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October 28, 2008

Prospectus Today

Closer to a Tie

by Joe Sheehan

We've had closers and set-up men, LOOGYs and the occasional ROOGY. So it seems fitting that the commissioner presiding over baseball's era of extreme specialization also is most effective in a limited role: Bud Selig closes tied games.

In a decision that echoes back to the 2002 All-Star Game, Bud Selig suspended Game Five of the World Series indefinitely due to the weather in Philadelphia. He made the call with the game tied at two in the middle of the sixth inning. Due to a rule change enacted for the 2007 season, the game will be resumed from the point of suspension, as opposed to being declared a tie and played from the beginning. While the intention is to play the game tonight at 8:30 p.m., the projected weather in Philadelphia is poor, and most people think there will be no baseball until at least Wednesday night.

Now, let's start with the obvious: last night's game had to be stopped. The weather deteriorated rapidly starting around 9:30 p.m., and the last two half-innings were played in conditions completely unfit for baseball. That they played those innings speaks poorly for both the umpiring crew and the commissioner; had the game not been a World Series game, with the attendant attention from network executives, there is no chance that the teams would have taken the field for the top of the sixth. The problem with that, of course, is that a game of this importance should have a higher standard, not lower, for the conditions of play.

For example, in the fifth, Pedro Feliz popped a ball to the right side of the infield with first and second and one out. The infield fly rule was never called. Crew chief Tim Tschida said, "The infield fly rule requires the umpires' judgment to determine whether or not a ball can be caught with ordinary effort, and that includes wind." So the determination was that no infielder could make the play with "ordinary effort." If the weather won't let you call the infield fly rule, you shouldn't be playing an elimination game in the World Series.

Of course, had Selig and Tschida-the commissioner has ultimate authority in the World Series-elected to put the tarp on before the sixth, the prospect that it would never come off was apparent. By rule, a game called by rain after five complete innings (or 4˝ if the home team leads) is an official game, and the team leading is the victor.

After the game, Selig imperiously declared that he would simply not have allowed that. "We would have gone into a rain delay," he said, "and that rain delay would have lasted until, weather permitting, we could resume the game. And that might be a day or two or three or whatever."

It was never made explicit, but Selig, in his post-game answers, made it clear that he would have invoked the best-interests clause to prevent a World Series game from being declared over, official, or decided, before nine innings were played. He's absolutely right about this. Yes, it is a case of tearing up the rule book, but the postseason is not a game in June. Games should be played to their completion, and I suppose the only oddity is that we've never before had this situation arise, where a game perhaps would not have been played to its completion had circumstances fallen a certain way. Having discussed the situation Saturday and yesterday with both Rays president Matt Silverman and Phillies GM Pat Gillick, Selig correctly concluded that the World Series is a special case with special rules. I agree with all of this.

So why play the top of the sixth? Selig, Tschida, and Tim Welke all praised the Phillies' grounds crew for their management of the field up to that point, and apparently everyone involved believed that they could keep the field in playable condition. However, doing so for the bottom of the fifth and the top of the sixth entailed delaying the game twice while they worked on the field, and when the Phillies didn't oblige in the sixth, the way the Rays had in the fifth, with a pitching change, the field conditions became a joke. There was standing water throughout the infield. There was a sty around second base. The pitchers' mound and the batters' boxes were playable, which as Tschida and Welke pointed out, is the standard they use, but that standard failed last night. The top of the sixth inning never, ever should have been played as long as Selig was aware that not playing it was not going to result in a rain-shortened decision.

When the Rays scored, that allowed Selig to avoid invoking the best-interests clause. Unfortunately, it creates the impression that Selig wanted just that outcome, and allowed the game to continue just long enough to take him off the hook. That may be unfair, but there's no way to avoid that impression.

Starting the game was the right idea, as the forecast for the evening was for light rain, up to a quarter-inch, but nothing that would force a postponement. Selig's position that a World Series game must go the distance is also correct, and frankly, one I admire. The problem is simply the sixth inning, where Cole Hamels was asked to pitch in a storm, in which the Phillies were asked to defend in one, and where the game changed, perhaps irreparably, when there was no chance it would be completed that evening. You can argue that both teams played in the same conditions. On the game-tying hit by Pena, the field conditions affected both Pat Burrell, who couldn't charge the ball, and B.J. Upton, who rounded third like he was feeling for the mines. Tschida made the case that the situation was fair to all: "It turns out we have pretty identical line scores at the end of the day, and it didn't seem worse for one team or the other. What's fair is fair."

