Cold Philly Rain Delays World Series

Fans watch the sixth inning in the pouring rain during Game 5 of the baseball World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays in Philadelphia on Oct. 27, 2008.
Donna Gentekos was shivering, her zipped-up red jacket the last of four layers of Phillies gear keeping her covered.

Gentekos had long abandoned her prime seat in section 141 and tried to stay warm standing outside Harry The K's, a sports bar located just below the left field scoreboard. Her husband was at the concession stand buying hot cocoa.

She was cold and uncomfortable at Citizens Bank Park, but there was no way she was leaving Game 5 of the World Series on Monday night.

"I just want it done," she said, moments before the tarp came out.

Gentekos was one of 45,940 soggy fans who have to wait another day — or more.

The chance to wash away lousy memories with a Game 5 win instead may have washed a way a chance to win a World Series title at home.

Winning a championship has never been easy in Philadelphia. With the Phillies on the brink of their first World Series championship in 28 years, fans instead had the title drought go on for another day. Game 5 of the World Series was suspended because of rain in the sixth inning with the Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays tied at 2.

Philly fans have waded through 25 years of bad trades, bad luck, and bad players waiting for a parade and a party that would make 'em all forget about 1980. Now add rain to the lengthy list of roadblocks.

"This is exactly why you don't want to start a World Series game so late," said fan John Vanore. "It's going to the wee hours of the morning and you're going to lose a lot of spectators. They knew the rain was coming. They should have played tomorrow."

Now the Philly fans again have to wait to celebrate.

The start of Game 3 on Saturday night was delayed 91 minutes by rain. The first pitch wasn't thrown until 10:06 p.m. — the latest start in Series history — and the Phillies' 5-4 win ended at 1:47 a.m.

Fans fled seats that cost hundreds of dollars and flooded the concourses looking for cover. They couldn't do more than shuffle along in the rising puddles. They stood huddled in their Phillies sweaters, garbage bags and rain coats six or seven deep behind home plate, straining to catch a glimpse of Cole Hamels before the tarp came on the field.

A downpour didn't dampen the enthusiasm of Paul Daly, who was willing to stay until the end.

"It's the World Series. It's a clincher," he said. "We watched every game this season. We're not leaving until it starts to snow."

"And I have school tomorrow!" piped in his 8-year-old son, Colin.

Ashburn Alley, the outfield entertainment area normally stuffed with fans, was almost vacant. They traded waiting for Tony Luke's cheesesteaks to gather around TVs at the covered concession stands to watch the game played behind them.

Rob Menapace left his soggy seat in section 418 to escape the rain.

"I'd rather play the game in this than 70 degree weather, especially if they win," he said. "This is crazy, but it's fun. We've been waiting a long time for this. A little rain isn't going to stop us."

"It's the experience. The cold rain, the weather, it adds to the whole experience."

Minutes after the game was suspended, Nicole DeLuca was on her cell phone calling out of work on Tuesday.

A college student in New York City, she was down to cheer on her hometown Phils and needed someone to cover her shift at the restaurant where she works.

"You don't get a World Series every year," she said.

Outside the park, fans were just as wet and disappointed.

Paul Murtha, 47, of Harrisburg, won't be able to come back to the city for tomorrow's game.

"I'm disappointed, but you can't control the weather," Murtha said, walking through Marconi Plaza in South Philadelphia, which would have been the site of a Phillies celebration. "It would have been nice to see them win today, but I'm confident they're going to win it anyway, that they'll do it tomorrow or in Tampa."