FanDuel - WFBC

October 28, 2008

Rain Game Enters World Series Lore: Players on both the Philadelphia Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays can't believe the conditions in the rain-suspended game 5 in the World Series, particularly in the sixth when the Rays drove home the tying run in the slop. "That was probably the worst conditions I've ever played under in my life," said Carlos Pena of the Rays. "When do you ever see a puddle at home plate?"

posted by rcade to baseball at 11:51 AM - 36 comments

Good. No more Hamels pitching!

posted by bperk at 12:27 PM on October 28

Good. No more Hamels pitching!

Now that the resumption of Game 5 has been pushed back to Wednesday, Hamels may well pitch again in this series if the Rays win Game 5 -- either on short rest (Friday in Game 6 if there's a travel day added to the schedule or in Game 7 if there's no travel day) or on regular rest if there is a travel day and it goes 7. Hamels pitching on short rest does not seem out of the question considering he threw only 75 pitches yesterday.

posted by holden at 01:32 PM on October 28

OK, now I'm pulling for the Phillies in this one. The day Bart Giamatti died should be an annually observed day of mourning. Baseball hasn't been the same since. Bud Selig is at this moment what he's always been.

Oliver Stone, if you felt you had to make a movie about catastrophically ineptitude leadership now playing at a cinema near me, why the hell didn't you make it about Selig instead of that other guy?

The Phillies had not only better win the Series, they deserve a fair chance to clinch at home. If it's going to happen for the Phillies, I want to see and hear the home crowd explode when it does. Just to see what that's like.

It just wouldn't be the same if they had to travel back down to the St. Pete Tilt-A-Whirl and try to close it out down there.

posted by beaverboard at 01:35 PM on October 28

I turned on the game last night in the sixth and couldn't believe what I was seeing. The players looked stunned and offended that no one was calling a halt to play. When Upton reached first base, you could tell he was commiserating with the first baseman about the rain.

posted by rcade at 01:36 PM on October 28

We can add this one to Carlin's list outlining the differences between baseball and football.

I don't blame Selig as much as some people do for this decision. You can't cancel the game before it's played. What do you tell the fans who have made all the arrangements to be in Philadelphia on this day at this time? You play the game and hope for the best. It didn't work out. Are we going to blame Bud Selig for the weather? The blame should lie with Major League Baseball for having the World Series played into the end of October and into November. That, to me, is the real problem.

posted by THX-1138 at 02:12 PM on October 28

"The blame should lie with Major League Baseball for having the World Series played into the end of October and into November. That, to me, is the real problem."

And who's the commissioner of the MLB? Bud Selig. Still the real problem.

posted by cjets at 02:26 PM on October 28

I think they should shorten the season to 16 games. It works for football.

posted by charlatan at 02:34 PM on October 28

The worst rain in baseball since the Dodgers Tommy John pitched the pennant clincher against the Phillies in 1977. Even worse rain than that DeNiro/Snipes movie "The Fan." This game has to be played out, of course. A World Series game should never be called short. It would be the biggest asterisk ever in a sport that's had enough of them.

posted by Newbie Walker at 03:09 PM on October 28

I was at the game last night. Like TB pitcher Trevor Miller said, once Jimmy Rollins loses that routine pop up in the rain, if they were going to suspend the game, that was the time. Jimmy Rollins is one of the best defensive SS in the game and where he may be stupid enough to bad mouth Phillie fans on Nation TV rather than local, he doesn't drop pop ups. It started raining an hour and a half before the game and every forecast I seen predicted it would get nothing but worse as the night went on. No problem, now Selig joins his Umps in giving TB 2 more runs, runs Rollins would have shut down most likely if not for the conditons. So blame Selig, and Fox (might as well throw ex Phillie Tim Mc Carver and Joe Buck in there too, a couple more real assh*les) for even starting and then ruining the most important baseball game of the year, grab a beer and some popcorn, wait through the 30 minute Obama delay on Fox with the biggest piece of sh*t to ever hold public office, Biden, by his side, and then enjoy the Phillies finally come back and take the title, ah, that felt good, lol.

