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Roundtable: World Series Game Five

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Welcome to Baseball Prospectus' Monday October 27, 2008 7:30 PM ET World Series Game Five roundtable.

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Jeff Pease (11:17:32 AM PT): Welcome to BP's coverage of game five of the World Series. The live roundtable will start at 7:30 PM ET on Monday, October 27, but you can leave questions for our authors before the roundtable begins.

If you'd like to submit a question to be answered during the roundtable, you can do so here.

Derek Jacques (4:55:02 PM PT): "E. A. Poe (Baltimore): Who would you rather sit next to on a cross-country flight: John Kruk or Kevin Kennedy?"

Are we talking coach or first class? 'Cause sitting next to the Krukster in coach sounds like suicide...

Steven Goldman (5:01:01 PM PT): I'd rather sit next to E. A. Poe. The real one I mean.

Derek Jacques (5:03:16 PM PT): "belewfripp (Knoxville): Obviously it's *possible* the Rays could still win this thing, so I won't ask that. Instead I'll ask - how likely is it to happen? Maybe someone like Bil Burke would like to do a quick statistical comparison between these Rays and the 6 teams to win a WS after going down 3-1...?"

A pretty good estimate of how likely a big Rays comeback would be can be found in the Postseason Odds Report (you can find that here. Right now, the simulation sees the Phillies winning the series 89.6% of the time. We'll try to see about that comparison with the other big comeback teams a little later on.

Derek Jacques (5:05:37 PM PT): "Steven Goldman (5:01:01 PM PT): I'd rather sit next to E. A. Poe. The real one I mean."

Is this the plot of a Weekend at Bernie's sequel? Still, compared to Kruk and Kennedy, he'd at least be a quiet traveling companion.

Steven Goldman (5:06:06 PM PT): Not if they let him get hold of some of those little liquor bottles.

David Laurila (5:17:16 PM PT): Because this COULD be the final game of the season -- and I hope not; I'd like to see a seventh game, regardless of who wins out -- I'm wondering how people view the 2008 season. Was this "just another season," or was it something more than that? Rays and Phillies fans will certainly have a bias, but otherwise...what is the verdict?

Will Carroll (5:19:58 PM PT): Are those special hats with the earflaps?

Derek Jacques (5:21:25 PM PT): "rawagman (Toronto): Tampa Bay has successfully run the bullpen as a comittee throughout the postseason (maybe not as successfully yesterday, but nevertheless). Any chance this become instilled anywhere next year? Why or why not? And if it's a yes, any particular teams that should really consider the concept? Thanks"

It's unlikely. The Rays have gone to a closer-free setup out of necessity, not choice. Managers are loath to go by committee because giving their relievers set roles makes managing easier, and insulates them from criticism about their strategic choices. If Wheeler or Balfour had really stepped up in the postseason, it's likely that we would see a more conventional bullpen usage from the Rays.

The thing to keep in mind is, unless it's unavoidable, no one thinks it's good idea not to have an ace reliever on your staff. The question is whether that ace should be reserved for only save situations, or if you use him whenever he's needed most.

Steven Goldman (5:23:17 PM PT): David, we have to see how things end. Certainly if the Rays win the World Series you'd have to qualify this year as somewhat historic given how this franchise got itself off the deck. Beyond that, though, we lacked teams that were historically dominant or even historically bad. Nor have we had individual seasons that are likely to stick in history, perhaps with the exception of Albert Pujols, and even then, his 2008 will be just one more great year in his quiver of great years.

Will Carroll (5:26:43 PM PT): Has everyone heard about the Tug McGraw ashes thing? Yikes.

Will Carroll (5:27:40 PM PT): Maybe we can get Andrew Ridgely to sing the 7th Inning Stretch.

Joe Sheehan (5:32:00 PM PT): Not cool, Will. John Oates sang lead on about 10% of Hall and Oates' catalog, albeit very few of the hits. ("You've Lost That Loving Feeling", "Possession Obsession"...um, that might be it.) Did they announce why it was him? It was supposed to be Daryl Hall.

