brad lidge

Highlights from the must-watch 2008 Phillies Zoom reunion

Highlights from the must-watch 2008 Phillies Zoom reunion

If you're a Phillies fan, and really if you're a baseball fan, you have to watch this. Nine members of the 2008 Phillies roster/coaching staff reunited to tell stories about that era and most specifically the World Series run.

Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Pat Burrell, Shane Victorino, Scott Eyre, Charlie Manuel and bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer gathered on a Zoom call hosted by Brad Lidge and presented by Citizens Bank. The result was 45 minutes of laughs and some stories that haven't been shared publicly.

Some of the highlights were:

Parade hijinks and the World Series Game 5 afterparty at Burrell's

The inside story of Chase Utley's famous parade speech

• Everything Jayson Werth said

• A tall tale from Charlie

• Snacks in the bullpen bathroom

• A Billmeyer story about So Taguchi

You can relive the Phillies' 2008 World Series parade when it re-airs Sunday at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

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Ready to relive one of the greatest nights in Philly sports history?

Ready to relive one of the greatest nights in Philly sports history?

We've reached our destination.

What an incredible ride it was.

(Even the second time around from the living room couch.)

On Friday night, we here at NBC Sports Philadelphia will complete our journey through one of the best times in the city's rich sports history with the re-airing of the Phillies' 2008 World Series-clinching 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

As a public service — and for the sake of time — we're even trimming out that pesky 46-hour rain delay.

At the time, that famous rain delay in the middle of the sixth inning with the score tied, 2-2, was a major inconvenience.

But all these years later, it seems to have enhanced the memory of Game 5.

So, what's your favorite memory from that night?

Or should we say: What's your favorite memory from those nights?

Was it Geoff Jenkins' pinch-hit double to start off the resumption of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning?

Was it Chase Utley's heads-up, run-saving, defensive gem in the top of the seventh?

Was it Pat Burrell's last hit as a Phillie, a double that eventually turned into the winning run in the bottom of the seventh?

Was it Brad Lidge falling to his knees, looking to the heavens and embracing Carlos Ruiz as the crowd erupted in delight?

Was it Harry Kalas shouting, "The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 World Champions of baseball?

Or was it Charlie Manuel raising the World Series trophy?

"Hey, this is for Philadelphia!" he told the delirious crowd. "This is for our fans."

Cole Hamels remembers it all.

"It was unbelievable," he told us recently. "Everything worked out perfectly. Lidge stayed perfect for a season. You don't really see that. Burrell gets one of the biggest, best hits you'll ever see. 

"And to do it in Philly. That was so special.

"There aren't enough words to describe how special it is to be able to play in a sports town like Philly and be able to win.

"I'm so lucky to be able to play the game of baseball and win a World Series in Philadelphia."

Manuel wasn't the only one to raise a trophy that night 12 years ago. Hamels was crowned World Series MVP. Heck, he was the MVP of the Phillies' entire postseason run. The Phillies went 11-3 in that postseason. Hamels started five games and the Phillies won all of them. In 35 innings of work, he allowed just seven runs for a glistening ERA of 1.80. 

Of all the innings that Hamels worked in that postseason, none was more taxing than the sixth inning of Game 5 of the World Series. The left-hander pitched through driving rain in that inning and gave up the tying run. Giving up just one run in those impossible pitching conditions was a win in itself.

"It was crazy," Hamels recalled. "I tell people the story. If the other team knew that all I could throw was a fastball, I think I would have gotten killed. Because, truthfully, I couldn't grip the curveball. It was slipping. And the changeup, I was almost suffocating it because it was slipping and I didn't want to hang a changeup, which I ended up doing twice in that inning to Carlos Pena and (Evan) Longoria. I hung those pitches when I could have easily gotten them out. 

"I only had a fastball and Chooch knew it and he's calling them all over the place and I just had to focus the most I've ever focused on the mound. It was exhausting. When the game was called after that inning, I was exhausted because I had to focus so much on being perfect with gripping the fastball and throwing a changeup and those other pitches just enough to make them think I had those pitches, but I knew I couldn't locate them. I was just lucky enough to throw them for strikes.