posted by Fungooli at 03:26 PM on October 28

All very good points, but forcing them to play in those conditions for that long was a slap in the face to the Phillies. To actually admit (in a round about way) that certain folks were hoping the rays would tie it so the game could be called is mind blowing. The game should have been called after the 4th, then continued in the appropriate conditions.

posted by sportsblitz at 03:28 PM on October 28

cjets

I think to say that it's all Selig's fault for the length of the season is a bit of a stretch. All the teams and their ownership have a hand in it. Longer season = more games and more opportunities to earn $$.

And I can't believe that you are making me sound like a Selig apologist.

posted by THX-1138 at 04:36 PM on October 28

I think Selig has simply been in a position where he's had to make a lot of tough decisions that are always going to rub someone the wrong way, but he's made those decisions and accepted the consequences. I used to think Selig was clueless, but the more circumstances like this that he finds himself in, the more I appreciate the difficulty of his job.

If the game had been called due to rain with the Phillies ahead and the World Series had ended at his proclamation, people would have cried foul because he had decided the World Series himself. If he had suspended the game with the Phillies ahead and ruled that it had to be finished, that would also have been derided since the rules would have dictated that the Phillies should be the winner. It was a no-win situation.

Hopefully in the offseason they will make a rule that says that all postseason games must go the full 9 innings (picking up after a weather-related suspension if necessary) so that this situation can be avoided. Take the bad experience and learn something from it.

posted by TheQatarian at 05:03 PM on October 28

"I think to say that it's all Selig's fault for the length of the season is a bit of a stretch. All the teams and their ownership have a hand in it. Longer season = more games and more opportunities to earn $$."

He is supposed to be the guy in charge. So, though I take your point in both this and your previous post that he is not the only guy to blame, he is supposed to act in the best interests of baseball. And if he doesn't, then he's just a tool of the owners. (Kind of like Bush and McCain are tools of wall street, big business and big military. Ahh, that felt good!)

And when a swift decision needs to be made, he always seems to get it wrong. The weather may be out of his control but he screwed up the all star game too.

"And I can't believe that you are making me sound like a Selig apologist."

As always THX, I'm happy to help.

posted by cjets at 05:14 PM on October 28

I'm surprised that something like this doesn't happen more frequently. All things being equal, I think if any mistake was made, it was not stopping the game before it became official. But the current resolution works. Keep playing.

Frankly, the Rays should be thankful.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:08 PM on October 28

Jesus, a rain-delay has happened once. The "sky is falling" talk about how the season is too long is insane. They got unlucky with the time/location of it this year. Regardless of when you have the series, this could happen.

posted by dfleming at 06:38 PM on October 28

Maybe a layoff of several days due to poor weather will result in some better games. This series so far has sucked a big one.

posted by dyams at 06:39 PM on October 28

If this were an Eagles/Bucaneers game, no way anything short of a hurricane would have stopped the game. Man up, MLB! The NFL is mocking you!

/joke

posted by Joey Michaels at 07:18 PM on October 28

The "sky is falling" talk about how the season is too long is insane. They got unlucky with the time/location of it this year.

Actually, it seems to me like some kind of late-season weather issue has become commonplace since they lengthened the playoffs by seven games. It seems like every year they play at least one game in extreme (for baseball) cold, or there's the threat of snow (it hasn't yet snowed during a game, but when was it recently that there was snow at one of the venues on a travel day of a LCS, I think?). I don't think you can call this a one-time-unlucky, unlikely to be repeated scenario.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:10 PM on October 28

I'm not a huge baseball fan but I've been very impressed by Upton's base running. Sunday night he pretty much stole a home run by himself. Monday he scored a run that allowed the game to be suspended. If not for that run, MLB would have been forced to violate it's own rules in order for the World Series not to end with a rain shortened game. It's fun to watch.

posted by rdr at 09:21 PM on October 28

I don't think you can call this a one-time-unlucky, unlikely to be repeated scenario.

