to his knees as Phillies became World (Bleeping) Champions

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10 years ago today: Brad Lidge fell to his knees as Phillies became World (Bleeping) Champions

Ten years ago this month, the Phillies won their second World Series title in franchise history. Over the next few weeks, Jim Salisbury will look back at the team’s run through the NLCS and World Series.

Where do we even begin this one?

With Geoff Jenkins’ pinch-hit double after a 46-hour rain delay?

With Pat Burrell’s last hit as a Phillie, a double that eventually became the winning run?

With Chase Utley’s heads-up, run-saving, defensive gem?

How about we begin with Brad Lidge falling to his knees, looking to the heavens and embracing Carlos Ruiz as the huge crowd erupts in delight?

Yeah, that’s a good way to start this great memory.

“The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of baseball,” the late, great Harry Kalas shouted in the broadcast booth.

“Hey, this is for Philadelphia. This is for our fans,” manager Charlie Manuel told the crowd during the trophy presentation on the field.

Ten years later, the memories remain indelible. Heavy rain forced the suspension of Game 5 of the World Series with the score tied 2-2 in the sixth inning. Forty-six hours later, Citizens Bank Park was packed again for what turned out to be a 78-minute sprint to a championship. Jenkins, Burrell and Pedro Feliz had big hits and Utley made a play that still gets talked about today as the Phillies beat Tampa Bay, 4-3, to win their second World Series title in franchise history.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and everyone on their feet, Lidge was one strike away from nailing down the title when Ruiz visited him at the mound. Lidge wanted to throw a slider to Eric Hinske.

Ruiz didn’t want the backdoor slider or the get-me-over slider. He wanted Lidge's hard, biting slider, the unhittable one that would corkscrew into the dirt.

“Give me the good one,” Ruiz told Lidge before trotting back to his position.

Lidge’s pitch torpedoed into the dirt and Ruiz, as usual, blocked it as Hinske flailed at air.

The crowd erupted in joy.

Lidge completed a perfect season — 48 for 48 in save chances — and fell to his knees. He looked skyward and shouted, “Oh, my god, we just won the World Series!” He hugged Ruiz then was piled upon by euphoric teammates.

“My heart was going 100 mph,” Lidge said later. “This is the greatest moment of my life.”

That sentiment was echoed all over the champagne soaked clubhouse.

“This is better than I dreamed it would be,” 45-year-old baseball life Jamie Moyer said as he enjoyed the first and only World Series title of his career.

Cole Hamels won the MVP award, capping a brilliant month of postseason ball that saw him allow just seven runs in 35 innings.

“Winning is the best thing you can do in this game and having the World Series trophy and seeing these fans go nuts is what we’ve been shooting for all year,” Hamels said.

Two days later, the fans went nuts again as the team paraded down Broad Street, the celebration punctuated by Utley’s famous declaration: “World Champions! World (Bleeping) Champions!”

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10 years ago today: Rain delayed the Phillies’ World Series charge

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10 years ago today: Rain delayed the Phillies’ World Series charge

Ten years ago this month, the Phillies won their second World Series title in franchise history. Over the next few weeks, Jim Salisbury will look back at the team’s run through the NLCS and World Series.

Coming out of St. Petersburg and heading to Philadelphia after the first two games of the World Series, the Phillies were braced for bad weather. But they survived a 91-minute rain delay to win Game 3 behind Jamie Moyer and Carlos Ruiz and cruised to a big win behind the bats of Joe Blanton (he hit the only home run of his 13-year career) and Ryan Howard in Game 4.

The Phils were poised to win the city's first pro sports title in 25 years in Game 5 and they had a lot going for them heading into the game. Howard had come alive with three homers in the previous two games and the kid on the mound, Cole Hamels, had been brilliant — 4-0 with a 1.55 ERA — in his four starts that postseason.

But the Phillies’ plans for a celebration were put on hold in a most memorable way that night.

The Rays rallied in the rain to tie Game 5 at 2-2 in the top of the sixth inning and the game was suspended moments later because the field had become a quagmire.

