Phillies president elated over victory

Phillies president elated over victory

PHILADELPHIA -- Team president David Montgomery has worked for the Phillies since 1971 and has been in his current role since 1997.

He's felt the fans' pain.

And now, after the Phillies clinched the National League East title on Sunday for the first time since 1993?

"We did it," he said. "The most amazing thing is loving the heart this team had. Whether it was coming from the 4-11 start, or going 8-2 on the road trip [through New York, St. Louis and Washington] leading up to this final homestand, this team always showed it had incredible heart and character. I'm so happy for the people involved, for the people who have been working for us here for the last 13, 14 years.

"I know we've teased the fans the last few years. I saw the reaction of our fans every time we'd come close and not exactly do it. We look over the last 14 years and we used to think that wasn't so long ago to us, but it was. That's why it means a lot more to them, to the fans and employees of this team who have stayed with us and stuck by us."

New chapter: Chris Coste's long anticipated second book will have to wait again.

The Phillies backup catcher's autobiography, "Catching the Dream," will have October additions.

"It's not the end of the story," Coste said. "It's the beginning of the end of the story because four weeks from now, we're going to have this same conversation. And that will be the end of the story."

In his second Major League season at age 34, Coste couldn't stop smiling long enough to sip his celebratory beer. The catcher's whirlwind season took him from 2006 feel-good story to victim of a 2007 numbers crunch. That sent him to Double-A Reading to catch regularly before finally resurfacing in Philadelphia.

And there he was on Sunday, charging toward Brett Myers after the final out was recorded. He would have had the jump-in-the-pitcher's arms moment, but Pat Burrell tackled Myers first.

"That was my fault," Coste said. "I told Myers when the inning started, 'Don't forget your catcher.' Then, I was too busy standing there on my own and didn't get there on time. Right before I got to him, Burrell took him out. Right when I reached him, I was like, '[Darn] it.'"

Good purchase: Tom Gordon came prepared.

Players were amused and jealous of Gordon's brilliant call to wear goggles during the champagne-spraying ceremony.

"He's a veteran and he's been through this before," Cole Hamels said. "I'll have to remember that."

Gordon said he made his wise purchase a week ago, and had in the clubhouse on Saturday, just in case. He was happy to use them on Sunday.

"That stuff burns your eyes," he said, with a laugh. "These work well."

Good job, guys: Former right-fielder Bobby Abreu said he will call several teammates to offer congratulations.

"I'm so happy," Abreu said. "I'm very, very happy because I know those guys are working hard. I know how they are. They're such good guys and they deserve to be in the playoffs."

What if the Yankees play the Phillies in the World Series?

"Anything can happen," Abreu said. "They've got such a good team. They've got the heart to play the game."

Thoughts: Burrell looked up in the sky a lot during the celebration, and thought of an important man in his life.

John Vukovich would've loved this.

"He's up there watching," Burrell said of the beloved member of the Phillies' family who passed away in March. "When I got here as a young player, all the stuff he taught me was to get to here. Vuk would've loved this. I feel like he's watching over us and he's here with us."

Philling in: Playoff rosters must be set by 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday. ... Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz left Sunday's game with a bruised left elbow an inning after getting hit by a pitch. He said he's fine.

And finally: "[Manager] Charlie [Manuel] never has a bad day. He keeps the right attitude and that carries over to the team and in the clubhouse. It always seems like he's always being second-guessed, but these players have worked hard for him and they respond to him." -- general manager Pat Gillick

Ken Mandel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.