With the Philadelphia Phanatic waving the banner on the mound at Citizens Park, it all became clear. The Philadelphia Phillies are the 2008 World Series Champions.
All year long, to many people, this Phillies team has always been talked about to make the playoffs but was never considered to come out as World Champions.
Entering the post-season this year the Phillies were the hottest team in the bigs. They over took the Mets again this year by winning 13 of their last 16 regular season games and they kept that going into the post season where they only lost three times in October.
Even with a line-up consisting of the last two National League MVPs, Ryan Howard in 2006 and Jimmy Rollins in 2007, along with three-time All-Star, Chase Utley and Pat “The Bat” Burrell, people were doubting the Phillies against the Brewers in the first round.
Not to mention a pitching staff that was bolstering three 10-game winners in Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer and Brett Myers all handing the ball to Brad “Lights Out” Lidge who had 41 saves in 41 opportunities in the regular season.
Their pitching staff quieted the remaining doubters, holding the Brewers to a total of nine runs in the four games it took to advance to the NLCS against the LA Dodgers. It was there that the Phillies started to look like World Series Champions. Shane Victorino led the Phillies with six RBI against the Dodgers, including four RBI in game two.
The NLCS was also the time that Hamels, who is just 24, stepped under the spotlight and proved he will be a lethal threat on the mound for many years to come. He went 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA earning the NLCS MVP award. Hamels didnt stop there, in the World Series he won Game One and was forced to bow out of Game Five once the game was suspended due to rain. Overall Hamels made five postseason starts, going 4-0 with a 1.80 ERA, receiving the World Series MVP award.
Leading up to the World Series, Howard had been relatively quiet in the playoffs and had not been swinging the big stick he is known to have. Since entering the league in 2005, Howard, 29, has earned more gold than Flava Flav has in his teeth. It started by winning the NL Rookie of the Year award.
In his sophomore year, 2006, Howard was named to the NL All-Star team, won the Home Run Derby, led the NL in Home Runs and RBI earning a Silver Slugger Award, and being named NL MVP. In 2007, Howard became the fastest player to reach 100 home runs in MLB history. Add to that now, his World Series Championship.
Howard finished the Fall Classic leading the team with three home runs and six RBI.
The last time the Phillies won the World Series was 1980 and the last time a Philadelphia major sports team won a championship was in 1983.
The Cubs have the Curse of the Billy Goat, the Red Sox had the Curse of the Big Bambino, the White Sox had the Curse of the Black Sox, the Blue Jays may or may not have the Curse of Eric Hinske and last night the Phillies eliminated a curse of their own, the Curse of William Penn.
On top of Philadelphia City Hall there is a statue of Penn (the city founder). There was always a “gentlemens agreement” stating that the Philadelphia Art Commission would approve no building in the city which would rise about his statue. Everything was fine until 1987 when One Liberty Place was built just three blocks away almost 400 feet taller.
People began to believe that the city was cursed by Penn for building One Liberty Place. So, in 2007, during the construction of the Comcast Center (the tallest building in Philadelphia), workers attached a small figurine of Penn to the top.
The rest is history.
As game five finally finished off with Lidge throwing strike three into the catchers glove, and the Phillies thanking the man above, one thing was for sure, the best team in baseball comes from the City of Brotherly Love.