Results tagged ‘ World Series Game 2 ’
Okay, I promise to really abandon and resign to the fact that 2009 is right around the corner here, and 2008 is just a past memory. But here we go on a crisp, cool night in January sitting there watching the second game of the World Series on the newly launched MLB Network. I almost for got how huge the crowd was in the stands, and could still smell my loaded nachos and the sugary goodness of my cinnamon almonds.
It seemed like so long ago now that this game even was played. But then again, if you are a Rays fan, you have waited for this moment for 11 years. The aspect that this team could get to the playoffs was a distant memory until maybe July after the second half of the season started with a Rays victory via a Ben Zobrist home run. Not until the last out in a game on September 24th, did the team realize a long time dream by both those in the stands and in the dugout.
There were a handful of Rays employees who have been here the entire time. People from Bill Wiener and Mike Yodis, who have been driving forces in the procurement department of the team. Executive Assistant Diane Villanova, who was once Vince Namoli’s executive secretary and has seen the entire evolution of this franchise. Then you have someone like Barry Jones or Kristy Capone, who sat in the sales department cubicles and might have wondered at time how long it would take to finally get here.
The re-broadcast of that game brought about a lot of emotion. A lot of sweat equity that so many have given for the Rays cause. But it did not match the joy and the total abandonment of logic as we celebrated the teams first win in a World Series contest. To say it was a typical Rays win would be pretty accurate. It showed the heart and the character of this team to the nation. Before that first win, people knew we had won over 97 games during the season, but had not seen the formula used to win a majority of those games.
Tonight the nation got to see how “Raysball” was played, and also saw the emotional and physical toll it had on fans and players. Baseball is truly a fickle game. A short blast that fall in between two out fielders can make or break a game. A single throw into the plate can make or break a game. And a single pitch, left over the plate can be rocketed to the outfield walls and beyond.
Watching this game can also make you yearn for more……….More Wins, more times like these again in 2009. To even imagine another run into the World Series right now would be a little premature and crazy. But the pieces are in place to make a run at it all. Several pieces will be replaced in 2009 from the 2008 crew, but these will be upgrades and not just fill in the blanks players as in the years past. The new winning tradition is now set in stone, and the clay and mortar are still wet on the basis of the 2009 roster.
In the next few weeks there will be optimism and renewed vigor about the 2009 season, but this small look into the past was just what I needed last night. I needed to remember the feelings and the emotions that gripped me on that night. I as a fan, needed to remember where I was, what I was doing, and who I first slapped high fives to after the win.
It is a emotional and physical high I would hope on all the fans of baseball at least once in your life. To say that night changed my life would be an understatement. I have attended 3 World Series games before this season, and got into the mood with the crowd, but did not have a center to grab a hold of and attack the event with gusto. This series had all my past feelings and tears in ti’s framework from the first pitch.
So it was pretty emotional to sit there and see again the high sacrifice bunt by Jason Bartlett that scored Cliff Floyd from third base and Rays starter James ” Big Game” Shields reminded people that he strives under pressure shutting out the Phillies for 5 2/3rds innings, scattering 7 hits on the night. That was a lot of excitement for a Thursday night in St. Petersburg.
But from the beginning of this contest, you could tell it was all Rays tonight. Akinora Iwamura got on with a lead off walk, and moved to third on B J Upton’s drive to right field that was misplayed by Jason Werth to put both guys into scoring position with no outs in the game. Then two straight ground outs by Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria put the Rays up first 2-0.
The Rays again got to business fast in the second inning as Upton drove in Dioner Navarro and Baldelli was thrown out in the most photographed picture of the World Series at that point. His slide into Phillies’ catcher Carlos Ruiz would be plastered all over the Internet and the newspapers and finally made it to the cover of Sports Illustrated . It was one of those World Series moments etched in stone that will be remembered for decades. It might have been an out, but it showed the determination and the spirit of this franchise.
Then came the moment of truth with Floyd and third when Bartlett put down that safety squeeze and the Rays went up 4-0. Baldelli also helped out in the field on that night going a long way for a Chase Utley drive that looked more destined for the hole than into Baldelli’s glove. The action produced a double play as Baldelli was able to fire the ball to first base and he doubled up Jayson Werth on one of the best defensive plays of the entire World Series.
But what was remarkable about the night was the cool and calm demeanor of Rays rookie David Price when he came in to pitch in this contest. He came out there with 2 outs in the 7th inning and he walked Utley before going after Ryan Howard and striking him out to end the inning. In the 8th, Price got started quickly getting two quick outs before leaving up a slider and watching Eric Bruntlett stroll around the bases for a solo shot and take away the shutout from the Rays.
But even after all of that, Price looked determined and strong on the mound and got Pedro Feliz to ground out to only surrender 1 run to the Phillies. In the 9th inning, Carlos Ruiz got a quick double and scored on an error to put the Phillies within 2 runs of the lead. That brought up Utley and Howard for a second time in his brief relief appearance for Price. He got Utley to strikeout, and induced a ground out from Howard.
