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The 2008 Phandom 25: !

Posted by Tim Malcolm, Sat, January 24, 2009 05:00 PM | Comments: 24
2008 Phandom 25, Posts

Last year I wrote a series of posts chronicling 2007’s 20 greatest moments in Phillies Phandom. Each game had a special “wow” factor, whether it was an insane comeback, an awesome feat or a trademark moment. And each game was a Phillies win, of course.

For this year, clearly, you know the top moment. But ranking the rest was very difficult. Do I rank the NLCS second just because? Is the NL East clinching victory as important as other postseason moments? I used some heavy discretion, but I believe I came up with a pretty solid list.

Each moment has an attached video link, if you’d like to go back and reminisce.

Like the 100 Greatest Phillies countdown, I’ll be posting one per day. I swear, you won’t get any more countdowns this offseason.

***

1. Champions
Date: October 29, 2008

I waited 24 years.

I waited while watching poor teams. Very poor teams. I waited while sitting in blue seats in Veterans Stadium. And yellow seats. And orange seats. And brown seats. And red seats. I watched while thinking Jim Thome was the cure. Or Gregg Jeffries. Or Billy Wagner. Or Tyler Green. Or Bobby Abreu. Or Kevin Milwood. I waited.

The night the Boston Celtics won the National Basketball Association championship, I cried. I actually cried. “Why can’t it be us?” I pleaded as Kevin Garnett held up a trophy and yelled “Anything is possible!” Yes, I actually cried. Why Boston all the time? Why not one championship for a Philadelphia team? I’d even take the Sixers.

My prayers would be answered swiftly. In fact, the next championship to be determined. The Phillies.

Seriously — the Phillies? The Philadelphia Phillies? With their red pinstripes and funny logo text? With their troubled past and 10,000 losses? With their mediocre stars and half-baked celebrations? Please. Championships came to big-time franchises. To the New Yorks and Bostons and Saint Louises of the world. To the Chicagos and Los Angeleses. Not to Philadelphia. Not to the blue-collar little brother of everyone else. Not to this funny little city.

And yet there I was, standing with legs shaking, hopping madly in front of my television screaming “Come on, Brad! Come on, Brad!” as Eric Hinske confusedly took his stance at the batters box. How the hell did I get here? How did we get here?

While the season itself took 174 games to play out, this moment began to unravel on a Monday night, two prior. Sitting on a stool in a cavernous bar in Mansfield, Connecticut, I watched Shane Victorino lace a single to left field, scoring two runs and sending the crowd into a frenzy. Everyone was bundled, but nobody was sitting. Then I watched as a torrential storm moved over Philadelphia, and the Rays chipped out two runs before the game could be halted. Angry? Yes. Upset? Sure. Confident? Still.

After 45 nail-biting hours, we returned. Shaking but excited, I watched with eyes wide all by myself in a Connecticut house. To my side was my phone, my connection to my father, my brothers — my lifeline. Geoff Jenkins was first. He meant business, bashing the ball into right-center field, celebrating with fist pumps and shimmies. I love Geoff Jenkins.

Then came the leader, the consummate Philadelphian, Jimmy Rollins, who bunted Jenkins over for Jayson Werth, who brought him in by capitalizing off the Rays’ bumbling defense. Boom. A lead. A light.

Rocco Baldelli would bring it right back to squares with a home run. The Rays rallied after that, but Chase Utley made possibly the most amazing defensive play in World Series history, a sttuter and throw to home that ended the inning and caught the Rays in an eager position. All of this wouldn’t deter me at all. I called my dad.

“Don’t worry. It’s okay. Pat’s hitting one here. He’s gonna do something.”

My dad was hesitant, but I was never more sure. And Pat Burrell stepped up, worked the count, then unleashed his most gorgeous swing, which launched the ball into left-center field, inches shy of clearing the fence. It didn’t matter — Pat did his job. His final hit as a Phillie was his biggest.

Shane Victorino followed, and though he failed in his bunt attempts, he bounced one to the right side, moving pinch runner Eric Bruntlett to third. Up stepped Pedro Feliz — unquestionably the most clutch Phillie in the most clutch opportunities — who took a Chad Bradford fastball up the middle for the go-ahead run. And that was all they needed.

JC Romero continued for the eighth and though he let up a hit, induced an excited BJ Upton to ground into a double play — now the biggest double play in Phillies history.