That is where things fall apart. Tschida is absolutely wrong about this. What happened last night was completely unfair to the Phillies. The line scores are not identical. The Rays have six numbers next to their name, the Phillies five. The Phillies had to pitch and play defense in the worst of the weather, and the Rays didn't. That aspect of last night, the timing of the decision to call the game in the context of what Selig said afterwards, is the big mistake.

As I mentioned yesterday, in the limited time I've been around him, I've grown to like Charlie Manuel, who's just a good guy who likes his job, loves baseball, and is open and accountable. Last night, Manuel would not speak to the media at all. That, as much as anything else, tells me that last night's decision was a mistake. If Manuel didn't want to address it, couldn't bring himself to talk about the decision with the media, his silence speaks volumes.

The decision to play the top of the sixth was the worst we've seen in a long time, and whether you choose to blame Tschida or Selig, the truth is that both are at fault. Their optimism about the field conditions and their faith in the Phillies' grounds crew is noble, but misplaced. The timing of their decision favored one participant over the other, and was an advantage that, in retrospect, did not need to be conferred.

So, now we wait. It's about 12:30 p.m. ET as I wrap this up, and it's pouring. This game will probably be held for Wednesday night, and note the word "night." Selig, in perhaps his most disingenuous moment of the entire press conference, said, "These fans obviously came and bought tickets for a night game, so they deserve to come back and see a night game." Right. Because the scheduling of World Series games is done taking into account, first and foremost, the convenience of the attendees. Because fans have demanded 8:30 local time starts for years. Because when World Series games are played in the Pacific time zone, MLB gives a rip about those people's work schedules.

The game will be a night game because Fox says so, and for Selig to sit there and say what he said insults everyone's intelligence. Just be honest and say that the game will be a night game because MLB doesn't control its own scheduling. As if the city of Philadelphia, and people holding tickets-and for that matter, how exactly do the Phillies determine who gets back into the park?-wouldn't be perfectly happy with a 7 p.m. start. Or 2 p.m. Or 9 a.m. That comment, to me, was the worst thing said last night, and goes a long way towards letting the world know who runs baseball.

Late word from MLB is that tonight's game is cancelled. This is the right decision under the circumstances, and MLB is correct to call it early, rather than get people to the park for no reason. The logistics of staffing, stocking, and filling the park for the remainder of the game may also require a bit more time, and this buys them that.

The effect on game play is unclear. Both teams now essentially start with completely clean bullpens. What we don't yet know is whether a potential Game Six would be played Thursday or Friday, and that knowledge may affect usage. Pushing Games Six and Seven back would also open up the possibility that Cole Hamels could start the first on short rest or the latter on full rest.

We'll update the situation later, through Unfiltered, as more information becomes available.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

53 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Evan
(47)

"EXCEPTION: Optional Rules 4.12(a)(7), 4.12(a)(8) and 4.12(a)(9) for National Association Leagues will not apply to the last scheduled game between the two teams during the championship season or league playoffs."

Oct 28, 2008 10:08 AM
rating: 1
 
straightoutofhxc

As I said in an Unfiltered post, that rule applies specifically to Optional Rules 4.12(a)(7), 4.12(a)(8) and 4.12(a)(9)...and looking over it all, it's still not clear exactly what to do in a World Series game. I have a feeling that, after this close call, the rules will be ammended over the offseason to mandate that postseason games must go the full 9 innings, and any game shortened due to weather will be suspended and resumed later, tie game or otherwise.

Oct 28, 2008 13:03 PM
rating: 0
 
sbnirish77

This rule was cited in three different stories today so it is important to realize it only applies to minor laegue games not major league games. So the use of it in defense of Bud is entirely inappropriate.


From Rany Jazayerli’s October 28, 2008 article reprinted today

The solution is so obvious that it already exists—at the minor league level.