It was a night of lost chances for both teams, but after the last out in the game, you could see the excitement and the emotion in Price’s face as he was leaving the mound. This put the series back at 1 win each and put the pressure on the Phillies gong back home for the next 3 games. We all know how it turned out by now, but at that moment you had to believe if you were a Rays fan.
The energy and the excitement in the stadium could not be bottled up and released again in Citizen Bank Ballpark, but you wish it could. It was a night when you saw the Rays mature right in front of you. No longer did you see a team that could blow a 5 run lead, or even strike out three times in the bottom of the 9th to preserve another team’s win. You saw a squad that was on a mission and a fan base that believed in them more than any other time in their short existence. It was a great time to be a Ray.
You ever wonder how all those baseballs get rubbed down and ready for the games. Well, there is an attendant that works in the Umpire’s room who duty it is to put the old Delaware River mud on the World Series Rawlings baseballs and get them ready for the umpires to use for the nightly games.
I am not sure, but he probably starts during that night’s games getting the next batch ready for the following night’s contest. At least that is what I would do. Think about all the man-hours used to press and massage that mud into the balls with an even consistency. You would think they would have developed a machine to do that job, but I am told nothing does the job better than a good set of hands and a constant massage on the old balls.
I remember back in June of this year there was an article about a pizzeria in the state of Colorado that was going to give out FREE pizza if the Rays won the World Series. In the little town of Lakewood, a small suburb right outside of Denver there is just such a place where magic is said to happen to any event, or team goal put on their estuarant’s window.
John Keiley isn’t really that big of a Rays fan. It’s more that he likes a good story and a big underdog — and a little publicity — as much as he likes making a good pizza. And, oh yeah, he hates the Red Sox and the Yankees.
So that’s how he came to make this offer, and paint it on the front window of his Johnny’s New York Pizza & Pasta shop in the Denver suburb of Lakewood: Free pizza for the world if the Rays win the World Series.
He made his first such deal in June 2007, offering free pizza in the unlikely event his hometown Rockies swept the Yankees. They did, and Keiley gave away 2,500 pizzas — at a cost of about $12,000.
As football season kicked off, he figured he would do it again: Free pizza if any NFL team went 16-0. The New England Patriots did. So on a Sunday in January, Keiley gave away about 1,500 pizzas. A few weeks ago, he was impressed watching on ESPN as the Rays rallied to beat and sweep the Red Sox. He called a childhood buddy from New York (they were Mets fans), George Vricos, who now lives in Clearwater. The more he heard about the Rays, the more he liked. So he made his latest offer.
I’m rooting for the Rays,” he said. “And if the Red Sox and Yankees don’t get in the playoffs, that would be heaven.”
You might be wondering, since there was a stolen base in tonight’s game, do we now get 2 free crunchy, spicy beef tacos from Taco Bell?
The unfortunate answer to that puzzling question is NO. Even though Carlos Ruiz stole second base in the 7th inning of Game 2 of the Wrold Series, the promotion will deliver one free taco to everyone in America if there was a stolen base in any of the games from Game1-4.
There will be another chance to get another FREE taco when they get to Game 5, which will be played in Philadelphia on Monday, October 27th. If someone steals a base from Game 5-7, then they can redeem their FREE taco on November 3rd from 2-6pm at a participating store.
Odd Facts and Tidbits on Last Night Game
The Phillies were 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday night. That’s the most at-bats without a hit with men in scoring position for any team in any game in World Series history. The previous record was 0-for-12, done four times, most recently by Kansas City in Game Five of the 1980 World Series.
Chase Utley‘s two-run home run in the top of the first inning gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead. It was the first time in 42 years that a player hit a home run in the top of the first inning in Game One of a World Series. That last happened in 1966, when Baltimore’s Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson hit back-to-back home runs off Don Drysdale at Dodger Stadium.
Utley added two stolen bases to become the first player in major-league history to hit a home run and steal two bases in a World Series game.
Ryan Howard is only the second player in major-league history to strike out three times and commit an error in his first career World Series game. Dodgers’ pitcher Preacher Roe did that in Game Two of the 1949 World Series, but he threw a complete-game shutout to beat the Yankees!
Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard were a combined 0-for-9, with five strikeouts in Game One of the World Series. In their five seasons as major-league teammates, they have never before been hitless in nine-or-more at-bats with five-or-more strikeouts in the same regular-season or postseason game.
Cole Hamels allowed a home run to Carl Crawford in the fourth inning. During the regular season, 12 of the 28 home runs allowed by Hamels were hit by left-handed batters (42.9%), the highest percentage against any left-handed pitcher in the majors who allowed at least 15 home runs in 2008.
Cole Hamels is the fourth pitcher to win Game One of the Division Series, Championship Series, and World Series in the same year. That was also done by John Smoltz (1996 Braves), David Wells (1998 Yankees), and Josh Beckett (2007 Red Sox).
Cole Hamels and Scott Kazmir, both 24 years old, were only the third pair of starting pitchers in Game One of a World Series each under the age of 25. The previous occurrences: 1912 – Smoky Joe Wood, Red Sox (22) vs. Jeff Tesreau, Giants (23); and 1970 – Jim Palmer, Orioles (24) vs. Gary Nolan, Reds (22).