With the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays tied in a crucial Game Five of the 2008 World Series, Bud Selig announced that the game would be suspended due to inclement weather. The game was heading to the bottom of the 6th inning, and when it was to resume, the Phillies would be batting with Grant Balfour on the mound.
It was a tough decision to make, but Bud made the call. You got a problem with that?
Apparently, yes. Yes, you do. Well, you personally might not, but there are a lot of people that are up in arms about the decision. Some say that the game should have been officially in the books, and the Phillies should win the World Series because five innings of the game were completed, Phillies with the lead. Bud realized the possibility of this before it even happened, and said that no World Series game should ever be called after less than nine innings. How can anyone disagree with that?
What's surprising me is how many people agree with the decision to suspend the game, but disagree about when the decision was made. Some say the game went on too long, others say that it should have been called as early as the 3rd inning.
Look, this is a circumstance that has never happened before in baseball's history. No World Series game has ever been suspended for a day, much less for two days. But that's what happened this season, and instead of going back to Tampa tonight for a Game Six, we're going to play 2 1/2 innings (at least) of baseball in Philly.
It's the decision that was made, but it's still unacceptable to many. And why is that, exactly?
Because Bud Selig made the call.
No matter what the decision, people always find a way to criticize the moves Bud Selig is making. The guy just never seems to get a break. I say that he could very well be the best commissioner of a major American sport. Maybe not, but it certainly is up for debate. Yet, everyone just loves to come down on the guy.
Is it because of the All-Star game tie in Milwaukee in 2001? Is it because steroids became popular in the mid-1990s, and ruined the integrity of the game? Is it because baseball was forced to strike in 1994? Or is it because the sport was embarrassed with possible contraction towards the turn of the century?
Sure, those were some tough times for baseball, but I'd like to argue that the criticism given to each and every one of those cases is overblown. Well, except for the strike, that was terrible.
I know it sucks that our favorite heroes used steroids and mashed home run after home run, but it brought me back into the game after the strike. And I know I'm not the only one. So that's a grey area.
Contraction? Sorry to the fans in Minnesota and Montreal about your hurt feelings. But baseball was going through some difficult times both financially, and in terms of on field quality. The discussion of contraction eventually lead to increased revenue sharing, and has improved the product of baseball.
The All-Star Game tie? I love that the All-Star game actually counts for something now, I do. But seriously, declaring the All-Star game a tie should not be a reason for us to hate Bud. The game went 11 innings, it was enjoyable, and Selig did what was in the best interest of his players. What's so wrong about calling it after 11 entertaining innings? I guarantee nobody would remember who even won that game, if there was actually a winner.
This is the man that gave us the Wild Card, inter league play, and the World Baseball Classic. He's been constantly helping to revolutionize the game, and keep it competitive. He's also been responsible for keeping the fan interest alive, at a time when the NFL has become the favorite sport of Americans.
He's a guy that loves baseball, and works everyday to ensure it's success.
So when a World Series game is suspended because of something beyond any of our control, as in the weather, what is this guy supposed to do? He was put in a position to make a decision, and I believe he made the right one. Some agree with it, some don't. But there are way too many people to disagree with it solely because it was the decision of one Allan H. Bud Selig.
I say, enough is enough. Forty thousand people rose to their feet when Bud Selig threw out the first pitch before Game Four of the NLDS in Milwaukee, and gave him a standing ovation. Those forty thousand people realized the hard work and commitment that our commish has given us after all these years. Sure, there were hard times, but there have also been a lot of good times. Baseball is a better game because of Bud Selig, and we realized that.
If only the rest of you could do the same.