Based on the short historical evidence, it's unlikely to happen often. If it was happening every other year, I'd agree that something structurally should be done to change the game, however this just seems like the opportunistic argument of people who just think the season is too long.

posted by dfleming at 10:11 PM on October 28

Why not just start the season a week early? Or two? And be done by mid Oct. I'd consider that most of the problem solved.

posted by BoKnows at 10:49 PM on October 28

Because it snows in april too. Quite a few games have been cancelled early in the year the last few years.

posted by bigpimp311 at 11:18 PM on October 28

Wouldn't weather delayed games in April (or March) be more acceptable than a World Series delay? Methinkso.

posted by BoKnows at 11:45 PM on October 28

Just to clarify, the rules were changed during the last off season for just this situation. Regardless, if the Rays had scored or not, the game would have had to been played to its completion. Unlike during the regular season, which the Phillies would have been declared the winner, the fact that the Rays scored has no bearing on the game being suspended instead of being an official game. The fact that the Rays scored in just coincidence and probably just saved some rioting in Philly with fans thinking they had already won, when, in fact, the game still had to be completed, regardless, of the score.

posted by jagsnumberone at 01:45 AM on October 29

You can't cancel the game before it's played. What do you tell the fans who have made all the arrangements to be in Philadelphia on this day at this time? You play the game and hope for the best. It didn't work out. Are we going to blame Bud Selig for the weather?

Of course you can cancel the game. What do you tell the fans? Tell them the truth. I don't think the commissioner should be making decisions on the fear of what the fans might think. You do what's best for the game, popularity be damned.

You can't blame Selig for the weather, you blame him for starting the game when a number of meteorologists were saying it wouldn't be finished.

Embarrassing for baseball, and a gift to the Rays.

posted by justgary at 04:28 AM on October 29

The reason I'm so hard on Selig is that it is not difficult to do a better job with the weather call.

The folks who were involved in making the weather calls for Game 5 are knuckleheads. We can say this because there have been instances when people in sports have been very smart about the weather.

The best example I can think of is from last year's Indy race. During the race, the Franchitti team was watching the impending rain forecasts while managing the pit stop sequencing.

Franchitti pitted out of sequence from the race leaders. (Partly because he had a tire problem, which turned out to be blind luck).

After he pitted, his crew was expecting more rain that would end the race, and they were wondering if he had enough fuel to hold the lead until the rain arrived.

At one point, one of the crew guys got on the radio and said: "The rain is just eight blocks away". Those are immortal words in my book. The smart guys timed out the arrival of the rain and won the race.

When you compare something like that to how Selig handled the situation with Game 5, Selig is from a different solar system. I'm not expecting Selig to be as bright as an Indy pit crew, god forbid, just bright enough not to screw up the call on a critical game. He doesn't pass the test.

posted by beaverboard at 09:29 AM on October 29

Based on the short historical evidence, it's unlikely to happen often

Wow, I don't think I can agree with that. My memory may be faulty, but it seems to me that every year there's been at least one "way too damn cold to be playing baseball" game.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:33 AM on October 29

If you are going to schedule an outdoor event in the northeast part of the United States in late October, there will be a strong possibility of rain, snow, or cold. DUUUUHHHH! The NFL knows this, and schedules its Super Bowls for warm weather or domed stadium sites. Of course, the football field is uniform in its dimensions, so there is no advantage there for either team.

Some baseball teams are constructed to have an advantage in their home park. Boston and New York (AL) are the more obvious examples. This would seem to preclude holding the World Series at a neutral park. Would it really? The pitcher's plate is 60' 6" from home plate; the bases are 90 feet from each other; the plate is 17" wide; and so on and so on. Once a good team gets to the Series, it has already demonstrated that it can play well anywhere. So why not a neutral site? Claiming that the home fans will be cheated out of a chance to go to the games is not a valid argument. Those attending the ALCS in Boston were the well-heeled members of the pink hat society. In other words, the average fan was not able to afford the tickets, or did not have the connections to get seats. The "rest of the world" is left to watch on TV anyway, so what's the difference with a neutral site? If you want cheering crowds with you, go to a sports' bar.