From Rule 4.11:

National Association Leagues may also adopt the following rules for suspended games in addition to 4.11 (d) (1) & (2) above…: (3) The game has not become a regulation game (4 1/2 innings with the home team ahead, or 5 innings with the visiting club ahead or tied). (4) Any regulation game tied at the point play is stopped because of weather, curfew or other reason.

In other words, for National Assocation (i.e. minor league) teams, games which are tied, or games which are not "regulation" because they haven’t finished five innings, are allowed to be "suspended" and continued from the point of stoppage at the earliest convenient moment.

So why haven’t major league teams caught on? Simple: money. By allowing games to be considered complete as early as the fifth inning, major league teams don’t have to accommodate fans who bought tickets to a game they were unable to see to its completion.

Oct 28, 2008 13:29 PM
rating: 2
 
mcadwalader

If Selig was going to put aside normal procedures regarding rain delays and insist that this game go for a full nine innings, he's got to announce that BEFORE the game starts. Did he? I haven't seen anything to that effect. Assuming that he didn't, if the Rays hadn't scored, it would have seemed that Selig was making an ex post decision to take the title away from the Phillies, even if he wasn't. I imagine that would have gone over REALLY well in Philly. If he had done that, and the Rays had come back to win the Series, we would have been hearing about the stolen Series for the next hundred years.

Oct 28, 2008 10:19 AM
rating: 0
 
Mountainhawk

Hopefully, Selig will do the right thing and add the travel day on Thursday so the Phillies might have the opportunity he stole from them last night, having a chance to win the World Series with the ace on the mound.

Oct 28, 2008 10:20 AM
rating: -1
 
Randy Brown
(189)

Really? Selig made it rain? He's good.

Oct 28, 2008 11:27 AM
rating: 0
 
Mountainhawk

Selig decided to start the game when

(a) it was already raining
(b) every weather report in the world said it was going to get worse
(c) and once the game was stopped, they knew it was for 24-48 hours.

Oct 28, 2008 11:28 AM
rating: -2
 
Randy Brown
(189)

Hey, I love badmouthing Selig as much as the next guy, and I don't mean to single you out, but all this Bud-bashing is getting a bit out of hand. An important point which seems lost here is that Selig and the umpires were also well aware that tonight and tomorrow aren't looking any better weather-wise.

I find it hard to fault them for taking a risk and trying to get the game in - the alternative was staring at a 3-day hiatus in the World Series. That alternative also effects matchups and gives the bullpens a rest (probably an edge to the Rays). That alternative also has a potential effect on "fairness" (I wonder who got a better night of sleep last night - Phillies players sleeping in their own bed or Rays players finding an alternate hotel in Delaware). That alternative also effects viewer interest; this matters for short-term economic AND long-term grow-the-game considerations. To brush these concerns aside is disingenuous. For the first four innings, the conditions were poor but playable.

As of this moment, the Phillies are in a position to win a tied game where they have one more half-inning available to them. Even if they lose...and lose Game 6...they get Hamels back in Game 7 on either 3 days or full rest after a 75-pitch outing. As a fan of baseball who has no particular rooting interest in either team, I fail to see how the Phillies are getting disadvantageed here.

Oct 28, 2008 11:52 AM
rating: 2
 
Mountainhawk

If you think "poor but playable" is an acceptable condition to determine the champion of a league, then I guess that's a major difference of opinion.

I, for one, could not care less if FOX has to pre-empt House, or the Simpsons, or anything else because of the World Series. If game 5 has to be played on November 15th, then so be it, but play the entire game in weather that isn't going to affect the outcome of the game.

Plus, if nothing else, the game should not have been suspended in the middle of an inning. The Rays should have had to tried to field for the same number of innings as the Phillies did in conditions where a fly ball to left landed at first base, and any ground ball turned into a rocket.

Oct 28, 2008 11:59 AM
rating: -2
 
Randy Brown
(189)

Who mentioned Fox? I didn't. And if the concept is to wait for good weather conditions to determine the champion, I guess Selig will just have to have 'em play the games next June.