I'm BP's resident pop-music dork, and I can't even be snarky about this. Hall & Oates were my first favorite act, and H2O my first album. So keep your Wham! jokes to yourself, buster.

Light rain, on and off all night. No delays. Not good baseball weather--it's pretty chilly.

Derek Jacques (5:32:08 PM PT): I think that this season was special even if the Rays lose tonight (or Wednesday, or Thursday). Breaking the AL East duopoly is big news. The Cubs' run, even if it ran aground in October, was big news. The Brewers pulling the trigger on a big mid-season trade, with excellent results, was a huge moment. The beginning of the post-Bonds, post-Clemens era is important.

Speaking of Bonds, how many teams are thinking "Maybe if we'd picked up Bonds in July, we'd still be playing right now?" Does every team that's been eliminated so far owe its fans an apology for not taking a chance on him?

Joe Sheehan (5:36:45 PM PT): One other weather note: wind is *howling* left to right.

Will Carroll (5:39:00 PM PT): It was low-hanging fruit. And Oates was really good on the second Handsome Boy Modeling Agency album. I just mean that Daryl Hall might be the best blue-eyed soul singer of all time.

What no one is commenting on is that the Rays appear to be on the cusp of a run of playoff appearances. This team is young, talented, and there for the long term. They might lose Rocco Baldelli, but everyone else is back. Everyone. The minor leagues are loaded to boot, so even if the Rays lose, I think we'll be seeing a lot of them in future Octobers.

David Laurila (5:41:00 PM PT): I'll make one Hall & Oates comment: Abandoned Luncheonette featured some quality blue-eyed soul, but the much-more-popular, sometimes disco-tinged stuff was.....not good.

Will Carroll (5:41:50 PM PT): If you haven't heard the rumor du jour -- David O'Brien saying that the Brewers are willing to go four years and $100 million for Sabathia -- then now you have. And yes, they're able to go that high.

Christina Kahrl (5:45:25 PM PT): That was a fast half-inning. Actually, they announced that Hall's ill, so any instinct to rant about this like it was St. Louis in the 2006 series would be misplaced.

Christina Kahrl (5:46:56 PM PT): .

Will Carroll (5:47:26 PM PT): I swear I looked up and thought it was Isaac Hayes instead of Donovan McNabb.

Could someone tell me why Hamels' mental approach is so good?

Joe Sheehan (5:48:25 PM PT): They could write pop hooks and pull off two-part harmony. I will concede that the later albums weren't deep, but the best stuff they did is pretty solid. You can't hold the fact that their biggest hit, "Maneater," wasn't one of their top 50 songs.

Christina Kahrl (5:49:40 PM PT): belewfripp (Knoxville, TN) asks, "If the Rays lose the series without stretching it 7 games, how many 'they lost because of their youth and inexperience' stories will we be subjected to? And will those stories have any basis in reality?"

To which I'll suggest, far too many, because nothing beats an easily-posited assertion and lazy/easy narrative for the BBRAA. In contrast, I think it's safe to say that the real reasons have a lot more to do with the brass tacks of in-game strategy and tactics that Joe brought up today. This is and was a close matchup, but in-game missteps have proven deadly to the Rays.

Will Carroll (5:50:56 PM PT): Seriously, these hats look like the earflaps are built in. I live in Indiana and this would be a good thing.

Kazmir did *not* sprain his elbow. Nor did he strain it. He had ulnar neuritis. Both Buck and McCarver missed that one.

Joe Sheehan (5:52:39 PM PT): Where the hell was the 3-2 to Werth?

Joe Sheehan (5:54:00 PM PT): Dave O'Brien is a smart man.

Steven Goldman (5:55:51 PM PT): I'd like to put in a vote for "Private Eyes" in the H&O catalogue.

Will Carroll (5:56:00 PM PT): Per Gameday, the 3-2 was down and outside of Pitch 1, which was also called a ball. We'll see if Kellogg keeps his zone consistent.

Christina Kahrl (5:56:14 PM PT): Mountainhawk (Salem, MA) notes, "You think it's chilly now, just wait until next year when we play November baseball!"

