Tug McGraw raised his arms toward the heavens after he recorded the final out in the 1980 World Series. It is the iconic moment for a Phillies franchise that has won just one World Series championship in its first 125 years.
Tugger’s spirit could be felt last night at Citizens Bank Park.
Ya Gotta Believe?
Tim McGraw, Tug’s famous country-singing son, spread some of his father’s ashes on the mound before Game 3 of the World Series. About four hours later, after a 1 hour, 31 minute rain delay, Carlos Ruiz chopped a ball down the third-base line with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to score the winning run in a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays to give the Phillies a two-to-one lead in the best-of-seven series.
The Phillies can take command of the series with a victory tonight in Game 4.
“I’m sure he thought it was going to be good luck,” Jamie Moyer said about an hour after the game ended at 1:47 a.m. “And it turns out that it probably was. It’s pretty cool.”
“Luck be a lefty,” Jimmy Rollins said of McGraw.
The luck came early. The magic came late.
Great, great game last night. Hellish for a newspaper. Hellish. But it certainly was one of the most memorable events I've ever covered: the Steve Bartman game in the 2003 NLCS and Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS immediately come to mind. In the crunch on deadline last night, seconds after Carlos Ruiz crushed the game-winning hit up the third-base line, I wrote that Grant Balfour intentionally walked Pedro Feliz and Greg Dobbs, which is interesting because Dobbs pinch-hit for Feliz. I made the correction for our story on philly.com. Hopefully 100 years from now when some researcher is reading the story, he will understand.
Bill Lyon writes about the long wait for Jamie Moyer. I got asked a lot about Moyer before Game 3. I really was surprised at how down people were about him. He had one average start in Milwaukee -- he allowed two runs in four innings, but left because he threw 90 pitches -- and one terrible start in Los Angeles. I thought he would be fine last night. I really did.
Jimmy Rollins is the key to the Phillies offense. They are 6-0 in the postseason when he scores a run. ... Rain, rain go away. ... Don't be a madman. Take public transportation to the game. ... There were good luck charms and more last night at the Bank. ... The Phillies broadcasters are making things work in the booth. ... Daryl Hall will sing the National Anthem before Game 5. No Oates? Damn you, MLB! On a side note, Taylor Swift did a great job singing the National Anthem last night. So far I'd rank the National Anthem performances like this: Swift, Los Lonely Boys and Backstreet Boys, with the Backstreet Boys so terrible they shouldn't even be ranked. ... Andy Sonnanstine pitches tonight for the Rays. Joe Blanton goes for the Phillies. ... Many fans missed Chase Utley's and Ryan Howard's homers because of a cable outage. Ugh. ... Team Victorino is at the Bank. ... Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria are struggling in the World Series. Fans chanted, "Eva! Eva! Eva!" during Longoria's first at-bat.
Damn, that's a lot of Phillies coverage. Enjoy. There will be a quiz later.