Don't call it Weathergate

Evan BrunellFeatured ColumnistOctober 29, 2008

There are so many reasons to love the sport of baseball. One of the top reasons for this writer is that even after 100 years of playing the nation's pastime, there is still a good chance that every year you'll see something that has never happened before. The 2008 World Series is a great example of that; not because of the Rays turnaround, or the Phillies dominance thus far, but because of the weather.

First and foremost, before this spreads any worse, please refrain from the annoying habit of adding the word "gate" to anything controversial. I would rather exchange text messages with Kwame Kilpatrick then look back 20 years from now and hear about the Weathergate World Series. Thank you.

Now we got that out of the way, consider this: Never before in the history of the sport has a World Series game been suspended due to weather. 100 years of October and sometimes November weather, and not once did Mother Nature say "Sorry, not going to finish this one." Even better yet, nobody in baseball, not the commissioner, not the unions, thought to have a formal and official game plan should such an event ever occur.

You can say what you want about Bud Selig, and everyone has at some point, but he has dealt with two unprecedented crisis situations by making a seat-of-his-pants decision. The tie game at the All-Star game made him as popular as John Murtha in a rural country town, but he had to do something; same with the rain delay two nights ago.

Selig knew he wouldn't end a series-clinching game based on the weather, but also knew the rules were in place to back him up. He improvised, showed the leadership that has served him well throughout his term as interim and official commissioner of baseball, and made a decision. The best part is, it was a decision that was universally acknowledged as the right one, even by Donald Fehr of the Player's Union.

Think about that decision and all the ramifications of it. The Rays had already checked out of their hotels! They had to shack up in Delaware for a night, and then extend their stay when the game couldn't be played last night. What happens to the ticket holders; can you imagine getting two "games" for the price of one? For the World Series, of all things? Think about all the strategy involved now from the manager's side; should they start their game six starter or begin the game with the bullpen?

I hope they are able to play tonight's game, and I hope the Phillies win. I'm sure this offseason the bookkeepers within the league are going to pen up some official guidelines for World Series weather-related delays and we'll never be subjected to the confusion and disarray of 2008 again. In the meantime, I am going to appreciate the absolute chaos that surrounded something we've never seen before, and something we'll never see again.