And here I didn't think we had enough reasons to dislike the WBC. At some point, the conceits of the Selig era are going to have to draw wider censure.

As often as McCarver predicts pitch sequences incorrectly, I'm left that much more in awe of Steve Stone when it comes to color commentary.

Joe Sheehan (5:59:21 PM PT): This is a bad, bad strike zone.

Steven Goldman (5:59:26 PM PT): I don't defend Timmy anymore, but I will say again, just for the record, that he was a pleasure to listen to back in the 1980s on the local Mets telecast. Back then his predictions were often spot on. At some point he jumped the shark. Not sure of the exact moment.

Joe Sheehan (6:02:25 PM PT): Eh. I don't think you hold the runner there with two outs, Crawford throwing and Ruiz up.

Steven Goldman (6:03:47 PM PT): I think Arnold Rothstein has gotten to Scott Kazmir.

Steven Goldman (6:06:55 PM PT): Big dumb sliding into first play...

I think Vidkun Quisling has gotten to Carlos Pena.

Steven Goldman (6:11:22 PM PT): I think Darth Sidious has gotten to Rocco Baldelli.

Steven Goldman (6:21:25 PM PT): "Taylor (Toronto): I'm confused, is the roundtable formed by writers or professional second guessers? As much as I love BP, the chats these playoffs have been brutal. Could we get some actual analsyis rather than piling on the managers, umpires and announcers. I come to the site to be learn something I don't know already, not read the same complaints game after game."

I don't think that's quite fair, Taylor. From PECOTA at the beginning of the year onward, we're engaged in the art of anticipating and first-guessing. I think Joe in particular has been very consistent in calling match-ups and priorities for these managers. What you're seeing in these chats reflects the degree to which the participants have adhered to or failed to follow the principles we've laid out in our regular articles... My articles notwithstanding, since I cover the Department of the Honored Dead. Yet, even there, I try to draw lessons about the present by looking at the triumphs and tragedies of the past.

Christina Kahrl (6:24:36 PM PT): tercet (Toronto ) wonders, "What do you guys think of Tampa's RF mess? Do you like how Maddon's changed RF every game or should he stick to one? Id stick Rocco Baldelli in RF most of the games if I was the manager."

I would have liked to have seen some sort of memory of how much Eric Hinske mattered to this team over the course of the season. Gross really didn't perform all that well, and he really seems to be the ultimate compromise solution in light of Hinske's lead-footedness and the persistent durability concerns with the likes of Floyd and Baldelli.

Christina Kahrl (6:27:06 PM PT): Complaints about Kellogg might be a bit of a rush... the man's in towards the back end of the middle of the pack in terms of his impact of runs scored:

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=420017

Which is not to say that anybody can't have a bad night now and again. Or weekly, if you're Cowboy Joe West.

Steven Goldman (6:35:42 PM PT): One question I'll throw out there is, if Longoria and Pena finish the Series without hits, how historic is that? I've been looking over the records in a desultory fashion, and you can find examples like Scott Rolen in 2004 (0-15) or Placido Polanco in 2006 (0-17), but I still haven't gotten to the last time a pair of teammates were shut out.

Steven Goldman (6:40:51 PM PT): ...And just moments after I throw that question out there, Longoria and Pena break out. Rays fans, you can address your thank you notes care of Baseball Prospectus.

Christina Kahrl (6:45:58 PM PT): I was about to say, Goldman, thanks for giving me reason to remember the Bash Brothers' non-appearance in the '88 series.

Derek Jacques (6:46:01 PM PT): People might talk about the lack of clutch hits by the Rays, the fact is that the Phillies' hurlers have held the team with the highest Unintentional Walk rate in the majors to just 10 walks, midway through game five. Rays were 12-13 this season when they walked two or fewer times in a game.

