Phinally! Phils end City of Brotherly Love's frustration
Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Living and working in the Philadelphia area over the last few years, I, like most of the people who inhabit the region, never thought I would see a moment like the one that just went down at Citizens Bank Park.
It's almost weird to type, but the Philadelphia Phillies are World Series champions.
Keep the fire extinguishers handy because there is going to be a party in this city over the next couple of days that people are going to be talking about for a long time.
These Phillies may not be as likable as the beloved 1993 team that ultimately came up short, but this squad will forever live in Philadelphia lore. They will always be remembered as the team who broke the curse.
Guys like Chris Coste and So Taguchi will be getting appearance fees for the rest of their lives thanks to this victory.
In case you haven't heard, Philadelphia hasn't had a championship of any kind since 1983, when the 76ers beat the Los Angeles Lakers for the NBA championship.
Apparently, the Philadelphia Soul's Arena Football League title this past year does not count.
Let's be honest, though. There was never any curse. There was never a Curse of the Bambino, there is no Billy Goat Curse and there was no such thing as the Curse of William Penn.
Why is it when you don't win, you are cursed? Couldn't they have just been bad? The Phillies have over 10,000 losses and before tonight, one World Series title in 125 years to back that up. They weren't cursed, they were bad.
This team, though, made Philadelphia a baseball town. Rarely does anyone care what's going on with the Phillies in October. The Fall is usually reserved for the Eagles around here, but Charlie Manuel's club painted the City of Brotherly Love red these past few weeks.
America watched Cole Hamels grow up and blossom into one of the best pitchers in the game in these playoffs, as he picked up not only an NLCS MVP, but a World Series MVP, as well.
Ryan Howard and Chase Utley came through when the team needed them most. Howard delivered three homers with six RBI in this World Series, while Utley had perhaps the play of the night in the seventh inning of the clincher when he gunned out Jason Bartlett at home with the potential go-ahead run.
Let's not forget the biggest reason the Phillies are world champions today and that is Brad Lidge, who finished off his perfect season by getting the final three outs in the ninth, striking out Eric Hinske to set off a wild celebration.
Acquired this winter from the Houston Astros, nobody expected Lidge to have the kind of impact he did. The 31-year-old right-hander, who hadn't been the same since serving up a monstrous home run to Albert Pujols in the 2005 NLCS, made it through the whole season without blowing a save, going a perfect 48- for-48 in such situations.
Cole Hamels was named the World Series MVP.
All that talent plus role players like Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz and you have yourselves a world champion.
As bad of a rap as fans in Philadelphia get, I can't say enough about how awesome this crowd has been this postseason, especially with the elements they had to deal with this past week. Were there some nitwits out there? Sure, but there always are some at sporting events that serve alcohol.
At the beginning of this series, Maddon said that his team was used to hostile crowds since they play in the AL East against the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
You have to remember, though, Red Sox and Yankees fans don't know adversity anymore. They forget what it was like to be hungry. Sure they are still lively, but Phillies fans were chomping at the bit. You could almost see them foaming at the mouth. They wanted this championship bad.
So, the Phillies become the eighth different team to win the Fall Classic in the last nine years. When was the last time that has happened in any of the other three major sports? I will give you a hint, it has never happened.
Parity is alive and well in Major League Baseball.
Sure baseball has its flaws, but Commissioner Bud Selig has the game going in the right direction. The MLB postseason is kind of becoming like the NHL playoffs, where pretty much every team has a chance to win. All you need to do is get hot at the right time.
However, according to the television ratings, people around the country may have a different opinion, as the ratings were the lowest in World Series history. That is a problem that needs to be addressed, but this is not the time for that.
Instead we congratulate the Phillies on just their second-ever World Series title and first since 1980 when they topped the Kansas City Royals.
It is going to be an interesting offseason for the Phillies. This could be a very different team come next April.
I think there is a good chance that Howard gets dealt.
If you are under the belief, like most people are, that the Phils are probably not going to sign Howard long-term, then why wait? Deal him now. His value is never going to be any higher than it is right now. Get as much now for him while you can.
With a title under their belt, fans in Philly probably won't mind as much, provided, of course, they can sign Hamels long-term. That has to be offseason goal No. 1 of whoever the new general manager turns out to be.
I am guessing that most people aren't thinking much about those things tonight, though.