This is part of a series looking back on the Phillies 2008 Postseason. Posts will line up with the 5th anniversary date of the games. “Off day” posts will be irregular.
NLDS: Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3 | Game 4 | Wrap Up
NLCS: Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3 | Game 4 | Game 5
WS: Game 1 | Game 2 | Game 3 | Game 4 | Game 5A | Game 5B
The Unlikeliest World Series Home Run
It was a spectacle the likes of which hasn’t been seen since in the city of Philadelphia. Estimates of the crowds that day range anywhere from 300,000 to a million people. It was euphoria. It was insanity. It was heaven. Well, so I’m told. I was some 250 miles away from Philadelphia doing boring things at my job, so I honestly don’t have much insight to provide on the events of that day other than to say it was the cherry on the top of the incredible October which ended Philadelphia’s championship drought. (So, uh, how long is this new drought going to be?)
Here are a few of my take-aways from spending the month reliving the Phillies 2008 run:
- Pat Burrell doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his good 2008 postseason. He struggled mightily at the plate in the World Series, but overall that October he went .227/.346/.455 with 3 HRs and 8 BBs. Sure, the average was low, but that happens in the postseason. He got on base and had a crucial multi-HR game in the NLDS. Give the man some love.
- Brett Myers’ 2008 postseason at the plate was even better than I remembered (4-for-5, 1 BB, 3 R, 3 RBI). The DH is for losers.
- Chase Utley made two brilliant defensive plays in the World Series clincher and a critical play in the Matt Stairs game. This ought to be celebrated often and with gusto.
- Cole Hamels was phenomenal.
- Jamie Moyer is a national treasure and freak of nature.
- Ryan Madson, Brad Lidge and, to a lesser extent, J.C. Romero (who missed time due to injury) formed a relief ace trio that was absolutely critical to the Phillies 2008 success. The rest of the bullpen was garbage.
- Ryan Howard’s first home run in Game 4 of the World Series remains one of my most cherished baseball memories.
- Philadelphia fans have a propensity towards inferiority complexes and conspiracy theories which Bud Selig played right into during the apocalyptic rain storm.
- I miss Harry Kalas.
In baseball, weird things happen. Carlos Ruiz gets a walk-off infield single against a 5-man infield. Shane Victorino hits a grand slam against the best pitcher in baseball. Joe Blanton transforms into a slugger. However, since the Phillies ultimately won, we quickly forget the unlucky bounces they also incurred such as running into Manny Ramirez during a 2013-World-Series-David-Ortiz-like run or the no call when Rollins was hit by a pitch in the 9th inning of Game 2 in the World Series. It’s impossible (and likely incorrect) to say that the unlucky bounces and bad breaks balance out, particularly in a short postseason series, but it’s equally incorrect to say the 2008 or any other recent champion lucked their way to a title. The talent level fielded by the 2008 squad was unquestionably impressive and well-deserving of the title they earned. If a few lucky bounces helped them along their way, so be it. It’s a fluky sport, it’s an unpredictable sport, and it’s fantastic. I’ll always be indebted to the members of that 2008 team for providing me with an opportunity to so fully celebrate the team and the game that I love to love.
Thanks for joining me on this ride down memory lane.