Then it was Brad Lidge’s time. It was time to complete a perfect season. He got an abused Evan Longoria to fly out. Then he gave up a hit to Dioner Navarro, but got Ben Zobrist to line out to Jayson Werth. Breathe in, breathe out. And here we were.

Did I think Hinske could continue the game? Maybe a little. Hey, I’m from Philadelphia. But I knew Lidge wouldn’t spoil his perfect season here. No, not here.

So one strike went bouncing into foul territory. And one more strike was called by the umpire, much to Hinske’s chagrin.

Hinske settled back in. Lidge set up. Ruiz gave him the fingers — slider. Lidge confirmed. He set. He breathed.

Philadelphia waited.

I waited.

I swear I can tell you exactly what happened. Lidge’s pitch started high, dipped low. Hinske took a mighty wail but missed it. Ruiz clasped the ball in his glove. A bunch of fans behind the screen leaped in the air. One fan turned to his friend and raised his arms. An enormous roar rushed through Citizens Bank Park. And that roar — I swear to you — wasn’t just the people in the stands. No, the roar included some South Philadelphians, some Chester residents. The entire region let out an exasparated, long overdue roar.

And I, in my Connecticut house some 300 miles away, leaped into the air, squealing like a 5-year-old girl. I hurriedly found my contacts and pushed “Dad,” still squealing. He picked up at some point, just to hear me in various forms of squeal. He was laughing.

Meanwhile, Brad Lidge was being hugged by Carlos Ruiz, then tackled by Ryan Howard. Others followed. I didn’t see any of this — instead I was stepping around my living room, squealing and cheering and beaming. Without a doubt, it was the happiest moment of my life.

I waited 24 years for this kind of happiness, and when it happened, I had no words. I’ve written more than a thousand posts about the Phillies, and I’ve written thousands of things in my life, but just once, I had absolutely no words. Nothing could match the elation I felt at that moment. Nothing.

That’s why we follow baseball. That’s why we engage so much effort in such an endeavor. Sometimes it rewards us. And October 29, 2008, I was rewarded. We were all rewarded. We were champions.

Easily the greatest moment of 2008. Easily.

The video: We win

From the comments:

Craig: C’mon Phillies. World champions tonight.

NJ: Chase Utley you the man!

Joe: Is that the last at bat for Pat?!? Goodbye, friend.

NEPA: So clutch by Feliz. Great play by Iwamura.

Georgie: Seriously, who sits in a bathtub on the beach holding hands with another person in a bathtub?

CT: OH GOD, JUST ONE MORE

Matty: YESSSSS!!!!!!!! CHAMPIONS!!!!!!

Poomie: we are the champions, my friends

Avatar of Tim Malcolm

About Tim Malcolm

Tim Malcolm has written 1947 articles on Phillies Nation.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Ray

    this gave me chills

    i think we all screamed like little girls

     
  • Posts: 0 Gregger

    still get chocked up reading about it. I was born 2 weeks after the sixers won the title in ’83 so I’ve literally been alive for the entire curse and am a diehard sixers, eagles, and phils fan. Best night of my life. What a great way for Pat the Bat to go out. He deserved it after all he’s been through. Love Geoff Jenkins too. Never complained, always a team player, came through on the biggest stage. Man what a game, what a season, what a team. God Bless 2008, the year the Phillies made life right finally.

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Great teams repeat.

    Are we ready for 09?!

     
  • Posts: 0 Stuart

    still cant believe it.

     
  • Posts: 0 justin

    the whole ride during the playoffs was the greatest couple weeks for my life. ive never experienced anything as amazing as this. 20 years of my life ive waited to see this happen and for it to happen to my favorite team. i couldnt of asked for anything better.

     
  • Posts: 0 Howard

    I was glued to the entire playoffs. Every game, every pitch. Like everyone else who is a true Phils Phan, I still can’t get enough of the celebrations, reading the posts & news articles. This WS championship means more to me than the 1980 Series, just because of the current climate that exists in the sports world today. No one will ever be able to take this away from us! Not the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Dodgers, or the Braves. I will cherish this for the rest of my days, and will always wear my Phillies colors proudly.