Oct 28, 2008 12:08 PM
rating: 1
 
ksalmon

"National Association" in this context means "minor leagues"; it does not apply here.

Oct 28, 2008 10:21 AM
rating: 0
 
stinkypete

It also says "last scheduled game", which to me says Game 7. Would the rule not apply if the Rays were ahead? I'll be shocked if this situation isn't addressed with clearer verbiage in the rule book this off-season.

The point is moot anyway, since anyone not wearing clothing with a Phillie logo on it would have to agree that the suspension of the game (even with the score still 2-1) would fall under the Commissioner's "best interests of baseball" powers.

Oct 28, 2008 11:24 AM
rating: 0
 
Mountainhawk

I'm a Phillies fan, and there is NO WAY I wanted the Phillies to win a title in a rain-shortened game. You lose so much not having the last out to celebrate, or the roar of the crowd as they realize it's over.

Oct 28, 2008 11:32 AM
rating: -1
 
Matt Kory

Joe, great article, but I have to disagree with you about the weather here. I live in Philly and it was pouring last night when the game began. I couldn't believe they started it when they did. Minimally, it should have been called two or even three innings before it was. The weather was terrible and both teams had to play in it when neither should have. Now if you want to say the umpiring was unfair in Philly's favor, especially the strike zone, thats an argument I'd agree with.

Oct 28, 2008 10:24 AM
rating: 2
 
chrishobson

I personally had no problem with the 6th starting, or ending when it did. Sometimes things like that happen.

Oct 28, 2008 10:55 AM
rating: -3
 
Mountainhawk

The instant an umpire determines that a lazy pop up isn't catchable by ordinary effort, and therefore the infield fly rule doesn't apply, is the time you know the game has gone on too long.

Oct 28, 2008 11:03 AM
rating: 3
 
chrishobson

I actually always liked playing in the rain lol.

Oct 28, 2008 13:08 PM
rating: -2
 
agentsteel53

me too. but I could never field a lick to start with, so I had no dignity to lose ;)

Oct 28, 2008 16:12 PM
rating: 0
 
sbnirish77

Joe has pretty much nailed this one but shouldn't all parties know the rules of engagnement before the game starts? Did the 3B coach for TB last night really have to get into Bud's head to know what Bud thought what was in the best interest of baseball, before waving the runner home?

Convinced that this was your once chance to get a run home, and avoid going home for the winter, you wave that guy home. In the middle innings of a 1-run game, that is going to be played to completion, I don't know if you send him.

Not knowing the rules of engegement simply makes the decision even more confusing.

The biggest error was that all parties -Maddon, Pena, TV announcers, the public - did not know that Bud had decided to play the game to completion.

Oct 28, 2008 11:04 AM
rating: 1
 
aryanglass

They send BJ Upton home from second with 2 outs on any ball hit to the OF, regardless of the situation.

Oct 28, 2008 11:57 AM
rating: 1
 
jwdinnin

Now that the resumption of the game is delayed until Wednesday, any chance that the Phillies throw Hamels out there for another inning or two given that it would be (I think) his throw day?

Oct 28, 2008 11:04 AM
rating: 0
 
Mountainhawk

Wouldn't his throw day be Thursday? I thought it was rest-rest-throw-rest-pitch?

More likely, they'll save him for a game 7 start, be it on short rest or full rest, depending if there is a travel day.

Oct 28, 2008 11:15 AM
rating: -1
 
jrobs7777

mattymatty nailed this one. Selig and crew neglected to look at local forecasts. Not sure which weather forecasts were consulted, but by 630pm, the AccuWeather blog basically said that the game should not be played. Bolaris on Fox said that it would rain throughout. All local news outlets familiar with the local weather patterns saw weather system's development and were skeptical. MLB dropped the ball there. The game should not have been started.

Oct 28, 2008 11:12 AM
rating: 3
 
dodgerdan
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Bud Selig, Car Salesman Extraordinaire,the commissioner who oversaw "The Steroid Era", is a flat-out PeaBrain!

Oct 28, 2008 11:13 AM
rating: -31
 
silviomossa

Do you think this might push baseball to require newly built stadiums to have retractable roofs? Do they even have that power? Just wondering...