Steven Goldman (6:46:05 PM PT): "jlebeck66 (WI): Moot point now, but... Wally Berger (0-15) & Lonny Frey (0-17)in 1939 for CIN"

I hadn't gotten back there yet. I was working backwards from today. Two of my favorite players, btw. Berger was a monster stuck in the gigantic, windy Beehive for most of his career. Frey was a young shortstop under Casey Stengel who was a good hitter for a middle infielder of the day, but was pretty much Jose Offerman. That's actually a perfect comp (and one I feel like I've used before) - his career took off when Bill McKechnie realized he could be an asset if teams stopped asking him to do things he couldn't and moved him to second...

The '39 WS was a whitewash for the Yankees, but there were actually several moments it could have gone the Reds' way with a little luck.

Joe Sheehan (6:47:46 PM PT): Soriano and Boone in 2003.

Jay Jaffe (6:47:52 PM PT): Ok, so I had to catch up with the first 3 1/2 innings on the Tivo, and the Rays' approach at the plate (or lack of same) let me do it in about 10 minutes and had me wondering if their bus was double-parked or something.

I did have to rewind to watch Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria finally get their first hits. I'd forgotten what that looked like.

Steven Goldman (6:48:18 PM PT): Derek, do you call that good pitching on the part of the Phillies or anxiety on the part of the Rays? It's a chicken/egg question, but the way you phrased your point sounds like you give the Phils more credit than you assign the Rays culpability.

Steven Goldman (6:49:46 PM PT): Joe, Soriano and Boone were miserable, but they weren't blanked. There have been many pairs that didn't show up, but few that were held hitless.

Steven Goldman (6:50:07 PM PT): There's a guy behid the plate who is dressed like my morning New York Times.

Jay Jaffe (6:51:19 PM PT): I think you have to credit the Phils' pitchers. Moyer and Blanton certainly exploited the Ray' willingness to expand the zone as the pressure has ratcheted up.

Jay Jaffe (6:51:48 PM PT): Sorry, I meant Rays' hitters there.

Steven Goldman (6:52:42 PM PT): "Noah Hunter (Brooklyn): Random Hall & Oates trvia: They have the most number 1 hits by any duo."

What? The Carpenters have been slandered!

It's kind of a bogus category, isn't it? Paul McCartney has had more hits than any other southpaw bassist. He's also had more hits than any right-handed bassist as well, but that's beside the point.

Steven Goldman (6:55:30 PM PT): Don't want to jinx anything, but it would be a shame if a rain delay interrupted what has turned out to be an interesting pitchers duel here.

Jay Jaffe (6:56:22 PM PT): "kevin (boston): Thoughts on the spot on Blanton's hat last night? I generally hate controversies like this, but I remember a game he pitched against the redsox earlier this year in oakland and there was a similar spot that stuck out like a sore thumb against the yellow."

Someone on our internal list suggested it was pine tar, and once that caught my attention all I could see was him going to his bill before every single pitch. But you know what? If I could see it so could Joe Maddon, and if he wasn't going to challenge it, then that's his problem, not mine.

Joe Sheehan (6:59:10 PM PT): Kazmir probably has two batters left in his season. Even if he gets Utley, the Rays, I think would have to hit for him in the top of the fifth, given his pitch count and moderate effectiveness.

Steven Goldman (7:02:05 PM PT): Jay, I was demonstrating the Blanton going-to-his-cap thing at lunch today, and the waitress brought me the check.

Steven Goldman (7:02:43 PM PT): And for those keeping track, that's a first-guess from Mr. Sheehan.

Derek Jacques (7:04:16 PM PT): "Steven Goldman (6:48:18 PM PT): Derek, do you call that good pitching on the part of the Phillies or anxiety on the part of the Rays?"

The Phils are in the top third of the majors in walk rate, so you have to give them credit, but some of these Rays seem to have changed approach by 180 degrees. Would you think, based on what we've seen this series, that Upton was someone who walked 97 times this season? That Iwamura walked 70 times? Maybe they're tight, maybe Upton's been emboldened to swingtasticalness by his playoff power streak, but something is going on.

Steven Goldman (7:06:56 PM PT): Tough error on Jimmy Rollins. The guy is playing in a monsoon and the ball really moved... and a terrific DP by Utley renders it a moot point.

