10/26/08 12:33 AM ET
Series memories of Material Girl
Madonna's concert at Spectrum entertained scribe in 1993
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
If you're a boy or a girl
If the music's pumping it will give you new life
You're a superstar, yes, that's what you are, you know it
PHILADELPHIA -- I kept thinking about Madonna tonight.
It was 15 years ago that the last latest start in World Series history happened, right here in this vicinity, because of a one hour and 12-minute delay that pushed back Game 3 between the Blue Jays and Phillies.
That night, I was in the press box at Veterans Stadium working for The Sporting News, and you knew we were going to be socked in because of the forecast. I got up during pregame, walked across the street to the Spectrum (now in its final year), bought a cheap ticket to Madonna's "Girlie Show" Tour, and found myself about 20 rows back on the floor while everyone back at The Vet waited and waited.
Madonna performed her hit "Vogue" from her "Erotica" album that night, on the makeshift burlesque stage. About halfway through the concert, I started to get that feeling in your gut -- that baseball intuition -- and squeezed my way out of the floor crowd and to the exits to walk back across the street to the World Series.
As I got to my seat, the "Star Spangled Banner" was about to be performed. It was perfect timing. Game 3 got under way, Philadelphia had its World Series back, the Blue Jays took that game by a 10-3 count, and ultimately Joe Carter did them all in with his walk-off homer in Toronto.
This comes to mind on a Saturday night in 2008 because this is the only World Series game that ever started later than that one. It was exactly the same visit by Mother Nature, amazingly, 15 years later to the week. Another Game 3 pushed way, way back into the night. This time it was at a beautiful new park. The first pitch was delayed by 91 minutes, starting at 10:06 p.m. ET. In 1993, it was at 9:24.
Saturday's rain delay was the first at the start of a World Series game since Game 2 of the 2005 World Series, October 23, at Chicago, a seven-minute delay, and the longest rain delay to start a World Series game. The longest rain delay in World Series play came in Game 6 of the 1982 Series at St. Louis, a two hour and 13 minute delay.
When all else fails and you long to be
Something better than you are today
I know a place where you can get away
It's called a dance floor, and here's what it's for, so ...
The Who will be performing in a concert tour stop at the adjacent Wachovia Center on Sunday night while we are at Citizens Bank Park for Game 4. If they had been here tonight, I probably would have done the same thing just for tradition. Philly fans certainly are experiencing an entertainment rush right now. This Sports Complex is a massive area that houses all of the major sports teams, sharing communal parking. Tailgating went on all day Saturday as the Flyers played the Devils at 4 p.m., then there was the World Series rain-and-play, and then there will be Eagles vs. Falcons at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday followed at night by World Series Game 4 and a simultaneous gig by Pete Townsend, Roger Daltry and the other band members.
The Phillies' front office is trying to get the word out in any way possible for their fans to take public transportation. That message has just been conveyed. It could be one of the worst parking nightmares in sports history, when you think about it. Eagles, World Series, The Who. All in the same parking lot. Literally.
Greta Garbo, and Monroe
Dietrich and DiMaggio
Marlon Brando, Jimmy Dean
On the cover of a magazine
Maybe The Who will be as good as Madonna was that night 15 years ago on these grounds. Some things have changed a lot and some are the same. Madonna had short platinum hair then; now she is on all the tabloids because of a messy divorce case. The Vet is part of the parking lot in the Sports Complex now.
In 1993, they were just starting to make some noise about something called the "World Wide Web." Bill Clinton was starting the first of consecutive terms as president of the United States -- the only such instance of a Democrat president in the country since Jimmy Carter moved out of the Oval Office in January 1981. Just think, in about one week, the next U.S. president will be elected, and some think it finally will be another Democrat in Barack Obama while many others think the Republican beat will go on with John McCain. Only Nov. 4 will tell for sure.
In 1993, John Kruk was a disheveled first baseman for a Phillies World Series team -- these days he is known to most baseball fans as a longtime analyst for "ESPN Baseball Tonight." In 1993, Evan Longoria was 8. In 1993, Cito Gaston was managing the Blue Jays to a repeat title for Canada; he is managing them now as well.
In 1993, Darren Daulton homered in Game 4 (Oct. 20) against Toronto. On Saturday night, Carlos Ruiz became the only other Phillies catcher to homer in a World Series game, uncorking that blast in the second inning off Matt Garza of the Rays.
Where were you when the World Series came to Philadelphia in 1993? I was waiting out some rain by watching Madonna next door. It brought back memories as I watched thousands and thousands of Phillies fans head for cover, many of them sitting on cold floors of the covered concourses, many of them imbibing in a cold libation, many of them booing assorted Rays fans who came here with cowbells.
This was Phillies baseball in late October. It was deja vu all over again. Madonna was in your life then, as she surely still is today.
Oooh, you've got to
Let your body move to the music
Oooh, you've got to just
Let your body go with the flow
Oooh, you've got to
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.