The one caveat I would add is to pick more than one possible site for the Series in each year. If one site hosts a team that makes it to the series, use another site. This will remove any advantage that might appear.

posted by Howard_T at 12:25 PM on October 29

So why not a neutral site? Claiming that the home fans will be cheated out of a chance to go to the games is not a valid argument. Those attending the ALCS in Boston were the well-heeled members of the pink hat society. In other words, the average fan was not able to afford the tickets, or did not have the connections to get seats. The "rest of the world" is left to watch on TV anyway, so what's the difference with a neutral site? If you want cheering crowds with you, go to a sports' bar.

I can't speak to Boston, but I've attended 5 World Series games over two different series (2004 and 2006) in St. Louis and the crowds were full of mostly die hard fans from all walks of life (although by Game 4 of the 2004 World Series, I would bet the crowd was nearly 30% Boston fans). Many playoff game attendees are season ticket holders (in St. Louis, as I'm sure is the case in Boston, all season ticket holders (at least full season ticket holders) get an option to purchase their seats for the playoffs), and at least in St. Louis there is a broad mix of corporate types, blue collar workers, middle class families, etc. in the season ticket base. I have to say that certain of these games are the most electrifying sporting events I have attended, and to rob true fans of that experience because there are too many pink hatters attending playoff games in Boston is not persuasive to me.

posted by holden at 03:48 PM on October 29

Holden, if you live somewhere that the baseball team is not life or death (to the detriment of the city, not its merit), then seats are available and the cost of season tickets does not rival the cost of a luxury automobile. You are fortunate in St. Louis to have a quality baseball organization that puts out a good product and does not charge whatever the traffic will bear. The unfortunate part about Boston is that attendance at a game has become "the thing to do", not just a fun evening at the ball park. I could afford to purchase a season ticket for the less expensive seats, but the cost of attending the game would be prohibitive. In order for me to get to Fenway, I have to drive for about 45 minutes to a subway stop (or 20 minutes to commuter rail) and park there for a reasonable price. The train fare or subway fare is not expensive, but if I want to get something to eat, have a beer at the game, or whatever, I have nearly doubled the cost of the ticket. If I were able to get a World Series ticket, I'm not sure I'd want to go. Sitting in 30 or 40 degree weather in the rain or snow to watch a contest that has turned into a travesty is not my idea of an electrifying sporting event.

Somehow, the NFL has not robbed fans of the Super Bowl teams of their game experience. Fans still turn out for the regular season and playoff games in spite of the high costs and the prospect that they will have to travel in order to see the championship. Is baseball in that precarious a position with its fans that moving its championship to a neutral site will impact regular season attendance? I think not.

The real solution has nothing to do with moving the games or anything else. Shorten the season, start at the end of April, and end the regular season in mid-September. Of course the owners will cry about the lost revenue, but if player contracts are adjusted accordingly, and other per game expenses figured in, the loss of revenue will not be that great. Of course, all of the above is written with a "Pollyanna" point of view. I know "it ain't gonna happen", but it gives me something to hope for. In the mean time, there are 3 minor league teams within 30 minutes drive of my house. I'll enjoy the sport.

posted by Howard_T at 05:43 PM on October 29

Howard, it's a shame what has happened to the Red Sox in terms of access to tickets. When I was in graduate school across the river in Cambridge in the late 1990s/early 2000s, not only could you get tickets for most games throughout the season, you could also get discount tickets for games against teams like the Twins, Rays, and A's. I used to pay about $15 for tickets (usually in the right field corner -- the seats for which, distressingly, seemed oriented towards straightaway center) on the day of game for those less popular games. That said, if you're lucky enough to have gotten on the bandwagon early on or if you somehow making through the hell that is the virtual waiting room on the day tickets go on sale, there are still some affordable options out there -- a good friend of mine has a partial season ticket for the Red Sox that gets him about 20 games per year at about $25 a ticket (but that package is grandfathered in and is not offered to new subscribers any more).

