Wednesday, October 29, 2008


PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Phillies ignited a celebration a quarter-century in the making -- and delayed two days by rain -- by delivering the title-starved city the championship it has craved.

Philadelphia defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 on Wednesday night in the final 3½ innings of the first suspended game in World Series history, giving the Phillies their second World Series championship -- the first since 1980.

When closer Brad Lidge struck out Eric Hinske for the final out, fans in Citizens Bank Park and throughout the Philadelphia area cheered, shed tears and shared high-fives.

In the left field stands, 13-year-old Dan Witherell thrust his arms in the air and leaped to hug his father Peter as the final out was recorded.

"It's amazing! I can't think of anything better," Dan Witherell said.

His father, who was 13 when the Phillies won in 1980, said this title was a long time coming.

"It's been 28 years -- it seems like 100," said Peter Witherell, of Wilmington, Del.

Thousands of fans poured into the streets Wednesday night, waving rally towels and setting off fireworks.

The win ended a 25-year championship drought by the city's four major sports teams that dogged Philadelphians since the 76ers won the NBA Finals in 1983.

Philly sports fans were on the brink of celebration Monday night before the Phillies squandered a lead and Tampa rallied to tie it at 2-all in the top of the sixth inning in a driving rain that forced the game to be suspended.

Wednesday's frigid, mid-40s temperatures were better suited for an Eagles game than Game 5 of the World Series, but the teams played on, bundled in layers and sporting winter hats and mittens.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press


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