     
  • Posts: 0 Matt

    everyday i would wake up and feel like i had a playoff game that day. I wanted nothing to do with school and my own college baseball practices. All i wanted to do was watch my boys in red and it was the best month of my life. such an emotional ride from pitch to pitch and i fully agree that nothing can decribe how i felt when i saw hinske swing and miss at that slider. WORLD PHUCKING CHAMPS.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    Justin, I could not agree more… I have been a fan of baseball since I was about 8, just about 48 years now. I have seen my favorite teams take it as I lived in Baltimore for the formative years (1966, 69,70,71), here in Philly since 70. This was the greatest ride of my life for sure since I make it a point to go to as many games as I can, and Manny, 09 is a definite repeat!
    This team is built to win or compete seriously, for as long as they keep Rollins, Utley and definitely Ryan Howard.

     
  • Posts: 0 David

    I was at both parts of Game 5 and the parade. It was, as most would agree, the best week of my life. I can’t recall ever being so happy and overjoyed. I remember one of the ushers at the park remarking, “I’ve never seen so many happy people ever.” He was right. One of things I remember from the parade was that the weather was perfect–about 60 degree and clear blue sky–we had to suffer through the cold rain of game 5 for it. As someone said during the delay in game 5, “This is Philly, nothing is easy.” And he was right. We had to suffer and wait, but that made the victory so much sweeter. When I got home after game 5, as I was sitting in my bed about to go to sleep (or at least trying to) I began to cry…I realized my childhood dream of seeing the Phils win the World Series had been accomplished. I can’t want for them to do it again. Well, I can wait, I’ve waited a long time (as we all have) but sure we’ll be fun for them to do it again.

     
  • Posts: 0 KM

    It is still impossible to believe.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brett

    I’ll never forget the night we won. When the game started, I had just gotten home from the hospital, my best friend’s mother had been coughing up blood and had to go into the emergency room, and my father had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer. My best friend and I were both in foul, miserable moods. We were morose as part two of the game started, but with each pitch and each out, we were both coming to life and beginning to realize what was happening.

    When Lidge struck Hinske out, my apartment exploded as two guys with almost nothing to be happy about were given a completely unforgettable experience. In the end, it’s one of the best days of my life, because even after all the crap I’d been through that day, my Phillies were there and they won it all.

    Go Phils.

     
  • Posts: 0 clktwr14

    Soon as the Ninth inning started I broke out my bottle of Jameson and a shot glass for the Tugger, after I ran around the house and I clinked that shot glass to picture and drank it down for the Tugger. World Champions World Phu*kin Champions

     
  • Posts: 0 Grrrumpy Miner

    Like I said that night as I paraphrased from what Met great Bud Harelson once said about winning it in 1969 “You are World Champions.Irreversable,nobody can take it away from you”.Now that 2008 is come and gone,giving thanx and to all the Christmas joy and the Auld Lang Syne has been sung,2009 is a whole new ballgame.Now with 29 other teams wanting what you have,Yes I’ll say it again the hunters have become the hunted and you’se guys better keep that in your mind.

     
  • Posts: 0 chase mutley

    I grieve every day that pat’s double didn’t clear the wall. a pat burrell HR to win it wouldve been poetic. seriously, I screamed the loudest when that looked to be out. I wanted that so bad for him.

     
  • Posts: 0 Mazinman

    Back in 1986 I moved from Puerto Rico to New Jersey and was introduced into MLB. At that moment I had a choice. I could stake my loyalty to a Mets team that had just won the World Series or the Phillies. I was drawn to the Phils by the history that Michael Jack was about to make and made strong by the fact that my cousin’s husband played for them. After a couple of years I was hooked, completely. After that was a blurr of pain until 1993 relieved so much of up. Ultimately, however, it also ended in pain and made me hate Joe Carter until this year. After that more pain.

    Then came this year…

    I was giving class that night. Trying my best to teach about the history of Ancient Rome while keeping an eye on my cell phone. I had bought the post season cell phone package from MLB exactly for this reason. I wanted to hear Harry’s call. With 15 minutes left in class I looked at my cell phone again. Top of the 9th. Time to let the class out early. The first out was made while that was happening.

    I ran as fast as I could to pay for the parking and get to the car before the inning ended since the reception in the parking lot stunk. A hit made me a little nervous but I was still confident. The second out made me run to the car.

    Then, miraculously, the signal was crystal clear. I never have a cell phone signal where I had my car parked but, in that one moment, it came through. A stopped outside the car when Lidge threw one more filthy pitch and Harry said those magical words. I jumped around like I was a little boy, screaming out in joy as tears ran down my face. My mom called, we both cried as we celebrated. I called my grandfather. He celebrated as well as he prepared to go have lunch with his friends the next day and brag. Then I called my two closest, Philly Phan friends and we went nuts.

