With the Phillies winning Game 5.5 on Wednesday night 4-3 over the Tampa Bay Rays, we can officially close the book on the 2008 postseason. As postseasons go, it was, for the most part bland. After all, the biggest star this year was probably the weather.
That doesn’t mean there weren’t moments that you could point and say, “That was exciting.” Heck, there hasn’t been a postseason in MLB that you couldn’t say as much.
So, let’s take a walk back through the 2008 postseason and mark the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all.
The Good – The Tampa Bay Rays proved that they were no fluke in 2008. Their postseason, minus the 10-2 pasting in Game 4 of the World Series, the surprising Rays were the talk of the postseason. Look for the Rays to be contenders next year, and the year after, and the year after…
The Good (Part II) - After 28 years, the Phillies get only their second World Series championship since becoming part of MLB in 1883. Few, if any, would say that Charile Manual didn't deserve it. It added to Pat Gillick's incredible World Series resume, and it gave a title starved city of Philadelphia (it had been 25 years since any pro team in the City of Brotherly Love had won a title) something to cheer about.
The Ugly – The umpiring takes the cake this year as the worst part of the postseason. The strike zone was an ever moving target, a cardinal sin as umpiring goes. And then there were the calls that were flat out missed.
Take just the World Series.
Jimmy Rollins’ rundown in Game 4 between third and home, a sequence in which umpire Tim Welke missed the swipe tag by the Rays Evan Longoria. In doing so, a bases loaded walk pushed Rollins across the plate, making the game 1-0 at that time. In Game 3, it was the Rays that were the beneficiary of a bad call. With the Rays down 4-1 in the seventh inning, Carl Crawford bunted. Jamie Moyer did an incredible diving scoop to first baseman Ryan Howard, who barehanded the catch. Crawford was called safe by umpire Tom Hallion, while replays showed Howard had the ball before Crawford hit the bag.
Umpires shouldn't be the story, and this year, the umpires took the cake.
The Bad – Let’s face it, Game 5 on Monday night should have never been played, given the weather, but for this author, it doesn’t rate under the “ugly” heading. For one, the game was entertaining. Purists will scoff, but the game was extraordinary for the fact that the unexpected was expected. Still, Commissioner Selig should have called the game before the insanity that was the start of Game 5 get underway.
The Bad (Part II) – Maybe the worst thing about this year’s postseason was that with one series the exception (the ALCS), all were short. Only one series went the full seven games, while the rest were sweeps or one game wins for the losers of the series. Here’s the breakdown:
- ALDS: Red Sox v. Angels (Red Sox 3-1)
- ALDS: Rays v. Chicago White Sox (Rays 3-1)
- NLDS: Dodgers v. Chicago Cubs (Dodgers 3-0)
- NLDS: Phillies v. Brewers (Phillies 3-1)
- NLCS: Phillies v. Dodgers (Phillies 4-1)
- ALCS: Red Sox v. Rays (Rays 4-3)
- World Series: Phillies v. Rays (Phillies 4-1)
So, the 2008 postseason won’t go down as the best in history. Maybe the best way to describe it was wacky. Still, with the Phillies celebrating their first World Series win in 28 years, the season is now done, and with that, fans of the national pastime will have to wait through another dull winter before spring starts the cycle all over again. Even if the postseason were dull, who wouldn’t trade that for no baseball at all?