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Rain doesn't dampen enthusiasm

Rain doesn't dampen enthusiasm

PHILADELPHIA -- Like a lot of sports fans at Citizens Bank Park, Russ Taddie of Southhampton, Pa., might as well just sleep here tonight.

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"I thought they'd call it early before game time," he said while watching the 10:06 p.m. ET start Saturday of Game 3 in the World Series. "It's gonna be a late night for sure.

"I'm going to the Eagles game right here at 1 o'clock [Sunday]. I'm meeting folks at 8:30 in the morning at my house, then go right back here and tailgate."

Hey, that's baseball. And football. And hockey earlier on Saturday, and then The Who in concert at the Wachovia Center next door Sunday night while Game 4 is going on. This is all happening on one Sports Complex, one of the most unbelievable concentrations of bigtime entertainment ever in one place within a little over 24 hours. Welcome to the World Series, Philly-style.

The Fall Classic returned after a 15-year absence here, and they had to wait just a little bit longer on Saturday. The rain delay of one hour and 31 minutes forced most of the sellout crowd inside on the concourses, where fans hunkered down and waited it out.

Then came the explosion of glee when the starting lineups were introduced and the rockets red glare exploded overhead during Taylor Swift's magnificent and memorable rendition of the national anthem. They cheered as Tim McGraw assisted in the delivery of the game ball for the first pitch, most of them knowing that it was his late father, Tug, who threw the last pitch of the only Phillies World Series championship in 1980.

Yes, the same Taylor Swift who sang the hit song "Tim McGraw." It was kind of a wild and crazy night at the ballpark, no doubt about it. The rain would stop and start and stop and start. But in the end, it was a World Series game just the same.

A lot chillier and more blustery than indoors at Tropicana Field down south.

"Thumbs up," Taddie said, standing along the third-base side. "I'm a season-ticket holder for many years. It was a good team this year, but it was always about beating the Mets. Now we're the ones here. Just look. "Everyone's psyched about it. We're glad to have a game here tonight. We think it's the best park in all of baseball, and all of the world gets to see it."

Geoff Blackwell of Syracuse, N.Y., was still happy to be watching a World Series game after driving four hours to see it. He was here with his former college buddy, Dave Gallagher of Jersey City, N.J.

"It's unbelievable," Blackwell said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. You gotta love it."

Tom Hutchinson of Philadelphia was just trying to get dry as the first pitch was thrown. "My pants are still soaked as you can see," he said. "I wish it would have started a long time ago."

In the bottom of the first, the Phillies scored right away. There was a big "World Series" logo on the grass outside of each side of the diamond. The sapphire seats that had been so soaked were now red, filled with fans who waited a long time for this.

Game 3 started late, really late, but in the first inning it was a boisterous, towel-waving madhouse and fans seemed to appreciate World Series baseball just the same. At some point they will be going home, maybe sleeping a little, and many of them will come right back here to the Sports Complex, parking and watching Eagles vs. Falcons.

There's no place quite like Philadelphia.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"content":["world_series" ] }
{"content":["world_series" ] }