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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'd love to have a word with Bud Selig today.

The commissioner of Major League Baseball is surely in a tough spot. After he suspended Game 5 of the World Series last night in the middle of the sixth inning, shortly after the Tampa Bay Rays tied the Philadelphia Phillies at 2 in the top half of that inning, Selig is taking fire. While the key to the city of Tampa may arrive on his desk any moment now, Selig may be burned in effigy any moment now here in Philly.

Seeing as I'm a Philadelphia resident and rooting for the Phillies, you might think I'd fall directly in the latter camp. I'm not that histrionic about it, but I do think the way last night was handled was rather incompetent to say the least. While it's true that the rain was misting around the time of the first pitch, I'd seen forecasts calling for heavier precipitation as the night went on. At least two Phillie fan buddies of mine said they'd seen the same thing, and one even called the eventual rain delay.

So you're telling me that Major League Baseball didn't know the storm was coming? (Literally; we'll get to the figurative storm in a sec.)

Please. I've seen many a game called before it even began in the regular season, and with a potential Game 6 and Game 7 scheduled to be played in a dome in Florida, weather wasn't an issue for the later games. The game should have been postponed.

Let's say Selig does so at 7pm last night. That's before anyone blew $10 on parking, $40-50 for food and souvenirs and whatever else (One WIP caller this morning claimed he'd blown $3,100 on tickets and the whole shebang. I know he gets to come back on Wednesday night when the game resumes, but dayum.) And what of the many fans who flew or drove in from long distances to see the game? (They're going to have plenty of fans in Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday, but not nearly as many - and they better have all gotten free parking. Charging two times for parking for the same game would be a disgrace.)

So Selig didn't do that. He still could've avoided this mess by recognizing that the field was a mess. The grounds crew took a long time prior to the Phillies' turn at bat dousing the pitching mound with drying agents, and many at the brewery (re: Selig, natch) where I was watching the game wondered aloud what the hell was going on. I can see playing through a little rain, but come on.

Some journalists have declared that Selig did the right thing:
Lost in the confusion, frustration and exasperation of Monday night's suspended Game 5 was this clubhouse exchange with Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley:

Reporter: "Would you want to win a World Series based on a rain rule?"

Utley: "No, absolutely not."

And with that, Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig is officially removed from the controversy hook.

What a load of crap. The hook is getting sharpened as we speak, and I can assure you that if the Phillies somehow lose this Series, Selig may become Philadelphia's most hated figure. I'm not saying that's rational, but it is what it is. Selig and the umps didn't steal this Series clincher from the Phillies; more like fumbled it.

Much like Jimmy Rollins fumbled that wet, muddy grounder in the sixth, the one that led the Rays to tie the game. Maybe Philly has a point after all.


  • A Series interrupted by rain is not without precedent.

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