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WAITING IT OUT

Rain causes the latest start time for a Series game in history.

Game 3 set a World Series record before it started.

A 91-minute delay led to the latest start in Series history, with Phillies left-hander Jamie Moyer's first pitch to Rays leadoff man Akinori Iwamura - a strike, by the way - coming at 10:06 p.m.

The day- and evening-long rain was expected, but MLB officials were hopeful it would clear by the original 8:35 p.m. start time. It took a bit longer; with the rain down to a drizzle, the tarp was finally removed at 9:18.

Pregame introductions were scaled back to just the starters, and the ceremony, featuring anthem singer Taylor Swift, Phillies Hall of Famer Steve Carlton throwing the first pitch and an appearance by Tim McGraw, the country singer who is the son of former Phillie Tug McGraw, was condensed.

Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB officials were close to postponing the game.

"We were right up against it," MLB senior vice president Rich Levin said. "The commissioner brought all parties together and everyone wanted to play. Both clubs wanted to play."

Rays manager Joe Maddon said most of his players were handling the delay - and the cancellation of batting practice - well, watching college football and taking advantage of the spacious visitors clubhouse at 5-year-old Citizens Bank Park.

"You're fortunate to have a delay like this in this ballpark. If you're in Fenway, in that clubhouse, it gets kind of annoying," Maddon said. "You have all the amenities and you get yourself a nice cheesesteak while you're waiting or watch a game on the tube. J.P. (Howell) is up there watching Texas vs. Oklahoma State right now. This kind of facility ameliorates that situation a bit and permits you to get through the moment."

He wasn't as sure about starter Matt Garza, who is a bit high-strung to begin with and typically spends his time watching movies on a personal video recorder and listening to his iPod.

"Garza's going to be different. I don't know what we're going to do with him. Just tranquilize him?" Maddon said. "If there's a padded room around here, I'd really like to know about it so he can go out there and bounce around a bit."

The concerns about Garza were justified, as he allowed a single, a walk (after starting Jayson Werth 3-and-0) and a wild pitch in his first nine pitches. But Maddon went to the mound and appeared to calm him down.

Maddon took advantage of the time to visit with some of the dozens of friends and family (including his mom, Beanie) who made the drive from his hometown of Hazleton, Pa., coming out to shake hands, sign autographs and pose for a few photographs.

"It's crazy, quite frankly. They're having a blast," Maddon said. "You have to understand from my perspective, I know what's going on for me personally, but the most gratifying part is to see them enjoying the moment so much. That is truly to me what I really pick up on. I know how much my mom has enjoyed this, my whole family."

The Phillies fans were wet, but their mood was hardly dampened as they cheered just about every step from when the grounds crew came on the field. They greeted Rays cleanup hitter Evan Longoria with a roaring chorus of "Eva, Eva," in reference to the actress of the same name.

The delay was the longest at the start of a game in Series history. The previous latest start came the last time the Series was in Philadelphia, when Game 3 against the Blue Jays started at 9:24 p.m. after a 72-minute delay.

The last Series rainout was Game 4 of 2006 in St. Louis.

Marc Topkin can be reached attopkin@sptimes.com

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