Phillies are world champions again
There is no question that, between the city of Philadelphia and the metropolitan area of Tampa/St. Petersburg, there was a far greater hunger for a World Series win in the former than in the latter. After all, the Phillies were the only one of the 16 original Major League franchises to have only won a single World Series in their entire history, that being in 1980. After their 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night, however, they have now joined the Cubs and Indians among that group in having won two world championships. (Three of the 14 expansion franchises have won two World Series: the Mets, the Blue Jays, and the Marlins.) The Phillies played hard and played well, and they deserved that trophy just as much as their fans craved it. Phinally! Congratulations to Philadelphia!
As for the games, two aspects stood out: First, the large number of men left on base by the Phillies -- 48, compared to 23 for the Rays. Second, the above-average number of bad calls by the umpires. Fortunately, those calls didn't seem to consistently favor either team. Everyone will remember the 2008 World Series for the crazy Game 5, which was played in a steady rain for the first six and a half innings, was then suspended, and was finally completed two evenings later. Bud Selig has taken flak from those who say Game 5 should have been cancelled entirely before it even got to the fifth inning, but that would have caused just as much outcry, I think. It was a no-win situation.
The Rays played well for the most part, but some of their star players just did not live up to expectations. Evan Longoria got only one hit in his 20 World Series at-bats, and Carlos Peña wasn't much better, going 2 for 17. [The Rays also] deserve big-league congratulations on having come so far so soon from the American League cellar. With a roster full of top-notch talent signed to multi-year contracts, I'm sure they will be a force to be reckoned with in future years.
Ballpark sojourn 2008
Just as the Phillies "phinally" won, I have finally returned from my extended travels. I have a lot of photographic editing to do, but in the mean time, the following montage of six baseball stadiums in New York and Chicago will have to serve as a preview...
The mail bag
Just after I left town, coincidentally, a guy named William Kooney sent me a great batch of photos from inside Citi Field, where he has been working, and I will be posting some of those soon as well. Thank you, William!
Harry Heller poses the following question: "As we all are aware, after 44 years, Shea Stadium will be closing in a week or so. As of today, no Mets pitcher has ever thrown a no hitter. So here is a question you might want to pose. Are there any other stadiums, other than temporary venues etc. that the home team has never thrown a no hitter in?" Do any trivia experts out there know for sure? Feel free to comment...