Jay Jaffe (7:07:08 PM PT): I've said before and I'll say it again: Chase utley can play on my team.

Steven Goldman (7:09:36 PM PT): Thanks to jlebeck66, we know that Dal Maxvill went 0-22 in the 1968 World Series. Was anything ever so predictable?

...A check of the weather radar suggests that the rain ain't ending anytime soon. If they stop, they're staying stopped.

Jay Jaffe (7:10:39 PM PT): 52 pitches through five innings for Hamels, 97 through 4 for Kazmir. Can't get a more stark contrast than that.

I think Maddon left Kaz in there for the AB if only because Howard is up to lead off the bottom of the frame, but the chances of him making it out of this next inning are slim given those numbers.

William Burke (7:10:59 PM PT): I think some credit to the FOX broadcast crew is due. Whether or not the announcers want to criticize the umpires, the crew puts up every questionable pitch on Fox Trax. I don't know how accurate their system is, but it doesn't seem to like the umpire's strike zone.

Jay Jaffe (7:11:52 PM PT): Sorry, now it's 90-55 according to Gameday - the numbers changed between innings.

Steven Goldman (7:13:40 PM PT): "belewfripp (Knoxville, TN): 1) Hall and Oates did a number of sessions with Robert Fripp of King Crimson, proving their musical chops."

That sounds like it could have been a very strange mismatch, much like the Herman's Hermits sessions with Jimmy Page (you could look it up).

Christina Kahrl (7:13:41 PM PT): Good point, Bil, and that's an element that I would like to think is one of the positives borrowed from how football games get covered. Mistakes or questionable plays don't get hidden away.

Jay Jaffe (7:14:48 PM PT): "James (Boston): Regarding Blanton's hat. Maddon did ask the umpires to check it. They did. It wasn't pine tar. Its the rubbing mud from the baseballs. And Blanton sweats profusely on the mound. He wipes his brow after every single pitch, then adjusts his cap."

Did he? I missed that, I guess. Duly noted.

Steven Goldman (7:17:43 PM PT): The only problem with that, Christina, is it serves to undermine the credibility of the umpires in many instances. Paraphrasing something that Bill James said earlier this year, the fans have a better view than the umpires. Partial adoption instant replay begins to address that, but it doesn't go all the way.

Joe Sheehan (7:17:53 PM PT): In fairness to Dal, Steven, I think there were 13 hits total in that Series.

Christina Kahrl (7:19:52 PM PT): Undermine the credibility... and this represents a problem how? ;)

Joe Sheehan (7:21:54 PM PT): In the postgame last night, Charlie Manuel defended Blanton by taking off his cap and pointing to a stain on the brim, saying he'd "worn it all year."

These would be the caps with the 8x8 "World Series" logo on the side. So Charlie was confident, you'd say.

(Someone said maybe they put the logos on the caps for the players. I have my doubts. They all look brand new.)

For Derek: "Jungle Love" during the break. If WCBP was a radio station, I'd listen to it.

Jay Jaffe (7:22:53 PM PT): "strupp (Madison): Joe & the Gang With the blatantly bad umpiring this series and in the playoffs, as well as the horrid strke zones, are we ready for Robot Umps?"

In the words of Homer Simpson: "I have two questions: How much? And give it to me."

Steven Goldman (7:24:50 PM PT): You could see a role for a fifth, full time ump in an eye in the sky role, but it would be a real struggle to keep the games moving... And that's true even now that Bernie Williams has retired.

Joe Sheehan (7:25:12 PM PT): This is highly entertaining. The external pressure on the umpires to *not* put the tarp on the field is high, so what they've done is turned the pitching change into a de facto rain delay, having the grounds crew repair the infield to the extent they can. The players, save Balfour and Navarro, left the field.

I believe that the crew chief will consult with the commissioner during the World Series. It is my sincere hope, whatever my disagreements with Mr. Selig, that the decision tree stops there.

Steven Goldman (7:27:13 PM PT): Joe: Aw, I don't think we have to grade Maxvil on a curve. Actually, my aging brain remembers one of the most famous 0-fers in the history of the World Series, one that dogged the player's rep for a number of years and probably has contributed to keeping him out of the Hall, Gil Hodges, 1952. All his subsequent Series appearances were good to great, but I don't know if he ever lived down that 0-for-21.