"When it's raining so much and you can't hide the baseball from the weather and it's soaked, what are you supposed to do? That was the most I've ever focused in a game."

The seventh inning of Game 5 was unforgettable. Utley cut down the potential go-ahead run at the plate with a defensive play that is still talked about all these years later and Burrell doubled to set up Pedro Feliz for the hit that put the Phillies ahead for good.

J.C. Romero and Lidge closed it out.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and everyone on their feet at Citizens Bank Park, 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 Lidge's backdoor slider or his get-me-over slider. He wanted the hard, biting slider, the unhittable one that would corkscrew into the dirt. 

"Give me the good one," Ruiz told Lidge. 

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

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 that night. "This is the greatest moment of my life." 

It was a great moment for all Phillies fans.

Relive it one more time Friday night.

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2008 World Series: Time and again, Chase Utley gave Phillies the playoff breathing room they needed

2008 World Series: Time and again, Chase Utley gave Phillies the playoff breathing room they needed

What was it about those series openers?

In the 2008 NLDS, NLCS and World Series, the combination of Cole Hamels, Chase Utley and Brad Lidge stepped up to lead the Phillies to three narrow wins.

Utley's two-run double was the biggest hit in Game 1 of the NLDS, a 3-1 win over the Brewers.

His two-run homer in the sixth inning of Game 1 of the NLCS tied a game the Phillies would go on to win, 3-2.

And in Game 1 of the 2008 World Series, which re-airs tonight at 7 on NBC Sports Philadelphia, Utley hit a two-run homer in the first inning that put the Phillies ahead for good.

"Trying to take the crowd out of it," he said after the 3-2 win in Tampa, "because they are intense, they are loud. And I thought we did a good job."

Hamels' numbers in those three Game 1 starts? He went 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA, a 0.82 WHIP and 22 strikeouts in 22 innings.

And Brad Lidge, who went 41 for 41 in regular-season save chances and 7 for 7 in the playoffs, closed out all three tightly contested affairs. While that first appearance against the Brewers was a bit rocky, Lidge's saves in the openers of the NLCS and World Series were each 1-2-3 innings.

"I’m happy I could do whatever I could do, because this team was ready to do this," Lidge would say after the series was complete.

Going in to Tropicana Field and winning Game 1 put the Phillies in great shape to win the 2008 World Series. (They'd win Game 1 on the road again in 2009, but the '09 Yankees were too much as that World Series progressed.)

"We didn't play that well," Pat Burrell said after the game. "Really, we had a lot of opportunity to score and get a lot more runs and we didn't do it. Obviously, we are super excited about winning, but we need to play better baseball."

The only game in the series in which the Phillies broke out offensively was Game 4, which re-airs on NBC Sports Philadelphia Thursday night. The other three wins were intense, nail-biting one-run victories.

Utley was instrumental in all three of them. He hit a two-run homer in Game 1, a two-run homer in Game 3, and famously nailed Jason Bartlett at the plate on a deke play in Game 5. All three of those events provided the Phillies the difference to win the game.

Utley was such a beast during those extended playoff runs. In the 2008 postseason, he hit only .220 but with a .391 on-base percentage and .460 slugging percentage. He went 11 for 50 but three of those hits were doubles and three were homers. He drove in nine runs in 14 games, scored 10 times and walked one time fewer than he struck out.

Add in 2009 and Utley hit .260/.408/.558 with 9 HR, 19 RBI and 25 runs scored in 29 playoff games over those two Octobers.

You'll get to relive that entire 2008 World Series this week.

Monday at 7 p.m. — Phillies at Rays, Game 1

Tuesday at 7 p.m. — Phillies at Rays, Game 2

Wednesday at 7 p.m. — Rays at Phillies, Game 3

Thursday at 7 p.m. — Rays at Phillies, Game 4

Friday at 7 p.m. — Rays at Phillies, Game 5 (both parts)

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