Oct 28, 2008 11:14 AM
rating: -1
 
Mountainhawk

No, because baseball indoors is unnatural. The real solution is to roll back the season to 140-148 games, and end the World Series in early October, when weather patterns are typically better in much of the country.

Oct 28, 2008 11:16 AM
rating: 0
 
aryanglass

Isn't October the month with the least amount of rain in Philly other than February?

link: http://www.weather.com/outlook/travel/businesstraveler/wxclimatology/monthly/graph/USPA1277?from=month_bottomnav_business

Oct 28, 2008 11:59 AM
rating: 0
 
silviomossa

Retractable roofs do not require baseball to be played indoors. Only when it is inappropriate outdoors, as it was last night.

I don't see any games getting chopped off the schedule. Owners aren't likely to give up the money.

Oct 28, 2008 12:09 PM
rating: 0
 
jefferickson

Also, cutting down on the number of off-days and travel days in the postseason is certainly feasible. There's no real need to have two off-days between the end of the ALCS and Game 1 of the World Series.

Oct 28, 2008 14:25 PM
rating: 0
 
SC

At this point, with every city but two having built new stadia in the last 15 years, it's an interesting intellectual argument, but practically irrelevant, as there won't be enough new buildings to have an effect.

Oct 28, 2008 13:59 PM
rating: 1
 
greenie55

Bud is just making this stuff up as he goes along. It's insulting. Thank you Joe for pointing out that the King of King's is not Bud Selig; it's definately not the "best interests of the game"; it's Fox. Baseball is selling it's soul for a dollar today with no regard for tomorrow. The game is losing fans - regardless of what the suits say - and will continue to lose fans. What the heck is wrong with starting a couple of the WS games at 7 or 7:30. Give the kids (on both coasts) a chance to watch the games...or do the kids even care about baseball enough to watch anymore? There was time when the World Series was one of the biggest events of the year -- those days are passed.

As a baseball fan, I am appalled at what happened last night. They deserve every ounce of bad publicity they get from that fiasco.

Oct 28, 2008 11:17 AM
rating: 1
 
mikecha

1. the Phillies are up 3 games to 1. They're tied at 2 with their batting in the sixth to resume the game on Wed. night. The Phils have a fresh, deep bullpen for the next three innings minimum. They should be fine without Hamels.

2. I don't believe that there will be an off day b/w Games #5 and #6 (if necessary), and there shouldn't. For Wednesday evening, only 3 1/2 innings are left unless the game goes into extras, and it's only a two hour flight to Tampa. Both teams will somehow manage to get by. Hamels would be available on three days' rest for a Game #7 should that game be needed.

Oct 28, 2008 11:18 AM
rating: 0
 
Mountainhawk

Given the potential for snow in the Philadelphia area, plus the general ineptness of the Philadelphia area airport, I wouldn't be shocked at all if there is a needed travel day because the teams just can't get down to Tampa in time to make it work.

Oct 28, 2008 11:21 AM
rating: -1
 
Schlom

I fail to understand why the Phillies are bitching about this game. They are in total command of this series, even more so than in the beginning of Game 5. Right now, they have 57% of the regulation outs left in the game -- that's a huge advantage. People are acting like they got screwed out of a Hamels start even though they are better off now than they were at the start of the game.

I also fail to understand why the Rays got the better of it in the 6th inning. Why is it harder to pitch and field in the rain than hit? Sure it might be hard to field pop flies in the rain, but wouldn't it be just as hard to hit in those conditions? If anything the conditions helped the Phillies as they probably slowed down Upton.

Lastly, I'm not sure why Selig is getting all this criticism. I think it's become fashionable to knock Bud, regardless of whether or not he made the right decision. I think he handled last exactly as he should have -- what other choice did he have?

Oct 28, 2008 11:20 AM
rating: 0
 
Mountainhawk

The hit that got by Rollins in the 6th essentially hydroplaned out there, and may well have been a routine out under normal circumstances. We'll never know, nor should we have to wonder, the field was unplayable, and they should not have been playing.

Oct 28, 2008 11:22 AM
rating: 0
 
Morley

Agreed. Upton may have been slowed down, but he might not have been on base anyway as Rollins had no chance on Upton's grounder.

