Originally posted on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 1/26/12

Brad Lidge, an integral part of the Philadelphia Phillies 2008 Championship season, signed a 1-year $1 million deal with the Washington Nationals today.

For me, Brad Lidge will always have a special place. He will walk with the late Tug McGraw, linked eternally as the only two Philadelphia Phillies’ pitchers on the mound at the exact moment a World Series was won. Hopefully there will be another very soon (Jonathan Papelbon), but for the moment, it is just Lidge and McGraw.

While Lidge may have struggled over the last 3 years of his time in Philly, it will never overshadow what he meant to the 2008 Phillies and to a whole city of championship starved fans.

I know Philadelphia fans have that reputation of being hard-nosed and unforgiving, but the fact is that those who bring the fans what they want so badly will forever be elevated and appreciated in Philadelphia. It was nice to read some fan reactions to the news of Lidge signing in Washington and not see any negativity directed toward Lidge. Truth be told, I read far more negative comments directed toward Ruben Amaro Jr. today for not paying Lidge the $1 million salary to strengthen the Phillies’ bullpen and keep him here.

In 4 years in Philadelphia, Lidge logged 100 saves. It was the 48 in 2008 that will forever make him welcome in Philly. During his ups and downs, Lidge was always a class act. I never once heard him make an excuse for the issues or injuries that plagued him. He never blamed anyone, never pointed a finger, none of that.

Lidge is not the first piece of that magical team to leave town. Pat Burrell left town right after that glorious parade. But to me, Lidge is the most significant. This was the first goodbye that made me realize that 2008 team is growing older, and that instead of focusing on the disappointments of the last 3 years, I should be grateful for the memories made in ’08.

The Phillies are still a favorite in the NL East and probably in the NL, but it feels like the stranglehold is loosening. Maybe this team will only win one. Maybe that will have to suffice. Maybe there was magic in that team that can’t be recaptured again. Maybe.

All I know is that when I hear Brad Lidge’s name spoken, I will always return to a magical night in October 2008 when the Phillies ruled the universe and Brad Lidge and Carlos Ruiz embraced in sheer joy, and a city hardened by years of losing, finally got to smile… One more time.

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