For the second time in history baseball is being played on Halloween.

The first time, Tino Martinez hit a 2 out 2 run game tying homer in the bottom of the 9th and Derek Jeter hit a walk off shot… both off of Byung-Hyun Kim in Game 4 of the 2001 World Series.

That World Series was played on October 31st because September 11th delayed the playoffs by 10 days.

This World Series is delayed so Fox can promote Lie to Me.

Tomorrow night’s game is, dare I say it, a must win for the Phillies.

Yeah I know the Phillies did what they needed to do to take home field advanage away from the Yankees.

But suddenly the Phillies find themselves in a tricky spot.

Cole Hamels is on the mound. Remember him? The dud who won the NLCS and World Series MVP last year?

A TV producer I know who will remain nameless is a big Phillies fan. He said the Phils should start J. A. Happ over Hamels.

I asked “You’d put Hamels in the bullpen?”

And he replied… and I quote… “F*ck him! Might help him grow up!”
(Asterix was added by me.)

So Hamels is a year has fallen from post season ace to an F bomb.

If Hamels earns that F bomb tomorrow and the Phillies fall 2-1, then Sabathia will take the mound in Game 4 and make a 3-1 hole very real.

So win this game Hamels. Show the same resolve and fight that Laurie Strode had in that closet.

Get the coat hanger and jab it in the Yankees eye!

If you don’t stop them… the Yankees will keep coming back to you and even Dr. Loomis won’t be able to save you now!

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What is it with folksy good ole boy managers and Pedro Martinez in Yankee Stadium?

I don’t think there is a Phillies fan alive who wouldn’t have taken 6 innings 2 runs by Pedro Martinez in his Game 2 outing. Especially with a completely rested bullpen to throw innings 7, 8 and 9.

So when Pedro came out to start the 7th, I was surprised.

This isn’t a second guess. I sat on my couch in South Pasadena and said “I can’t believe he’s staying in… take him out if he let’s up a batter.”

Do you know when I said that exact same sentence regarding Pedro Martinez in Yankee Stadium?

Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.

I remember when he came out to throw the 8th after an entire season of going 7 innings tops, I thought “Odd… they haven’t hit Williamson, Timlin nor Embree all series… take him out the second he lets up a hit.”

With 1 out Jeter doubled and I said “Take him out now!”

And we all know what happened.

Well tonight I said the same thing… and when Jerry Hairston Jr singled I said out loud “OK, go to the pen.”

And another gray haired good ole boy manager let him in a hitter too long.

The Yankees eventually scored that insurance run that gave the Yankees breathing room they would need.

Imagine the 2 runners on base in the 8th for the Phillies with only a 1 run deficit.

Imagine Ryan Howard coming to the plate representing the tying run… or Matt Stairs coming up with Ibanez at second as the tying run.

Well it is too late now…

The Phillies got the split in New York but on Halloween, the pressure falls back on the Phillies shoulders. They can’t fall behind 2-1 and face Sabathia.

I was going to declare this is the beginning of a great series… but 2006 began with a split. The Cardinals won game 1, the Tigers won game 2 and it looked like it might be a long series.

Nope done in 5.

Last year the Rays and the Phillies split and it looked like the series was going to go on for a while. It did, but that was because of the rain delays and suspended games!

But if the Yankees and Phillies exchange wins in Games 3 and 4… this might turn into a classic.

Just let’s hope Charlie Manuel squashes the Grady Little within.

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New York and Philadelphia… World Series rivals BEFORE 1950

If you read or listened to World Series coverage this year, you’d think this was the second time New York and Philadelphia squared off in the World Series.

And it is true, the Phillies and the Yankees only played each other one other time… the 1950 World Series.

But well before the Phillies became THE team in Philadelphia and the Yankees became the dominating force in baseball, Philadelphia and New York squared off three different times with great teams that were the class of the American and National Leagues.

When the World Series was formed in the beginning of the 20th century, John McGraw’s Giants were a powerhouse in the National League. And Connie Mack’s Athletics were quickly becoming the best team in the American League.

Now of course that would be a Bay Area rivalry, but back then the Giants were the best team in New York and the Athletics ruled Philadelphia baseball.

The Yankees were known as the Highlanders and were inconsistent in the standings.
The Phillies were mediocre non contenders.

But New York and Philadelphia would meet in the 1905, 1911 and 1913 World Series.

Along with their larger than life manager, McGraw, the Giants featured Hall of Famers Christy Mathewson, Roger Bresnahan, Joe McGinnity and Rube Marquand.

Connie Mack, who was the very symbol of Philadelphia baseball for half a century, played future Hall of Famers Chief Bender, Eddie Plank, Rube Waddell, Frank “Home Run Baker” and Eddie Collins.

A pretty impressive array of talent in the pre-Babe Ruth era.

The Giants won the 1905 World Series, 4 games to 1. Christy Mathewson threw three complete game shutouts in six days. Safe to say he wasn’t on a pitch count.

In 1911, the Athletics finally got to Mathewson in a dramatic Game 3. Frank “Home Run” Baker earned his nickname with a game tying homer with one out in the 9th inning off of Matty. The Athletics would score the eventual winning run on an error in the 11th.

The Giants would have some late inning heroics of their own in Game 5. One out from elimination, Doc Crandall hit an RBI double and Josh Devore singled him home to tie the game. Fred Merkle would drive in the winning run in the 10th.

But the Athletics would win big in Game 6 behind Chief Bender, 13-2.

Two years later, it would again be New York versus Philadelphia. In Game 2, Mathewson faced another future Hall of Famer, Eddie Plank.

Mathewson threw a 10 inning complete game shutout, driving in the winning run himself in the 10th.

But the Athletics won every other game and took the series in 5. Hall of Famer Eddie Plank out pitched Mathewson in the Game 5 finale.

So taking those three series and the 1950 World Series, Philadelphia and New York are now tied 2 series apiece.

They are playing the rubber match.

Hey look at that! I found a little MORE drama for the Philadelphia/New York match up!

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