Phillies history: 10-year anniversary of Game Five of 2008 World Series

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PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 29: J.C. Romero #16 of the Philadelphia Phillies reacts after Carlos Pena #23 of the Tampa Bay Rays lined out fot the third out in the top of the eighth inning during the continuation of game five of the 2008 MLB World Series on October 29, 2008 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 29: J.C. Romero #16 of the Philadelphia Phillies reacts after Carlos Pena #23 of the Tampa Bay Rays lined out fot the third out in the top of the eighth inning during the continuation of game five of the 2008 MLB World Series on October 29, 2008 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) /
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Game Five of the 2008 World Series, a game ingrained in the minds of Phillies fans, began, but not ended, ten years ago tonight.

Take yourself back to ten years ago. The Phillies just rattled off two wins at home, a walk-off thriller and 10-2 drubbing, to take a 3-1 lead in the 2008 World Series. The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Indians hadn’t blown a three-game lead in the championship yet, so you were likely feeling good heading into Game Five on Oct. 27, 2008.

45,940 people crammed into Citizens Bank Park as Cole Hamels took the mound for the decisive game. However, before the game even started, there was already drama occurring in the background.

Rain was in the forecast for the game, leaving up for debate the question of what to do if the game was rained out. Normally, a game is considered official once five innings (or four and a half if the home team is winning) are completed. However, it would seem unfair for the rain to shorten the game if Philadelphia was winning, therefore giving them a championship without winning a full game.

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League commissioner Bud Selig agreed, saying that no team would clinch the World Series in a rain-shortened game. Since the Rays play in a dome, he was essentially saying the Phillies couldn’t win that night if a full game wasn’t played. Selig’s pre-game ruling turned into an official rule during the offseason for all postseason and regular season tiebreaker games.

The game began at 8:30 PM and it wasn’t long before Citizens Bank Park was rocking. Shane Victorino opened up the scoring in the bottom of the first inning with a two-run single to score Chase Utley and Jayson Werth. The Rays brought the game to within one in the fourth thanks to an RBI single by Evan Longoria.

As expected, the rain turned from a drizzle to a downpour by the middle innings. By the top of the sixth, puddles started to form in the infield. Hamels got two outs to start the inning, but B.J. (now Melvin) Upton reached base on a grounder to Jimmy Rollins that he couldn’t handle. Upton stole second then scored on a single by Carlos Peña.

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After the inning ended, the grounds crew was forced to bring the tarp onto the field as the infield became soaked with rain. With the forecast for the rest of the night not looking any better, the league was forced to suspend the game, per Selig’s ruling from earlier in the day. The game could not be finished until two days later on Oct. 29.

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This game took a unique place in the record books as it was the first time a World Series game was suspended and later resumed. What happened once the game resumed two days later? We’ll take another look back at the second half of Game Five on the anniversary this Sunday.

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