Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Who Will Stop the Rain?

2008 World Series Game 5

Rays 2, Phillies 2 - suspended in the middle of the 6th inning
Series: Phillies 3.5 to 1.5
Game 5.67 - TBD
A look at the Doppler revealed a massive green blob over the Mid-Atlantic from Richmond on up to New York. The green blob sat there like the University of Wisconsin offensive line at a bratwurst buffet. It had no intention of going anywhere soon.

By now, everyone knows the comedy of errors that led to last night’s suspension of Game 5 with the game tied at 2 in the middle of the 6th. Before I go on to comment here, let me make it clear that I certainly did NOT want the Phils to win a rain shortened game. I’d rather lose if it came to that. Still, I am a bit peeved. Here is why.

It’s no mystery that MLB does not call the shots on whether these games are played or not. It’s unfortunate that these decisions are now made de facto by the TV network – in this case Fox. What I cannot understand is why no one at Fox or MLB has a reasonable contingency plan for such situations as last night. It was October 27th in Philadelphia. The chance that we’d see rain was pretty good actually.

There are two things that could have rescued baseball from another self inflicted wound last night.

1 – Get rid of the 5 inning rule for the post season. In fact, you should probably dump it from the last week of the season through the post season. No one wants to win a rain-shortened 5 inning game in the pennant drive or post season. If you get rid of the 5 inning rule, you wouldn’t have subjected the Phillies to the top of the 6th when the Rays conveniently tied the game. I am not saying the Rays are unworthy of the tie at this point, I am simply pointing out it could have been a whole lot worse for the Phillies given the weather conditions and then where would we be? The Phillies were lucky to escape the inning tied. Presumably, when the Rays take the field when this game eventually resumes, they will do so in markedly improved conditions. Does that seem fair?

2 – 154 games. Look, we have an extra round in the playoffs which have now shoved the World Series into the final week in October. Given that half of all Major League teams play in the Northeast, Midwest or Rocky Mountains, it’s a good bet that inclement weather will affect the World Series. Dropping the 8 games and restoring the pre 1961 schedule will allow the World Series to start in mid-October and be done by the 22nd or 23rd.

Beyond these two, MLB still should have canned this game after the 2nd inning. What a shame.

OK, now onto Game 5, part II whenever that resumes. Let’s call it Game 5.67. The Phils will get 12 outs, the Rays 9. That’s a huge advantage. The Phils of course, have that great bullpen. It will be interesting to see how Charlie approaches this game. Will he treat it like a normal game in the 6th inning or will he treat it for what it has become, a 3.5 inning game? If Bret Myers wasn’t so shaky in the early innings, I’d “start” him. However, we cannot afford to give up a single run, not until we plate a run. So who will get the ball in the 7th? The Rays will have the 6, 7 & 8 batters – Navarro (S), Baldelli (R) and Bartlett (R). A pinch hitter will follow if someone gets on. I don’t see why you don’t go to Madson and ask him to pitch two innings. If the Phillies can get that run, and trot Madson out for 2 innings followed by Lidge, I’d like their chances. Of course, the greater mystery would be just who Joe Maddon sends out for the bottom of the 6th.

This may all play out tonight, or tomorrow, or later. Who knows? Did I mention it’s been 28 years? I can wait.


TJ said...

Um, I think it's snowing now...

rob said...

this is some nerve-wracking shit. glad i'm not a phillies fan. if this had happened in 2004, there's a 50/50 chance i wouldn't have survived it with my sanity intact.

oh. hey there, nick.

TJ said...

Major League Baseball has announced that Game 5 has been delayed until Wednesday.The announcement was made as the Philadelphia area continued to be pounded by rain, wind and even snow in some areas.

Nick said...

Taking it in stride. Nothin' else you can do.

rob said...

so in nick and teejay's first year at mlc the phils win a title and the yankees miss the playoffs. i can live with that. whitney, on the other hand, may have some issues.

congrats, nick.

killthedh said...

Enough of this shit, baseball. Depending on postseason TV revenue is not working out for you anyway. This year's rating was the lowest ever and no wonder. It's torture to watch these players freeze and soak. Give us our fukcing sun back, at least for Saturdays and Sundays.