The 2008 World Series has turned into the series full of surprises.
The Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series? Yeah right.
The Philadelphia Phillies, the losingest team in pro sports history, in the World Series? Yeah right.
World Series umpires making a bevy of bad calls? Not in the World Series, right?
Now, Game Five was suspended due to rain. With the score tied 2-2, the Rays and the Phillies must wait until the rain subsides before resuming play. Keep in mind, the rain may not stop until Wednesday.
I, along with many fans, have issues with the way this transpired.
We live in a world where technology can provide readings of where rain is traveling, what time it will be there, the approximate amount, etc. So, if rain was predicted, why not postpone the game? Okay, so maybe technology was wrong and provided wrong information.
So then, my questions shift to decisions made during the game. Why wasn’t the game suspended when the rain began to fall? At that point, there must have been some indication that the conditions were only going to get worse. There was no reason to have the players risk injury and have the fans endure miserable conditions.
As I watched players on both sides attempt to stay warm by blowing into their hands, I knew that MLB was doing these athletes a disservice. As Cole Hamels stood on base, his warm breath was visible in the chilly air.
One couldn’t help but think of the risk these ballplayers were being asked to make by playing in those conditions. It’s not just a game for them; it’s their livelihood. What would have happened if, because of the inclement weather, one of the players got injured? What do you say to them when they were giving it their all, it is the World Series, after all, and bad judgment ended their season—or worse, their career?
The other issue I have with the timing of the decision to suspend the game is the score.
While the Phillies held the lead, they were forced to play on. The rain was already beating down on the players and puddles had been established and were increasing with every at-bat. Yet, the game was still on.
Is it a coincidence that minutes after the Ray’s Carlos Pena hits a single to score B.J. Upton and tie the game, the game was suspended?
Fine, even if one believes it was a coincidence, the decision to have the players play and the freezing fans sit in those horrible conditions was unfair and embarrassing for baseball.
There was no reason to have everyone suffer for that long.
The chief of the umpiring crew, Tim Welke, said that if the weather didn’t affect the pitcher’s mound or the area around the plate, they would continue.
Really? I’m sorry, I thought that taking some time to dig the mud out of one’s cleats would fall under that category. Apparently, pools of water in the batter’s box wouldn’t affect the batter. Oh, and it seems the pellets of water falling from the sky didn’t affect the pitcher, catcher, or the hitter.
Oops, my bad. I thought that the rainstorm, plus the 30-degree weather, was enough to suspend a game a few innings earlier. What was I thinking?
It angers me when I see the Phillies’ Gold Glove shortstop Jimmy Rollins dance around the infield trying to fight the wind and the rain to try to catch a pop up. It further infuriates me when he is charged with an error, as if the weather had no affect on the play.
The elements should never affect the integrity of the game and its players.
It’s a sad day when the game is compromised by selfish reasons. Whether it be television schedules, possibility of extending the series, or arrogance, Game Five of the 2008 World Series will be remembered for its ridiculousness.
10 games down, one to go.
Non-baseball Baseball Notes
Hats off the fans: I’m fuming, but kudos to all the fans in Philadelphia who sat in the freezing temperatures and the chilling rain to cheer for their team.
Hats off the ear flaps: I'm a sucker, I fall for it all the time. I see the ballplayers wear the hats with the flaps, now I like it. Ugh.