Well, by now everyone knows the outcome of last night’s game. So, other than Robin Roberts viewpoint, I’ll try to provide material that is different from what has been written and said.
4:53 p.m., Cole stepped out of the Phillies dugout and headed for right field to begin his usual loosening exercises. When he does that at Citizens Bank Park, the fans response with applause. Naturally, yesterday, there was silence. Can you imagine the noise when he makes his first World Series start at home?
5:03 p.m., Cole begins throwing in the bullpen.
5:13 p.m., Cole begins walk to the dugout and gets high fives from his teammate relievers heading to their perch.
5:16 p.m., Dodger Stadium PA announcement asking fans to cheer for the benefit of FOX telecast. Have to report the noise level didn’t come close to our fans. Can’t imagine how loud it will be for the big dance.
5:35 p.m., Cole threw his first pitch with the big scoreboard in right field indicating 1 run for the Phillies in their first at-bat. J-Roll’s lead off homer set the tone just as it did in the Milwaukee clincher.
8:37 p.m., Ruiz catches pop-up from Nomar Garciaparra and the Phillies are the National League champions!
Prior to that inning, a video of Nomar’s walk-off homer against the Phillies in August was shown on Dodger Vision in left field. Idea was to rally the crowd. This time, Nomar made the walk-off out setting off a Phillies celebration.
In the clubhouse, Cole was honored as the NLCS MVP. He joins Manny Trillo (1980), Gary Matthews (1983) and Curt Schilling (1993) as Phillies who have won that award.
Bill Giles, NL president emeritus, got to present the wooden trophy named after his dad to Dave Montgomery and we were officially declared the NL champs.
I didn’t make it into the clubhouse, which is a very small one. Didn’t want to get doused with sticky, stinky stuff for a five-hour, cross-country ride. Smelling like a brewery was something I wanted to avoid.
Club officials and player families were allowed on the field in front of the Phillies’ first base dugout, a very nice gesture by the Dodgers. Phillies fans in attendance made their way down to behind the dugout creating a love-in in LA, while fans were going bonkers back home.
One-by-one the players came out with bubbly stuff and saluted the fans. The celebration was awesome but everyone knew, there is more work to be done.
Four buses finally made their way to the LA International Airport, later than planned, but nobody complained. We took off in a Delta charter around 3 a.m. and landed at 7:28 a.m. (both EDT).
Fans and media met the team at the airport and also at Citizens Bank Park which was cool. Fans are gobbling up Phillies shirts and caps. For the first four hours of the Majestic Clubhouse Store at the Park, sales averaged $10,000 per hour.
Players were given the day off today. They’ll work out at the Park on Friday and Saturday afternoons. Sunday will be another day off and we leave for the AL city sometime on Monday. More on that later.
Charlie wasn’t on the team charter. He and his fiancé were on a private plane taking them to Virginia for his mother’s viewing this evening and her funeral on tomorrow morning. Services for Shane’s grandmother in Hawaii will take place after the World Series.
Hall of Famer Robin Roberts provides his views after Game 5:
“The baseball season has become a marathon. Years ago, all you had to do was win your league and you were in the World Series. Now, you have to win two other series, before you get to the finals. It’s a lot of baseball, and it sure is fun to watch.
“Cole has definitely been the star of the playoffs for the Phillies. To pitch so well under all the postseason pressure is something special. Cole mentioned that his NLCS MVP award was a team award, and in many ways he’s right. But, if they have to give someone the prize, he was the right choice.
“The Tampa Bay Rays are hot, but they haven’t made the World Series yet. I believe they will win the ALCS. They have had a wonderful season. I live in Tampa, and have watched them become a good team. If they do get into the Series, don’t worry, I’ll be rooting for the Phils. I’m too old to lose any friends.”