Jay Jaffe (7:29:26 PM PT): On the other hand, Dick Green went 0-for-13 in the 1974 World Series and won the Babe Ruth Award (World Series MVP as decided by the NY-area BBWAA).

Steven Goldman (7:30:31 PM PT): If you had said Mike Andrews, I would have guessed they were just trying to stick it to Charlie Finley.

William Burke (7:31:41 PM PT): I gotta think the correct way to handle the weather would have been to make sure to suspend the game prior to the 5th inning so you don't have a regulation game and they could resume playing tomorrow.

Steven Goldman (7:31:55 PM PT): I don't understand why the weather conditions should affect the application of the infield fly rule on that first popup to Pena. That rule isn't about doing the defense a favor.

Derek Jacques (7:32:34 PM PT): Junk stat of the night: Shane Victorino's 13 RBI in the postseason is a Phillies record. Not to take away from Victorino's performance, but the Phils haven't made the World Series in the Wild Card era, so they probably haven't had a chance to play 14 games in a postseason before, right?

Jay Jaffe (7:33:40 PM PT): Andrews was the 1973 World Series. Green's late-inning caddy in the '74 Series was...

Dal Maxvill. Funny how that works.

Joe Sheehan (7:34:42 PM PT): There is a rain delay. But instead of one, say, hourlong one, we're going to tack five minutes on between every inning. Who's got a 6 a.m. flight?

Steven Goldman (7:36:19 PM PT): They selling hot cocoa as well as beer? Anyone think ahead and bring a flask of rum to the ballpark? How about a St. Bernard?

Joe Sheehan (7:36:57 PM PT): Is Fox doing a whole package on the crappy umpiring? This is awesome! (I have video but no audio. And I miss being able to rewatch the game when writing.)

Joe Sheehan (7:38:17 PM PT): We have sportswriters. We just squeeze them hard now and again.

Derek Jacques (7:38:24 PM PT): Man, you can just see the sheer joy of the World Series on those players' faces!

Joe Sheehan (7:40:57 PM PT): Let's just say this out loud: this game should be in a rain delay, and whoever is responsible for it not being in one should be publically shamed.

Steven Goldman (7:41:30 PM PT): I know Howard isn't exactly Wes Parker out there, but just as a point of comparison, Jason Giambi wouldn't have come within a yard of that ball. He never would have gone for it. He would have been on the bag shouting, "Yours!" to no one in particular.

Jay Jaffe (7:42:10 PM PT): This is a joke. We've quite possibly got less than four innings left in the baseball season, and it's being played in a downpour for no good reason.

Steven Goldman (7:43:15 PM PT): Yeah, but if you stop it? The rain isn't ending any time soon. What if they can't resume tonight? I'm just askin'.

Joe Sheehan (7:43:58 PM PT): Let's just say this out loud: this game should be in a rain delay, and whoever is responsible for it not being in one should be publically shamed.

William Burke (7:44:38 PM PT): If they stop playing and cannot start it back up, it is over from what I can tell. This is why I was suggesting that they should have suspended the game back at the end of the 4th. To save face, the league needs the Rays to tie it so they can call it a rain delay or let it finish 'as is'.

Joe Sheehan (7:44:48 PM PT): I have to check out now. Gotta get the laptop out of the rain. Seriously.

Derek Jacques (7:45:47 PM PT): I swear, I thought Upton was going to hydroplane straight through the bag.

Christina Kahrl (7:47:13 PM PT): There are puddles on the field. This is more than silly.

Steven Goldman (7:47:24 PM PT): The Commisioner COULD make a spot ruling and say that it's suspended and will be continued if it can't start again. There's plenty of precedent for the commish making WS calls like that, going back to Judge Landis ejecting Ducky Medwick from the '34 Series.

Joe, don't turn into CSNY at Woodstock and get shocked by your instrument. Seek shelter.