Oct 28, 2008 11:35 AM
rating: 0
 
antoine6

I imagine the Phillies and their fans would trade the extra 3 outs for a 1-run lead. That run in the top of the 6th should never have happened, because they shouldn't have played the inning. In addition, the run relied on 3 plays that were all arguably affected by the weather. It would be one thing if they had just hit a no-doubter home run. Scoring on plays which the weather may have had a significant effect is an added insult and it's a damn shame that this game will be tainted because of it.

Oct 28, 2008 13:23 PM
rating: 0
 
agentsteel53

I would imagine it to be easier to hit:

1) the pitchers were lacking command due to not being able to get a feel for the ball

2) the fielders could not get to balls, allowing them to drop for hits

the disadvantage in baserunning is not enough to offset the advantage in hitting - the rain helps the offense.

I think the Rays scored a run that, on a dry field, had a much smaller probability of happening. One of course cannot know for sure, but I don't think Upton would've been on 2nd to score on the base hit.

Oct 28, 2008 16:17 PM
rating: 1
 
prs130

absolutely agree that it favors the offense... McCarver (during the broadcast) and Vina (on B.T.) both said it favors the "pitcher", which sounds ridiculous to me. Hamels was out on the mound for 15 minutes waiting for the inning to start; Pena and Longoria were sitting in a warm dugout. You're telling me a cold, wet pitcher has an advantage over a hitter because (to quote McCarver) the ball is dry and the bat is wet? Who cares if the bat is wet? And even if the pitcher does have an advantage, he still relies on his defense for everything but Ks, and they were clearly having a tough time... Bud Selig = idiot; Time McCarver = idiot; Phillies = would much rather have a one-run lead through 5 than no lead through 5 and a half.

Oct 29, 2008 08:22 AM
rating: 1
 
keef66

I (a Rays' fan, fwiw) am not sure that calling the game in the 6th "was completely unfair to the Phillies," as Joe claims. Suppose you're Charlie Manuel and you're given this choice at the top of the 6th: a. we call it now or b. you get to pitch Hamels 1 more inning in the rain and then we call it. Don't you choose b?

It seems that the weather was harshest on the fielders, then on the batters and then on the pitchers. IF your pitcher is throwing well, as Hamels was, it's to the Phillies' advantage to get 1 inning rather than none. He's the least affected by the weather, given his ability to grip the ball and see his target reasonably well.

If the game had stayed 2-1--and it's very reasonable to see that as the more likely outcome of the top of the 6th--nobody would say this is unfair to the Phillies. I think we would be more likely to see it as unfair to the Rays. Bad decisions abound, as Joe says, but the ultimate result of the tie is clouding Joe's judgment with regard to who got shafted.

Oct 28, 2008 11:31 AM
rating: 3
 
bflaff

There is no doubt that Phillies fans would have screamed bloody murder if the game had been suspended earlier, and Hamels had been unable to continue after the restart. In that sense, you might be right that letting the game go as long as possible favored the Phils. However, as well as Hamels was pitching, the weather definitely was a factor in the 6th. As related by J Stark, "Hamels said it was so hard to grip the ball that he never tried to throw a single curveball. And he could never get the right grip on his best pitch, his David Copperfield disappearing changeup."

In that case, the choice between the a and b you proposed earlier is probably not as obvious.

Oct 28, 2008 14:46 PM
rating: 2
 
keef66

I hadn't heard Hamels's comments. That's a good piece of evidence in trying to decide who the rain harms more. Thanks.

Oct 28, 2008 15:54 PM
rating: 0
 
Steve D.

I was at the game last night. I don't know what forecasts MLB had, but local radio KYW was saying that heavy rain wasn't expected until near midnight. I think it started raining pretty good in the 2nd or 3rd, and most folks in my section seemed surprised it started so early. I'm no fan of Bud, but I don't blame them for trying to get it off.

Completely agree with Joe about not playing the sixth, at least. I assumed they were going to get it in no matter what, but if suspending was an option, it should have been done after five.

