An hour beforehand, it was still hard to know. The seats at Citizens Bank Park, dark blue and mostly empty, sat unopened in the cold. You could imagine the ticketholders huddling elsewhere, in the concourse, around their cars and their coolers, trying to stay warm, stamping their feet, pondering their fate, waiting.
They had arrived here early Monday night filled with hope and departed a few hours later, wet and exhausted, sentenced to 2 more days. “Only in Philly,” came the simple message from a buddy, and it was echoed a million-fold throughout the region. This is a place that has found comfort in misery over the last quarter-century. So, rain? Of course.
They came to see 3 1/2 innings, the resumption of a suspended World Series game, the final, labored sprint at the end of a 25-year marathon. And you wondered — what it would feel like when a Philadelphia team finally won, what it would sound like, what of the roar that was so many years in the making?
The answer came at 9:58 p.m. It ended with Phillies pitcher Brad Lidge, the perfect closer, on his knees in front of the mound. He struck out Tampa Bay Rays pinch-hitter Eric Hinske, and the joyful noise erupted. It might not yet have stopped.
And Lidge said, summing up in a television interview, “It’s very honestly hard to control my emotions right now ... These fans are amazing.”
And Jimmy Rollins said, asked about the drought, “It’s over. It’s over, man.”