PHILADELPHIA -- In the end, after the completion of a game that spanned three days and was unrivaled in World Series history, Commissioner Bud Selig walked across the field at Citizens Bank Park and referred to the extraordinary closing act of Game 5 as "baseball drama at its best."
"It was a tough week, but it ended beautifully," said Selig after the Phillies defeated the Rays, 4-3, in the conclusion of Game 5 to win their first World Series since 1980 and only the second in the 126-season history of the franchise. "It was an interesting World Series. It had its challenges. But the last three innings here were really baseball drama at its best. All's well that ends well."Because of the inclement weather that besieged the area for days, Selig had to delay Saturday night's Game 3 start until 10:06 p.m. ET and suspend Monday night's Game 5 after the top of the sixth inning when a driving rain made the field conditions unplayable. The game that was suspended with the Phillies and Rays tied 2-2 couldn't be started again on Tuesday night because of more bad weather. Selig made the decision to resume the game at 8:37 p.m. ET on Wednesday night after studying various weather forecasts and getting reports on the ground from Major League Baseball officials. "We wouldn't have played it if there was any chance we had to stop," he said after meeting with the umpires in their dressing room prior to the game. "The cold we have to deal with. That happens when you're playing this time of year." What fans ultimately got were three innings of splendid, see-saw baseball and a Series that ended when Phillies closer Brad Lidge finished a perfect 48-for-48 season by striking out Rays pinch-hitter Eric Hinske with the tying run on second base. "It had a great ending," Selig said amidst the din of a still roaring sellout crowd. "You couldn't ask for anything more." Selig saluted both teams and had special praise for the World Series champion Phillies, who finished 11-3 this postseason and unbeaten in seven games at home. "My congratulations," he said. "The Phillies are a great organization. Dave Montgomery [the team's general partner] has just been a great force within baseball. [Chairman] Bill Giles and [general manager] Pat Gillick, we've been friends for a long time. And [manager] Charlie Manuel did a terrific job." The Rays had to get by the Yankees to win their first postseason berth and beat the Red Sox to win the American League East. As if that wasn't enough, they defeated the defending World Series champion Red Sox in a seven-game AL Championship Series (including a Game 5 loss for the ages that would have deflated an unworthy team) to win their first pennant in their 11th season. "And I also want to congratulate Tampa Bay," Selig said. "I think [the Rays] had one of the most remarkable seasons. They're going to be a team to be reckoned with for a long time. "All in all it has been a terrific season for Major League Baseball and a great postseason."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.