NEW YORK -- The Phillies left Yankee Stadium late Wednesday night disappointed, but with an understanding of what they had accomplished.
They had lost the 2009 World Series in six games to the New York Yankees, but they were the first team in franchise history to play in consecutive World Series and the first National League team to play in consecutive World Series since the 1995-96 Atlanta Braves.
The Phillies have played in seven World Series in their 127-year history, and two of those seven have come the past two seasons.
"Obviously, it's difficult right now," second baseman Chase Utley said. "We still have to be pretty proud of ourselves. I don't think anybody should hang their head. Obviously, we didn't accomplish our ultimate goal, but I'm proud to be a teammate with every single guy in this clubhouse. It's going to be difficult for a few days then we're going to try to focus on next year. We're going to try to become the best players we can be."
Utley's teammates shared his sentiments.
They came up short, but very few players in baseball can say they have played in consecutive World Series. Very few players can say they have won a World Series.
But most of these Phillies can say they have done both those things.
"It's a long season and it's a grind," right-hander Joe Blanton said. "It's hard to get here. It's not easy to get here. A lot of guys play a long time and never get here. To win one and be able to have the opportunity to come back is special."
"We've got a great team," right-hander Brett Myers said. "We proved we weren't a fluke last year. We made it to the World Series. I expect us to be back here next year. If we're not, then it's a disappointing year for us. There's no doubt about it, this team has what it takes to be back here next year."
CHAMPS NO MORE
Only three National League teams have won back-to-back World Series. The Yankees have played a big part in that, preventing a repeat winner six times.
Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee thinks the Phillies can be back because they return a nucleus that includes himself, Utley, shortstop Jimmy Rollins, first baseman Ryan Howard, right fielder Jayson Werth, center fielder Shane Victorino, left fielder Raul Ibanez, left-hander Cole Hamels, right-hander Brad Lidge and right-hander Ryan Madson.
"We got this far, but we weren't able to finish it off," Lee said. "Now is the time to let our bodies rest and then crank it back up for Spring Training and try to do it all over again. It's not the way we wanted to end it, but it's the next best thing. We gave ourselves a chance. We were in the World Series. The Yankees outplayed us. They beat us. It is what it is.
"Now it's time to prepare for another long run. Hopefully we can get back here next year, and I think we will."
Lidge suffered through a season plagued with a bad right knee and a Major League-leading 11 blown saves. As tough as the year had been, he knew the historical significance of what the team had accomplished.
"We're very proud of what we accomplished," Lidge said. "We came up a little short of the goal, but we had a great season."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.