The rains came to Philadelphia, and with them comes a controversy that ensnares Bud Selig. This guy can't seem to get away from controversy.
From revenue sharing to interleague play to the wild card to the now-tainted 1998 home run chase to the the All-Star Game ending in a tie to the Mitchell Report to the 2008 World Series Game 5 ending in a tie.
Some of these things have turned out to be nightmarish PR issues for Major League Baseball.
But some of these things worked out pretty well. I clearly can't speak for everyone, but I like interleague play, wild card teams and the Mitchell Report.
I was never all that thrilled with the 1998 home run chase, and the revelations of the Mitchell Report certainly didn't soften my stance.
The 2002 All-Star game ending in a tie didn't bother me so much at the time. It's an exhibition game. Honestly, who cares if it ends in a tie? A good way to make sure that doesn't happen again...allow free substitution in the All-Star game. Why not? You have two different sets of rules already in MLB. Is this such an outlandish suggestion?
It's better than having an exhibition game decide which team (League) gets home field advantage in the World Series. "This Time it Counts" ? Hardly. It's a stupid outcome from a stupid situation, and shines a dim light on MLB's inability to plan ahead.
MLB frequently reacts rather than acts. And the 'solutions' they come up with are often worse than the problem they were trying to fix.
This is why I am not going to fuss too much about the events of Game 5. We all knew they were going to start the game come hell or heavy rain. We all suspected somewhere in the third inning that there was at least going to be a rain delay. There are suppositions that MLB let the game go on until there was a tie so they could save face.
Whatever the case is, word on the street is that the game would have been played out to the full nine innings no matter what. If that is the case, why not call a delay/suspension after the fourth inning when things really started to get dicey?
I'm sure that MLB just wanted to get as much of the game in as they could. Whatever. What's done is done.
As a Phillies fan, I am disappointed at how things went down. I am more irritated that the Phillies have already left nine runnners on base through the first six innings. I was really really annoyed with three weak-ass pop ups in the bottom of the 5th with two men on.
I do feel that Cole Hamels has been denied his chance at history (first 5-0 postseason pitcher) by MLB's shortsightedness. The rain certainly affected his pitching. This is not sour grapes - any pitcher would have been adversely affected by that downpour.
And it is the World Series. So MLB would want the players to keep going longer than they would in the regular season.
But the problem will come if MLB and Selig react to this. Who knows what kind of crap they'd come up with? Their solution the All-Star game tie sucked.
Even though it is a basackwards way of doing things, I'd rather just let it go. Chalk this up to "An Act of God" or "circumstances beyond our control" - but don't ask MLB or Selig to do anything to change/fix things.
That would just make things worse.
The St. Petersburg Times has an article in today's edition that looks at the rain suspension situation thusly:
Headline: "FOR THE RAYS, NIGHT NOT SO MISERABLE"
"If you are a traditionalist, you may believe that baseball did the right thing. Eventually. If you are a romantic, you can imagine that the Tampa Bay Rays have just received one more bit of fortune in their wonderful story. Magically. And if you are a Phanatic, you can feel free to worry that Bud Selig has extended the black cloud over Philadelphia for a little bit longer. Accursedly."
Interesting. I see it like this. If the Rays truly believe that MLB did them a favor, then they are in trouble. The Phillies should be furious and ready to kill when the umps call "play ball!"
"...the rain seemed to have awakened the Rays" ? If they needed to be "awakened" then perhaps they shouldn't be here? Why would they need to be awakened? It's the friggin' World Series!
I don't see this as a momentum killer. If not winning a World Series since 1980 didn't kill the momentum, this certainly won't.
So - Bud Selig, do what you do best. Nothing. Continue to sit on your hands and let the adults figure this out.
And Phillies - Don't lose your focus. Don't sweat the small stuff. Forget about the rain. The fans will be there behind you, as they always have.
Go out there and play the way you did in game 4. If you do that, all this rain crap will be washed away and be nothing more than a distant memory. And next thing you know, you could be World Series champs.