Finally, as to who gets back in... I was lucky enough to save my ticket stub. We stayed another 45 minutes after the announcement to wait out parking lot traffic (yeah right), and there were probably close to 100 poeple in line at guest services. It was so wet everywhere, I'm sure lots of tickets got destroyed.

Oct 28, 2008 11:33 AM
rating: 0
 
Morley

Yeah, "heavy rain" wasn't expected until midnight. STEADY rain was forecasted through the night.

Oct 28, 2008 11:39 AM
rating: 0
 
aryanglass

Is that how they are doing re-admissions? I can imagine there will be a market for these tickets, then, with people who are unable to make it.

Oct 28, 2008 12:04 PM
rating: 0
 
bibigon

Frankly, the decision to start the sixth inning was an embarrassment, made even moreso by the decision to postpone the end of the game until whenever, if all along Selig knew that the game would be played to its conclusion. There was absolutely no reason to send Hamels back out to the mound -- and furthermore make him wait around in the freezing rain for the grounds crew to complete :20 worth of cleanup -- if the field was going to be called unfit for regular play just a few minutes later.

The point is made even more poignant by the "hit" BJ Upton had to shortstop Jimmy Rollins in that inning, which under normal playing conditions probably would not have been fumbled and probably would not have resulted in a run.

Oct 28, 2008 12:48 PM
rating: 0
 
howlingmoon

Why not just get rid of rain delays altogether and finish every game that is started, whether in May or October, the next time the two teams get together. That way every inning that is played, every hit, every strike out counts. Why is that a worse decision, than restarting from scratch any game rained out before 5?

Oct 28, 2008 13:48 PM
rating: 0
 
Vinegar Bend
(477)

If I'm going to be playing in pouring rain, strong winds, and 39 degree temperature, I'd rather be hitting than playing defense.

When you have to play defense in cold, rainy weather:
It's hard to grip the ball to throw it.
If it's a grounder, the ball will be muddy and wet.
It's hard to set your feet to be in position to field and throw.
After standing around all inning in the field, your body, especially your throwing arm, gets cold and tight, which makes it tough to move and throw your best.
The ball can talk weird hops, stop abruptly in the mud, or skip quickly across wet grass.
You have to block rain from your face on fly balls.

Hitters, on the other hand, can stay warm and dry and loose in the clubhouse. The ball they are trying to hit is relatively clean, not rolled through mud or wet grass. They can use pine tar to get a good grip on the bat.

This is why Philly was disadvantaged in the top of the 6th more than TB.

Oct 28, 2008 14:26 PM
rating: 1
 
PeterBNYC

1. Quite strange that this situation has never arisen before (Steve Goldman?), but I agree that there should be a rule covering all post-season games, that they are played to nine innings minimum. Do it now.
2. Fail to see Joe's concern with the "unfairness" to the Phillies- they are still in the driver's seat, and (whever game 5 ends) I expect they will win it. The Rays simply have no time to reverse the bad mojo or whatever that has neutered Longoria, (?Floyd) and Pena in the Series.
3. Still a helluva Series!

Love my BP.

Oct 28, 2008 14:48 PM
rating: 0
 
straightoutofhxc

I'd say that Longoria and Pena getting big hits in the first half of game 5 qualifies as "reversing the bad mojo."

Oct 28, 2008 15:58 PM
rating: 0
 
antoine6

Peter: Joe believes, and some of us agree, that the Phillies were at a disadvantage because they had to play 3 extra outs of defense in conditions that he believes favors the offense over the defense. The game should have been suspended after the 5th inning, and if it were tied, it almost definitely would have been. But Selig waited it out for the Rays to score before suspending it. That's unfair to the Phillies, regardless of their position in the series overall.

Oct 28, 2008 15:29 PM
rating: -1
 
EnderCN

So what happens when it rains all of today and the game doesn't get finished. Do they actually move the other games which makes no sense to me or do they just play in Tampa on Wed and Thu and see if they even need to bother finishing the suspended game which makes much more sense to me.

Oct 28, 2008 15:30 PM
rating: 0
 
straightoutofhxc

They're playing the rest of game 5 in Philly tomorrow, and I presume moving the other games a day back if necessary.

Oct 28, 2008 15:59 PM
rating: 0
 
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