So what would have happened if the Phils had maintained their lead and taken it into the bottom of the sixth? Would they have been awarded a win?

No.

"There is no way I would have let a World Series game end that way," said Commissioner Bud Selig, who was on hand for the game, fretting nervously about the bad weather. "I would have delayed it till Thanksgiving if I had to."

Officials from both teams were aware of Selig’s feelings well before the suspension, before the game, in fact, because the forecast was bad.

Much to the delight of the huge crowd of 45,940, the Phillies got out to a quick start as Shane Victorino made Tampa Bay starter Scott Kazmir pay for two walks and a hit batsman with a two-run single in the first inning.

Hamels took a 2-1 lead into the sixth. Rain had been falling for a while and the field was getting sloppier and sloppier with each pitch. With two outs, B.J. Upton hit a ball up the middle that on a dry field would have been eaten up by shortstop Jimmy Rollins. But on a muddy track, Rollins could not make a play and Upton was on first with an infield hit.

The whole ballpark knew that Upton, who had 44 steals during the regular season, was going to try to swipe second and he did — with a memorable, mud-splattering slide into the base. It was a huge play because Carlos Pena then stroked a single to left, allowing Upton to sprint around third base and tie the game moments before umpires called for the tarp and the game had to be suspended.

The rain meant the end of Hamels’ night — and his brilliant work in the World Series. The pitcher, then 24, was philosophical afterward, saying, “Both teams had to play in the rain, both pitchers had to pitch in it. We’ll come back tomorrow and try to win the World Series.”

The rain continued to fall the next day and there was no baseball. When the game finally resumed two days after it was paused, the marathon that is the baseball season turned into a sprint that no Phillies fan will ever forget.

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10 years ago today: Joe Blanton and Ryan Howard put the Phillies one win away

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10 years ago today: Joe Blanton and Ryan Howard put the Phillies one win away

Ten years ago this month, the Phillies won their second World Series title in franchise history. Over the next few weeks, Jim Salisbury will look back at the team’s run through the NLCS and World Series.

The 2008 Phillies featured a blend of talents. There were homegrown contributors such as Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell, Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Carlos Ruiz and Ryan Madson. There were those such as Jayson Werth, J.C. Romero, Chad Durbin and Pedro Feliz who came in shrewd free-agent signings. There was a Rule 5 pick – Shane Victorino — who turned to gold and a handful of players such as Brad Lidge, Jamie Moyer, Matt Stairs and Joe Blanton who came in trades.

The contributions made by trade acquisitions Lidge, Moyer and Stairs to the 2008 Phillies have been well documented. But Blanton’s impact on that club should not be forgotten. The Phils acquired him for three minor-league prospects in mid-July and his addition proved huge as he stabilized the back end of the rotation by making 13 starts down the stretch. The Phillies won nine of them.

Blanton got the ball for Game 4 of the World Series, but he made more noise with his bat than his arm. He hit one of the Phillies’ four home runs as the team cruised to a 10-2 win over Tampa Bay at Citizens Bank Park to take a three-games-to-one lead in the series.

Howard blasted two home runs — a two-run shot and a three-run shot — and Werth hit one as the Phillies looked very much like the team that led the NL with 214 homers during the regular season.

“It’s the kind of stuff you dream about as a kid,” Howard said of his two-homer, five-RBI game.

Blanton hit one home run in 230 at-bats in a 13-year career and this was it. Talk about doing it on a big stage. Before his improbable home run, Blanton had just one hit in 16 at-bats with the Phillies. He was the first pitcher to homer in a World Series game since Ken Holtzman of the 1974 Oakland A’s.

On the mound, Blanton pitched six innings of two-run ball for the win.

The victory improved the Phillies to 54-33 overall at Citizens Bank Park on the season. They had finished the regular season with eight wins in the final 10 home games and were 6-0 at home in the postseason with one more game remaining at home in 2008 — Game 5 of the World Series.

The Phils were one victory away from taking it all and they were in the place they wanted to be with the guy they wanted on the mound, Cole Hamels. The lefty was already 4-0 with a 1.55 ERA in four starts in that postseason and his legend was about to grow.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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