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News » Rollins really does have team to beat


Rollins really does have team to beat


Rollins really does have team to beat
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - No player backs up his bold words like Jimmy Rollins.

The MVP shortstop made a splash in 2007 when he said the Phillies would be the team to beat in the NL East. They stormed back from a huge September hole to overtake the Mets and win the division. Rollins had a career year and looked like a prophet while leading the Phillies to the playoffs for the first time in 15 years.

This year, he predicted 100 wins and said the Phillies would go "as deep as you can get."

Philly couldn't go much deeper on Wednesday night. His Phillies beat Tampa Bay 4-3 in a suspended Game 5 to win the franchise's first World Series championship since 1980.

Wearing goggles, Rollins was a playful instigator in the clubhouse, spraying champagne at anyone who walked by. Rollins hit only .227 in the five-game series, but he didn't seem to care while he celebrated.

He also never had a doubt the Phillies would him make him look like anything less than baseball's top prognosticator.

"That means we have a good team," Rollins said. "I wanted us to believe that we were good and that we could win.

"People know it and they keep it inside. I guess it's the politically correct thing to do. That's not how we do things back home."

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NEW RULES: Following this wet and wacky World Series, Major League Baseball might consider amending the rules so that all postseason games must be played to full length.

"Worth looking at," Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, wrote Wednesday in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Game 5 between the Rays and Phillies resumed Wednesday night after it was suspended because of rain Monday with the score tied 2-all in the middle of the sixth inning.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said Monday night that even if the Rays had not tied it in the top of the sixth, there was no way he would allow a World Series game to be shortened to less than nine innings.

Thus, if the Phillies had led an official game when it was stopped, the game would not be over. In effect, the rain delay could have lasted for days.

"I expect that we will be discussing that with them," union head Donald Fehr said.

A game becomes official when the team that is losing has made at least 15 outs, and regular-season games occasionally are cut short because of bad weather.

No postseason game has ever been shortened, but as of now there is no rule that states it couldn't happen.

"I don't have any problem with the program as it exists," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said Wednesday. "Playing it over from the beginning, again, if that's what had been chosen to do, I would have been fine with that. If this is the format, I'm good with this. I'm the manager of the Rays. I'm not about creating all of this doctrine right now. I'm just going by what we're told we're supposed to do."

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MOYER'S MOMENT: After 22 major league seasons and thousands of floating "fastballs," Jamie Moyer is a World Series champion.

"My whole career, it's been worth it. Worth it for this moment. To wait and finally get this win, it's so worth everything," a teary-eyed Moyer said Wednesday night after his Philadelphia Phillies beat Tampa Bay 4-3 in a suspended Game 5.

It was the club's second title in 126 seasons, but Moyer's first in the majors. And how sweet it was for a 45-year-old pitcher who grew up a Phillies fan in nearby Souderton and ditched school to attend the 1980 championship parade.

The soft-tossing Moyer pitched well in Game 3 but wound up with a no-decision in his World Series debut. He cried on the field after the clincher, and teammates chased him through the clubhouse to soak him in champagne.

"My heart was racing," Moyer said. "I don't know if we really believe it yet. I do know that we won this game. I know we're the World Series winner."

After the game, Moyer went to the mound with teammates and dug up the pitching rubber. Asked if he was ready for another jubilant parade down Broad Street, he said: "You bet."

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HARRASSING THE RAYS: A group of Phillies fans showed up Wednesday morning at the Hotel du Pont in Wilmington, Del., to make sure the Tampa Bay Rays got a true Philly send-off to the ballpark.

The red-clad fans chanted "Let's Go Phillies!" and did their best to annoy the Rays, who moved into the posh hotel after Game 5 was suspended because of rain Monday night.

The Rays had already checked out of their hotel in Philadelphia and couldn't find any in the city to accommodate them, so traveling secretary Jeff Ziegler scrambled to get them rooms.

If the Rays thought being 25 miles south of Philly would keep them far enough from the passionate Phillies fans, they were wrong. By lunchtime, 40 had gathered.

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COOPERSTOWN, HERE WE COME: The Baseball Hall of Fame plans to open an exhibit Nov. 14 highlighting the Philadelphia Phillies' 2008 championship.

It will feature several artifacts donated by the Phillies and Rays, including the bat used by Philadelphia pitcher Joe Blanton in Game 4 when he became the first pitcher to homer in a World Series since 1974, and the jersey worn by Phillies ace Cole Hamels in Game 5.

Also headed to Cooperstown are Ryan Howard's bat from Game 4, when he had two homers and five RBIs, and spikes worn by Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton during the World Series.

In addition, Rays manager Joe Maddon donated his cap.

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DESTINY'S DARLINGS: Phillies manager Charlie Manuel thought his team had the edge going into Wednesday night, even though Tampa Bay rallied to tie Game 5 before it was suspended by rain in the middle of the sixth inning Monday.

"I wouldn't trade positions. So I guess I feel like I have an advantage," Manuel said before the Phillies won 4-3 to clinch the championship. "That's kind of how I look at it. Destiny is one thing, but if they're destined, we want to definitely fight through destiny. That's about all I can tell you."

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Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 30, 2008

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