First, a moment to express what an honor and privilege it's been to share this story through the lens of Beerleaguer. When I first started blogging in 2004, I fully expected a bottomless supply of subject matter from the Phillies' trail of tears, blazed under a long wagon train of failure. Now, they circle the wagons and rewrite the script with every game, and it's been my pleasure to document their victorious fight.Many of the similarities between 2008 and 2009 run deep; even the graphic preparations repeated themselves, getting two in the can before Game 5, with Hamels on the hill and under the spotlight, followed by a pennant-clinching package in the likely event of a win. The games themselves shared common threads, too, like getting the best of Broxton in Game 4 and the convincing fashion in which they took care of the Dodgers in Game 5. Looking back, even Milwaukee and Colorado became interchangeable first-round also-rans.
In listening to Scott Franzke's call during the final out last night, I was reminded of how Harry Kalas summoned the spirit in the 2008 pennant clincher despite a game that was never much in doubt. Therein lies a key difference between this season and last, not only the loss of our dear Hall of Fame broadcaster, but this 'methodical march' of the Phillies, which is how Franzke put it right before the magic number hit zero. This hasn't been a team riding a wave of lucky breaks, or even moments like Brett Myers' walk or Carlos Ruiz's squib where it seems like fate intervenes; they're back in the World Series under their own terms.
You look at this team, and the sure-handed manner in which they dispatched the Dodgers, and it's apropos that they'll have a chance to become the first National League repeat World Series champions since Cincinnati's Big Red Machine in 1975-76. Just as Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, Joe Morgan, George Foster, Ken Griffey defined generations of Reds baseball, so, too, has this group established the meaning of Philadelphia Phillies baseball. We only thought we knew it, but we were wrong.