October 28, 2008
I’ve been angry since last night about the disaster that was Game 5 and how baseball dropped the ball completely. Sadly, no one was surprised. After thinking through it all, I think there is one question that needs to be addressed this offseason about the entire postseason …
What role should weather play?
Just like the regular season
If it’s not raining, start the game. If it starts raining and conditions get too bad, rain delay. If the game gets called, its official, and a team is leading, they win. It’s how things work for the other 2,430 regular season games. Everyone is familiar with it.
Sure that isn’t any way to end a World Series, but shouldn’t the rules be followed? It would not be ideal for the players or the fans. When the game is called, would the players run back on the field and jump around?
I would not have been at all shocked if the Phillies got through the 6th inning leading 2-1, the game was called, and the Phillies given the win and the World Series. It was why I was so angry at Rollins that he didn’t make a play on Upton’s groundball, which would have been a routine play for him in decent weather. Just look at how things turned out. There is no predicting what they are going to do. They make their decisions first then come up with their reasoning, rather than the logical way of thinking about the problem.
Now with the game tied, the suspended game is actually following the rule. However the conditions were not any worse in the Top of the 6th vs the Bottom of the 6th. So the Rays had the advantage of the pitcher and fielders being severely handicapped. The Phillies now will play their half of the 6th on a dry field instead of getting the same advantages the Rays had in the top of the inning.
Special Rules for the Postseason
The thought would be that the games should be played in the best weather possible. If the forecast shows terrible weather, the game should be canceled in advance. The players should be put in a position to perform at their best so the champion can be decided. You also cannot risk a team losing a starting pitcher in a called game. In the postseason, the series are only a maximum 5 or 7 games long. During the regular season you can put up with these situations because they will even themselves out throughout the year.
The weather reports showed that things were not looking good going into the game. Baseball could have made a few simple decisions that might have helped things. The start time could have been moved up. Given enough time, moving the game up to 7 would have been logical. The fans would be alright with that, given a few hours notice. The people watching at home would have loved it, getting to bed before midnight would be a possibility. At the very least the MLB should have told Fox that first pitch was going to be at 8pm. It would be a simple conversation, ‘Fox, we’ve seen you’re pregame show. You wonder why your ratings are so bad? People tune in, see 10 seconds of your pregame show and are disgusted by how terrible it is and change the channel. So let’s just start the game when your coverage begins.’ (I can’t stress enough how terrible the Fox Pregame show is.) On top of that, make the commercial breaks regular length, not these extended breaks which are so long that I forget who is coming to bat. That would have likely gotten the game 2 innings further, at least. Still not finished, but it would make much more sense to suspend a game when the teams are already moving through their bullpens rather than changing the complexion of a game by taking the starting pitchers out of a game before they have finished their work for the night.
Having indefinite rain delays was introduced to the public yesterday after the game was stopped by Selig. These would go against the written rule, that games should only be suspended in the event of a tie. This, of course, would be for the good of the game. Apparently this was discussed beforehand, only very few people were told. My issue with this is that if it was already discussed, why did the game continue as long as it did? I can see pushing through the horrendous weather for a little while to get to an official game. However, if it has already been decided that, no matter what, the game will be picked up wherever it stops on a night when the weather clears up, then there is no problem at all stopping at the hint of the weather effecting the game. When did that happen? On the missed fly ball by Rollins. That was in the Top of the 5th. Now to make it official they could have pushed through to the end of that half inning. Then picked up with the Bottom of the 5th tomorrow.
My only guess as to why the 6th inning started was that Selig was not confident in his indefinite rain delay plan. He was praying for a tie so that people wouldn’t get upset about him making up rules. This is why he is a terrible commissioner, he has no power because he doesn’t command any. He is in charge. If he would have laid out his thought process with confidence and clear explanation, the support would vastly outweigh the opposition.
This entire thing was handled terribly by everyone involved. To me, there is no comparison between this and the All-Star Game tie. I had no problem with a tie in the All-Star Game. It’s an event to honor the players and entertain the fans. Who cares who wins? Where Selig screwed up there was that he overreacted and created his own problem. Then he made up rules to fix his make believe problem which took a lot of the fun out of the All-Star Game and gave home field advantage in the World Series based on something meaningless. I still say that homefield should go to the league that wins more interleague games. Last night, Selig blew it both before the game (by not calling it) and during the game (by waiting too long, even though he already decided that the game would continue in a few days, even if one team was leading in an offical game). It’s long past time for him to step down.