"This series opens the door for small-city franchises who are relying on draft choices, smart trading, and player development, and it gives a higher probability to teams like the Rays to sustain their success," says Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist at Smith College in Northampton, Mass. With equity finding its way back into the sport of summer, major-league dynasties will have to adjust – perhaps by taking a page from the playbooks of this year's World Series contenders. "[Big payroll] teams will have ... a tougher job to maintain dominance," he says.
"A lot of residents read The New York Times and when the Phillies or Eagles win, the article is a paragraph, and when they lose, it's a much bigger article," says Mills Chapman, a Philadelphia-area schoolteacher and longtime Phillies fan.
The win is particularly sweet in this sports-obsessed city, a place where almost everyone can tell you where they were when their team lost their last World Series attempt in 1993.
This victory wasn't easy. Game 5 actually started Monday but was suspended when the term Mudville was more appropriate for the playing field. The next day, Mother Nature intervened with gale-force winds and frigid temperatures. The Phillies' win on Wednesday night had a little bit of everything – home runs, doubles, stolen bases – and a Rays runner, the tying run, stranded on second base in the top of the ninth inning.