    A couple of days ago I got my Sports Illustrated book and other stuff from their offer. I don’t even like SI but I felt like I needed it. After seeing other teams get it for so long I had to have it. Me getting it drove it home. We were world champions. As much as writers were lusting to give the title already to the Yanks it did not change facts. We won.

    World Phu*kin Champions. Those three words say so much about this doesn’t it? That word in the middle speaks to the disbelief and raw joy that the two words that surround it create. It means that a phan that has never tasted victory in anyway was now a winner along with his team. It means that, for the first time ever, a season ended with tears of joy.

    One more salute to the 2008 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies. Now, we can begin the tale of the 2009 team which, I truly believe, will also end with tears of joy.

     
  • Posts: 0 T Marty

    tonight i ran into an old friend whom i haven’t seen since March, this is the first thing we spoke of, i told him how i cry every time i watch the DVDs, and he said it’s still hard to fully sink in, The Phillies are World Champs. We spoke of how WFC defines this, how long we’ve waited, the passion, the pain. Most emotional moment in my life. As the wife says, it was bigger then our wedding!

    Ordered my partial seasons tickets, (always early so i can get the free gift), hope i get seats in the lottery for the home opener, cannot wait to reel it in all season, i’m watching my team, the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies!

     
  • Posts: 0 Gavin

    I am superstitious, so I wouldn’t move from my spot in my chair the entire game 5 (part 2). When WE WON, I jumped up, hugged my wife and ran upstairs to wake up my kids. I grabbed my 3 year old out of his bed and it scared him b/c he was asleep. I ran him downstairs to watch the celebration. He cried the whole time. Funny I did too. I went outside and let out the loudest guttaral yell ever startling most on my quiet SC neighborhood, and I broke out a ML from the fridge, popped it open and sprayed my wife and myself with beer. I missed most of the celebration talking on the phone with family and friends.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    We are going to have this again people.
    This time, I will go to the stadium instead of the parade…

    Note, there has not been a repeating team in the WS since 2001 (Yanks made 4 straight appearences). I suppose the correct term in consecutive appearences. (Cards in 04 & 06, Red Sox in 04 & 07).

    When the Phils reach the WS and win it for the second year in a row, where will that put them in history? As long as Utley, Rollins, Howard & Hamels are in the mix, there is a strong likelihood they could repeat.

     
  • Posts: 0 maxhole

    did anyone really doubt this group would go without winning a WS? i think thats where my tears came from. “Phinally” didnt mean as much of the 25 years for me as it did that this core finally put a hurting on every team until it was the Phils holding the banner. its obvious in the growth of this website and others, and the growing team support since we arrived at the new stadium that this team had something special. there isnt a more determined and focused team in the mlb right now, our guys will continue to keep that advantage.

     
  • Posts: 0 fortyb

    I remember just being speechless… I put my hands over my mouth and felt the chills run through me! I turned to my wife, a Yankees fan, who was with me/us every step of the way in the playoffs. It was at this moment that I knew a phenomenal week was going to take place…

     
  • Posts: 0 Adam

    Tyler Green! That brings ‘em back….him and Tony Longmire!

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck P

    I won WS tickets via lottery (on the Phillies web site); game 5. Paid face value for a pair of tickets. I resisted the urge to pawn them on stubhub… undoubtedly missing an opportunity to pocket a couple grand. I knew that the seats would be bad, but our seats were in the last row of the Bank, 3rd base line, Section 433 on the very end of the row (the big screen immediately to our left)… basically, you couldn’t get any further away and we were likely one of the last lottery tickets handed out. There was no protection behind us our beside us and the wind was whipping; I give my wife a lot of credit for sticking it out. It was a storybook ending to a fairy tale season. You could not have written a better script; the city starved for a championship, forced to wait for that which it covets most by Mother Nature. The bank was electric. The crowd was cold and bitter at the end of day one; the delay allowed us to regroup… so that we could appropriately cheer our team towards a championship. Even more fitting, the early start time of the second part of game 5 allowed many parents/fans to share the historic moment with their sons and daughters… sons and daughters that will undoubtedly believe in their city and this team for years to come.

    I don’t know if either of these will work… trying to share some video. You can’t see the tears coming down my face but you can catch some raw footage of me hugging strangers.

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/video/video.php?v=1054350353595

     
  • Posts: 0 David

    Good Night, Joe Carter

     
  • Posts: 0 Dave S

    At least you never thought Pat Combs was the cure.

     
 
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