With the Tampa Bay Rays back in town, memories of the 2008 World Series inevitably surface. For them however, the memories are not fond ones to say the least.
In a piece titled Rays Tales: 2008 memories of Philadelphia, Tampa Bay Times reporter Marc Topkin asked players and coaches to reflect on their time in Philadelphia during the World Series.
3B Evan Longoria (.050 BA with 9 Ks and 2 RBI in series):
“The heartbreak sticks with me the most. The hardest part of it, aside from the losing, was the way we had to do it. It was a little bit easier for them because they were home, and when we had all the weather issues, there we were out of a hotel and we were moving and there was some uncertainty as far as what the plan was.
Just the weather in general was miserable. I’m sure if you ask the guys on that Philly team, although they won and that kind of smooths everything over, it was less than ideal conditions to play a baseball game in. I think just the losing and the way that we ended up losing, that just made it that much tougher to deal with.”
OF Rocco Baldelli (1-6 with 1 HR and 1 RBI in series):
“I hate doing this. This is awful. This is like tortuous thinking about this.
Anybody who talked about the city of Philadelphia at that time, nobody is exaggerating any of those thoughts and comments. Whatever the opposite of hospitable would be to you, that’s what the people of Philadelphia were to us at that time.”
It didn’t seem like the people of the city were happy that their team was in the World Series. It seemed like they were more happy and excited to take out their anger on the opposition and to degrade us”
3B coach Tom Foley:
“It stunk. Not a whole lot of good memories of Philadelphia from 2008. It was a great year, it just ended badly. And it ended there.”
Bullpen C Scott Cursi:
“It was a very passionate crowd for the Phillies. I’m trying to be politically correct. It was a tough crowd. They were on us from batting practice until the last out was made. There was a kid by the bullpen cursing at us and there was a cop there just laughing. There were a lot of colorful metaphors from the fans.”
Pitching Coach Jim Hickey:
“My ex-wife was there and she was appalled at the behavior of their fans, especially toward ours. At one point she went to get the security guard, who was actually an on-duty police officer, and he laughed at her and didn’t help at all.”
The fans lived up to their belligerent level. They revel in that type of thing. They wear it as a badge of honor, but it really ought to be a source of embarrassment to them.”
Seven years later, it sounds like the wounds have not fully healed for the Rays. For the Phillies and their fans, thinking about the 2008 World Series brings back fond memories of achievement, jubilation, and a championship parade down Broad Street. It was the club’s first World Series appearance since 1993, and their first World Series championship since 1980. The fans celebrated, and they had good reason to.
Citizens Bank Park was loud, electric, and alive for those three games. If these comments say anything, it’s that the fans did everything they could to will their team to victory and provide a true home field advantage—making opposing fans feel like they’re in enemy territory is a part of that. It obviously worked.