Philadelphia Phillies fans waited 28 years for a second World Series title. The city of Philadelphia waited 25 years in between Julius Erving, Moses Malone and the 1982-83 Sixers winning the NBA Finals and the 2008 Phillies winning the World Series. And yet, a couple of extra days felt like torture to the city.
Game 5 of the 2008 World Series began at 8:30 p.m. ET on October 27. The game became the first suspended World Series game in history after the Tampa Bay Rays tied the game in the top of the sixth inning. On October 28, the final innings of the game were again postponed due to weather. By the time the game had resumed on October 29, it was nearly 48 hours after the game had originally begun.
Shane Victorino, the Phillies center fielder, recently told Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia that the two days in between Game 5 of the World Series starting and resuming weren’t just torturous to fans:
“Absolutely [it was torture], because you know how close you are. You’re there – it’s in your grasp. The reality of playing as a little boy in your backyard and dreaming about a World Series…all the things that you talk about doing [like saying] ‘OK, it’s three-two, two outs and the game is on the line and you throw a ball up and hit it and you’re running around in your backyard’…it was there. It was within your grasp, but you just couldn’t reach for it. So, yes, we were anxious, but again, we never changed who we were. I think that’s the identity of that team, we never changed it. And what happens when we first come out? There goes Geoff Jenkins – boom.”
While Victorino, like many in the Delaware Valley, struggled to get through the two days in between the start and resumption of the game, Chase Utley just viewed it as a minor inconvenience. The six-time All-Star also spoke to Salisbury, saying that he and his wife, Jen, spent much of the rain delay like the average person spends their Wednesday evening: binging on Netflix:
“Yeah, it was completely awkward. From what I remember, I remember going to field early in the morning, just breaking a sweat and taking a few swings – but at that point we’ve taken plenty of swing throughout the course of the year, so you can’t really focus on that. I went home, my wife and I binge-watched True Blood, we probably watched eight to 10 episodes, and that kind of made the time fly.”
For as awkward as the delay may have been, the build-up created appointment viewing when the game finally resumed. The 2008 World Series was one of the lowest-rated World Series in history, but as SportsMediaWatch noted, 19.8 million people tuned into the resumed World Series game, four million more than had tuned into to watch the start of the game.
As Victorino said, Charlie Manuel sent Geoff Jenkins to the plate as a pinch-hitter to face Grant Balfour when the game picked back up. Jenkins, once a star on the Milwaukee Brewers, had struggled in what turned out to be his only season in Philadelphia and his final year in the major leagues. Jayson Werth had seized the right fielder’s job, pushing Jenkins to the bench. But when the 33-year-old was called upon for the most important at-bat of his career, he delivered:
The aforementioned Werth eventually plated Jenkins with an RBI single, breaking the tie.
The lead was short-lived, as Ryan Madson surrendered a game-tying home run to Rocco Baldelli in the top of the seventh. The tie was broken for good in the home-half of the seventh, however, as Pedro Feliz drove in Eric Bruntlett, who was pinch-running after a Pat Burrell double. J.C. Romero and Brad Lidge would each pitch scoreless innings, clinching the franchise’s second World Series title.
It’s funny, nearly a decade later, to look back on the time in between the two games. The 2008 World Series was largely ignored by most of America. But the two-day rain delay in Game 5 caught the attention of the public, even if it tortured many Phillies fans and some players.