William Burke (7:49:23 PM PT): Rain delay, right now.

David Laurila (7:49:30 PM PT): Tie game. Stop it now?

Steven Goldman (7:49:30 PM PT): Really daring for Upton to go for the score there on a wet track, even with his speed.

Christina Kahrl (7:49:55 PM PT): Having tied it up, the timing would be propitious to roll out the tarp if that's how the inning ends.

Jay Jaffe (7:49:58 PM PT): I can't believe there's no contingency for suspending a non-tied postseason game after the fifth due to unplayable weather conditions. This is horse****.

Steven Goldman (7:51:24 PM PT): Christina: That's right, and if it doesn't let up, they have a legal suspension and no one has to show any leadership.

Jay Jaffe (7:52:32 PM PT): And right as I say that, Pena ties it up.

Jay Jaffe (7:54:59 PM PT): And it's the tarp!

Christina Kahrl (7:56:10 PM PT): Steven: Well, in the game's semi-feudal management structure, best to have the Czar not offend one plutocrat or another. As much as Bud's aided and helped guide the industry's profitability, alienating and offending some element of his electorate's not something he risks with any regularity.

Steven Goldman (7:56:35 PM PT): I'd really like to know: if it hadn't been tied and the game was stopped at 2-1, would Selig have let that conclude the WS or would he have made a special accomodation.

Christina Kahrl (7:59:10 PM PT): I think somebody will end up asking the question; at least I hope they do.

Steven Goldman (7:59:24 PM PT): Say they can't resume tomorrow either. Say the Rays win the scheduled Games six and seven at home. Then they have to come back to Philly and finish up G5, right?

Jay Jaffe (8:04:17 PM PT): Steve, please tell me you're kidding with your naivete.

They've got toa finish Game Five before they play Game Six, come hell or high water. Just because Games Six and Seven are scheduled for the Juice Box doesn't mean they can't be postponed due to weather (i.e., pushed back a day) if they can't get the conclusion of Game 5 in on schedule.

Steven Goldman (8:06:30 PM PT): Jay, yeah in retrospect I should have thought before typing that. I just made a dumb assumption that they would stick to the schedule rather than push it back. Because... um... because maybe there's a Barry Manilow concert scheduled for CBP on Friday?

Steven Goldman (8:13:57 PM PT): Campers, we're going to carry on for a little bit and see where things go. If you want to keep making coversation, we're game.

Steven Goldman (8:15:33 PM PT): By the way, I'm in New Jersey about an hour from Philly, and the forecast here for the next 36 hours is: build arks.

Jay Jaffe (8:16:09 PM PT): "Tim (Philly): This is an absolute embarrassment. Had the Rays not scored, theres no way they'd have called the game. I don't want to hear a single Rays fan say they got unlucky breaks this series. Major League Baseball just handed them the World Series."

For what it's worth (i.e., not much), MLB's resident prince of darkness Bob Dupuy told Chris Myers that they were going to bring out the tarp at the end of the half inning because conditions had gotten so bad. I'm not exactly ready to buy that, but even if it's true, it's a loooooooong stretch to say delaying a tie game with a team down 3-1 is handing anybody the World Series.

Let me get this straight: you seem to think a team that was 12 outs from a World Champions are going to curl up into a fetal position and let themselves be steamrolled by the Rays simply because of the timing of a tarp?

Derek Jacques (8:17:12 PM PT): As you might guess, the timing of the move to delay the game is very popular with many of you playing along at home (presented without comment):

"James (Boston): So now that Maddon stalled and kept it going just long enough for his team to tie it, we can call the game, right? Game 5 redux at the Trop."

"Lemmiwinks531 (Wilmington, MA): If this game gets postponed now. It is BLATANTLY unfair practice. This game should've been delayed after the 4th or 5th."

"Tim (NJ): How pathetic is this? Possible deciding game of the WS, and the whole story is the crappy umpiring and the lack of a much-needed rain delay? I feel bad for the Phillies' fans, and I say that rooting for the Rays."

"James (Philly): That was really fair to the Phillies. What a joke."