I guess what it comes down to is that it ultimately depends on your particular circumstances as to how feasible getting to a game is and whether it's worth the sacrifice. I actually live in Chicago, but am about equidistant between Wrigley and U.S. Cellular (just about 3 miles from each), so I can easily take public transportation to each in about 20 minutes and for $1.75. When we go to post-season games in St. Louis (where my father-in-law has season tickets), my in-laws live close enough to the stadium that it's just not that much of a hassle, and they more or less always pay (but I've played a part in giving them two grandsons, so it's kind of a wash as far as I'm concerned). So I've never really had to deal with some of the costs (in terms of time and money) of getting to ball games that you have to. I will say that I sat through a two hour rain delay for Game 4 of the 2006 World Series (a game that was ultimately postponed) and have gladly braved temperatures in the high 30's/low 40's for postseason games and early regular season games, but that's worth it for me. I admit to being a bit of a baseball nut, tohugh.

I don't find your point about the Super Bowl compelling, however. That is one game, not a series of up to 7 games. It is also an event (both from a televised and on-the-ground/surrounding the actual game standpoint) and destination in every sense of the word, whereas World Series baseball games are just like regular games with a bit more fanfare. I like that the World Series is played at the respective leagues' champions' parks -- and not just for reasons of tradition; it is like a reward for the season ticket-holders and fans who have sat through the highs and lows of that team all year, and the streets of the city that is hosting it just have an energy about them that would not be there if the games were hosted at neutral venues. The Super Bowl has to be viewed separately in American sports -- there is no other significant league that plays a best-of format and does so at a neutral site. Considering someone upthread was put in the position of defending/siding with Bud Selig, perhaps it's worth point out that the neutral site idea has been floated by none other than Boston fans' number one favorite person, Scott Boras (albeit in a slightly different format).

I think the real solution to shortening the season would be to add 6-12 day/night double headers per team, per season to the mix, like in the olden days, which could lop 1-2 weeks off the season.

posted by holden at 06:19 PM on October 29

My thoughts about canceling the regularly scheduled game 5 was that, for baseball, it would have been a much bigger debacle. At the time, they thought that the game had a chance of being finished. They gambled and lost. Baseball has been suffering from something of a public relations problem. I cannot see how not at least making the attempt to play a scheduled game would be a worse scenario than turning away fans and telling them that there will be no World Series today. They tried that once (albeit under different circumstances) and it almost killed the game.

Yes Selig is a very bad decision maker. And yes he is blindly taking baseball down the wrong path in terms of promoting the game and connecting with a larger part of the fanbase. I'm just saying that in this instance it 'aint all his fault.

Shorten the season, possibly. Definitely shorten the playoffs. Don't be ruled by the dollar to the extent that you get short term gains at the expense of the long term benefits.

posted by THX-1138 at 07:04 PM on October 29

THX, people keep saying "canceled", but the game would have been postponed, not canceled -- it would have been played at a later date, and tickets would presumably have been honored just as they would have been for a regular season game. I just don't see how that would lead to a public relations disaster that the game of baseball would never recover from.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:46 PM on October 29

Congratulations to the 2008 World Series Champion Phillies and their fans!

posted by Joey Michaels at 10:05 PM on October 29

l_b_b, If you traveled to Philadelphia from out of town (like many people did) and like most normal people could only attend game 5, it would have effectively been canceled for you. And one might assume you would be pissed. And that you might not be alone in your opinion. Of course, perhaps you are more financially well off and can afford to remain in town awaiting a then unknown date of conclusion.

And of course, I never said that the game of baseball would never recover from a postponed (better?) World Series game. I was trying to suggest that Major League Baseball can ill afford public relations fuck ups. And that the season is way too damn long.

posted by THX-1138 at 11:08 PM on October 29

This morning, Bob Ryan, in his Boston Globe blog, cited an old quote that went, "Baseball must be a great game to survive the people who run it."

posted by Howard_T at 10:41 AM on October 30

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