On a night not fit for neither man or Phillie Phanatic, Major League Baseball tried to squeeze in what could have been the deciding contest of the 2008 World Series between the rain, wind and bags of Diamond Dry.
After essentially condemning that the Phillies-Rays clash – ironically, Game 3 was the best to date – would become the lowest-rated Phall Classic contest and Series ever when it decided to throw out the first pitch after 10 p.m. (ET) Saturday night, MLB compounded its error on Monday.
This is not to say that MLB shouldn’t have tried to play Game 5. God knows, metereologists don’t have the highest of batting averages. But the phorecast did call for rain and unfortunately those weathermen projecting the yeck to get progressively worse were right.
Just about everything else was wrong. The Citizens Bank Park phaithful, looking to savor the Phillies’ first title in 28 years and only the second in the phranchise’s sorry 125-year-history, were drenched and looked miserable. The players’ safety, particularly the infielders, was put at risk.
Meanwhile, broadcast partner Fox was left to play the phool. The network was not informed that the game, regardless of score and inning would be played out to its conclusion, even if Cole Hamels and the home team were ahead after five Tampa at-bats.
MLB commissioner Bud Selig told The New York Times that “under no circumstances would the Phillies have won the game – and the series – before the completion of nine innings.”
For his part, Rays resident Matt Silverman told the Globe & Mail that the squads "were told before the game that Selig would use his powers to ensure that a full nine innings were played, however long it took and however long the delay.”
Well, if that were the case, Rays manager Joe Maddon didn’t appear to get the memo. In a post-game interview on ESPN he sounded less than convincing that he knew matters only would be squared after Tampa batted nine times..
Fox’s broadcast team of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, and, by association, the games’ viewers, got hung out to dry. Buck-McCarver were left to comment that Carlos Penas’ sixth-inning single that plated B.J. Upton with the equalizer saved MLB from having its championship decided by the elements — because recently instituted rules no longer had games revert to the previous inning’s score, if the phollowing half-phrame was not phinished.
Of course, telling viewers the contest would be phully played out another day wouldn’t do much for keeping sports fans from locking their remotes on ESPN’s MNF matchup between the Indianapolis Colts and the undefeated Tennesse Titans.
And who knows, maybe Fox executives were quietly rooting for the game to be completed with the Phils as champions? As such, Tuesday night’s lineup of House and Phringe wouldn’t be sacrificed if Game 5 were resumed then.
By the way, the phorecast is also very iffy for today/tonight in Philly. Should MLB extend Game 5 into Wednesday and the Rays win and then send matters to the ultimate contest it would be played on Halloween. Anybody for a phools costume?
Next year, because of the World Baseball Classic, the World Series won’t begin until Oct. 27, and if it goes seven, not conclude until Nov. 4. That will mark the first time MLB pushes into the 11th month by design, not by national emergency as was the case with the Yankees-Diamondbacks seven years ago in the wake of Sept. 11.
Now that’s phoolish scheduling.