"tirk44 (warm at home): As a Phillies fan I'm a bit offended. The conditions are no worse now than 2 innings ago. Let's wait until it gets tied up and THEN put the rain delay on. Philly has been waiting 25 years so another few hours or a day would be no big deal."

Christina Kahrl (8:17:20 PM PT): Yes, in light of the torrential terrors unfolding in Philly, this is looking like an early evening. Perhaps spiced with plenty of second-guessing as to why the tarp didn't come out sooner.

Steven Goldman (8:20:40 PM PT): It's all A-Rod's fault.

Jay Jaffe (8:25:26 PM PT): "Stephanie (DC): The rules about regulation games do not appear to apply during the post season 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."

I'm no rules expert, but that seems to suggest there's more latitude regarding suspended games than has been suggested, in which case I think the focus turns back to the delayed decision to suspend the game before the easy cover of a tie emerged.

Steven Goldman (8:25:56 PM PT): I'm concerned about the mole on Rachel Maddow's neck. Has she had a dermatologist check that out? As Jim Bowden will tell you, you really can't take that stuff for granted.

David Laurila (8:26:56 PM PT): I asked three hours ago how this season will be remembered. If the Rays go on to win this Series, will 2008 go down in history as Raingate?

Steven Goldman (8:27:22 PM PT): Again, Jay, I think the rulebook is a distraction here anyway, give that the Commissioner can make a spot decision in order to guarantee a fair outcome and not end the WS on an act of God.

Jay Jaffe (8:29:41 PM PT): Agreed, Steve. Was just about to continue my last thought... "And that, and all of the outrage over the umpiring situation, pretty much points back to the lack of leadership from the Commish and MLB."

Derek Jacques (8:35:27 PM PT): "Kevin (New York City): Given the umpires' gaffes and mismanagement, along with Buck and McCarver's uncharacteristic criticism, what are the chances this clusterfudge yields some real changes?"

Given the way Bud Selig usually works, the solution will be something like giving the league that wins the World Series home field advantage at the All-Star Game. This time, it counts!

Christina Kahrl (8:35:44 PM PT): OK, we've gotten word that it's being called, and that action will resume tomorrow, at a time to be determined.

Jay Jaffe (8:37:23 PM PT): "Jon (SF): Maybe I am naive or missing something, but I fail to see how the Phillies are being screwed. Please explain."

At the simplest level, the idea is that the two teams should both be playing under the same conditions for an even amount of time. When the lights are turned on for a game, for example, they have to be turned on at the start of an inning so one team doesn't gain an advantage.

At a deeper level... reader tirk44 sums it up well: "Thinking ahead the Rays must be feeling good. They have a 3 1/2 inning game whenever this gets started, and the Phillies' best pitcher is likely done for the year. It's not a stretch to say that the pitching matchups, and home field advantage, favor the Rays in games 6 & 7"

Steven Goldman (8:37:56 PM PT): Thank you for coming, everyone. It appears the BP World Series Round Table will live to go 'round another day.

Christina Kahrl (8:38:25 PM PT): In light of this unusual contretemps, it looks like we have some interesting stuff to come, but in the meantime, that makes for an early conclusion to tonight's chat. To everyone who came by tonight, thank you, for your time and for your questions.

David Laurila (8:38:38 PM PT): MLB was put into a tough situation tonight. There are times when criticism is merited, but there haven't been many easy answers this evening.

Jay Jaffe (9:26:04 PM PT): Since it appears this chat is still open, I'll cap this with a closing observation based on watching part of the post-game press conference. It sounded quite apparent that there was a mandate from MLB to the umpiring crew prior to the game to play all nine innings even if that required an unprecedented (in WS history) suspension of play. If that's the case, then maybe there was a bit more leadership than I've given credit for. The timing of the suspension was still awkward and arguably bent towards the Rays, but I think we can all agree that a title granted via rainout would have been the worst of all possible outcomes.

The commissioner who gave us an All-Star game that ended in a tie did manage to avoid a situation that would be ridiculed even more. So he's got that going for him.

And with that, ladies and gents, good night.


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