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Funkstown native pitches in for World Series win

October 31, 2008|By BOB PARASILITI

PHILADELPHIA -- Mick Billmeyer woke up Thursday morning with a new title -- World Series champion.

The Philadelphia Phillies bullpen coach and Funkstown native admits he isn't sure yet how it feels to wear the crown, but the significance of the accomplishment started to sink in when he realized something.

"There are no more games," Billmeyer said Thursday afternoon during a cell phone interview. "And what I like about that is that we ended it as the last team standing."

The Phillies won their first world championship since 1980 Wednesday night with a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 5 of the World Series. Billmeyer will join the Phillies in a champions parade through the streets of Philadelphia today at noon.

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For Billmeyer, the Game 5 victory was satisfying because it showcased the relief pitchers who he works with in the bullpen. Monday's game was suspended due to rain with the scored tied in the sixth inning, leaving the relievers to work in place of starter Cole Hamels when the game resumed Wednesday.

"The bullpen was great. They have been all year," Billmeyer said. "They were a bunch of castoffs that came together."

Billmeyer served as both coach and emotional supporter in the bullpen. He used words of encouragement and instruction, and evaluated each pitcher's mechanics while catching their warmup pitches.

"They knew what they are doing, but they kept coming up to me and asking, 'What do we have on this guy again?'" he said. "I'd tell them and then tell them to be aggressive and use your good (stuff)."

Phillies closer Brad Lidge struck out Tampa Bay's Eric Hinske to end the game, a moment that Billmeyer will savor.

"When it was over, I stood there for a second," he said. "(The pitchers) just took off and left their gloves. I watched the celebration ... I was watching all the fans, too. They were going crazy. Then I took off my shin guards, because I had just caught Lidge. I walked out to the middle of the field and everyone was out there hugging each other. It was great."

Billmeyer was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the second round of the 1985 draft and spent his career entirely in the minor leagues, playing for the Baltimore, Texas and California organizations. He has been with the Phillies since 2000, and became the catching instructor and bullpen coach for Philadelphia in 2004.

After the parade, Billmeyer plans to come home to spend the holidays with his family, relax and play golf.

"If you win this as a player, the feeling has to be unbelievable," Billmeyer said. "But it feels pretty good to win it as a coach. ... I've always wondered how this felt for the coaches and managers who have won this so many times.

"Now, I know."




  • The Phillies celebration parade can be seen Friday, Oct. 31 at noon on ESPNEWS.

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