Questioning last night’s rain delay

'Outside the Lines' goes inside the Stadium issue
Final nail in the Peavy coffin

At 10:19, nearly 30 minutes before the umpires eventually halted play, my dad sent me the following e-mail: “They are making a farce of baseball and the World Series by playing this game now.” At that point, the field was soaked, puddles were forming and no one was really having any fun out there.

A half an hour later, the game was halted, and about forty minutes after that, Bud Selig officially suspended the game until later tonight or whenever this rain stops. In the ensuing press conference, Selig mentioned something that, to me, raised a few red flags. Joshua Robinson has the report on the Bats blog:

UPDATE, 11:24: Selig just explained that if the Phillies had been ahead when play was stopped, the game would have technically entered a “rain delay.” That means that we would have waited here until conditions were playable again. But Selig specified that it would not have been called a Phillies victory. “I wasn’t about to let that happen,” he said…

UPDATE, 11:32: He also reiterated that he did not want to have to call this game a Phillies victory if they had stopped with Philadelphia in front: “I have to use my judgment. This is not a way to end a World Series.”

If Selig was so dead set on suspending this call and not awarding the Phillies the World Championship based on a 4.5 inning game — a decision which I support — why couldn’t the umpires halt play a little sooner? At no point in between 10:00 p.m. and 10:41 p.m. when the game was stopped should baseball have been played. Had this not been a World Series, the tarp would have been rolled out well before it finally made its October debut.

I am loathe to subscribe to conspiracy theories involving FOX, Bud Selig or the Masons, but someone was putting pressure on someone else to get this game in. If Bud had the authority to suspend and not end an official game, he should have done so well before 10:41 p.m. Personally, I’m just going to take the easy route out and as Mike did, blame A-Rod. It’s always his fault anyway.

'Outside the Lines' goes inside the Stadium issue
Final nail in the Peavy coffin
  • A.D.

    They should just look to alter the rules so that no WS or playoff game can end without 9 innings being played.

    I think suspending the game is the right way to go, but as mentioned it could have been suspended in the top of the 5th or earlier. However there have been a bunch of games mysteriously tried to be played through terrible weather this year, so its not the first time

  • Brett

    It will be interesting to see, assuming they can’t play tonight, if they bring Hamels back in tomorrow for an inning or two. I doubt he’ll pitch tonight.

    • Chris C.

      I don’t think they would. The Phillies have way too many real good pitchers to have to go with a guy who has to be a bit tired, even two days later. Especially your franchise pitcher. I think Madson will start the 7th.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

    Can you imagine how pissed we would be if the Yanks had to pull Wang or Joba after six innings and 75 pitches because no one at MLB can read a Doppler radar report? We’d be utterly livid. I’d imagine that’s how Phillies fans feel right now.

    • Brett

      We got screwed enough by the rain in 2004

    • Chris C.

      Well, maybe if they start these games at 7pm, like they should, it wouldn’t be a problem. Most of the people watching at home are falling asleep before the ends of almost every damn game.

      On Saturday and Sunday especially…….there is NO REASON to have the first pitches being thrown around 8:30!

    • Chris C.

      Can you imagine how pissed we would be if the Yanks had to pull Wang or Joba after six innings and 75 pitches because no one at MLB can read a Doppler radar report? We’d be utterly livid. I’d imagine that’s how Phillies fans feel right now.

      Hey, that’s the breaks. It effects BOTH teams, not just the Phillies.
      That’s why if you plan on winning a World series, you should have a deep starting staff, and a stellar bullpen.

      How livid could Phils fans be? The game is tied, they’re up 3-1 in the series, and they’ll have Hamels available again anyway in some capaciy should the series go to a game 7.

  • radnom

    Ben K. thats the second reference to talking to your father while watching the game in as many days. Are you trying to be the next Bill Simmons? :p

    • Bo

      He needs more Karate Kid and 90210 references.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

        He needs more Karate Kid and 90210 and gambling and pornography references.

        • radnom

          Pornography?

          Maybe I should actually start reading him.

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            From his column in ESPNmag:

            Reason No. 947 [that I love sports]: The thought of 365-pound CC Sabathia laboring through a 98° game at Yankee Stadium in 2012 with four more years and $105 million remaining on his contract. Please, God. I don’t ask for much.”

            Careful what you wish for, Billy-Boy. Sabathia is Curt Schilling, only younger and a lefty.

            http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?section=magazine&id=3656833

    • Chris C.

      Ben…….I agree with you 100%.
      Right down to the fault lying with AROD.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

        Yup. At 9:37pm last night, Alex was at The Night Before Lounge in Lincoln, NE, with Joba, “making it rain.” That’s what precipitated all the precipitation.

    • Wayne’s World

      It’s nice to see a young fella’ respecting the old timers…don’t knock Ben referring to his old and grateful Dad.

      This post has been supplied by his old and grateful Dad.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

        I’m Ben’s dad, and I approved this message.

  • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

    “If Selig was so dead set on suspending this call and not awarding the Phillies the World Championship based on a 4.5 inning game — a decision which I support — why couldn’t the umpires halt play a little sooner?”

    Agreed. If Selig is going to invoke his Commissioner powers to declare that a full game must be played, rain-delay rules be damned, he could have done it whether it was 2-1 Phillies at the top of the 6th or 2-2 tied at the middle of the six. This whole desire to wait until the game was tied to call it is idiotic, and another classic example of Bud Selig’s weak will and reluctance to deal with an issue.

    Selig (or some other senior official) could have easily spoken with the umpiring crew and both teams and told them, as the storm began, that the game was going to go a full 9 regardless of where game action was at the point it became necessary to halt play, and the umps should have been told to pull the trigger as soon as conditions hampered the quality of play.

    • radnom

      That clearly would have made too much sense.

    • Chris C.

      Did anyone who watched the game happen to notice that just about every decision and call seemed to go against TB?

      I mean geez, Hammil was BLATENTLY getting a bigger strike zone than Kazmir was. The exact same pitch locations that were called “balls” for Kazmir were called “strikes” for Hammils. It was very one-sided.

      And to make TB bat during that 6th inning with the field flooded and the rain just pouring down was ridiculous. They depend heavily on their running game, and those conditions just destroy a good portion of their offensive strategy. It’s amazing Upton was able to run on that field. Even against the elements, TB was able to tie the game that inning.

      THEN they call the game, so the Phillies don’t have to bat through it.
      I seriously wonder if they’d have called it there if the score were still 2-1.

      It just seemed like everything went against TB yesterday. Like maybe the umps didn’t particularly want to travel back down to Tampa.

      I’m not usually on board with this kind of thinking, but the umping was THAT partial to Philly.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

        Dorothy Hamill pitches for the the Phillies? Huh, I always wondered what she was up to post-Ice-Capades. Good for her.

        • Chris C.

          She was “skating through” until the 6th inning.

          Okay…..that was bad. I deserved it for the horrid spelling.
          Althought they do have similar hair.

      • TomG

        That’s funny, from a Philly supporter’s point of view, I thought they gave the Rays too much of a chance to tie the game before calling the delay. Kazmir may have been squeezed at times, but I think Philly would have much rather had the game suspended while they were up a run. The argument that it hurt the Rays because they ‘depend on their running game’ was typical Fox BS analysis. I wouldn’t want to be pitching or losing my footing playing defense in that shit either.

        • Chris C.

          “That’s funny, from a Philly supporter’s point of view, I thought they gave the Rays too much of a chance to tie the game before calling the delay.”

          How so? You think it’s easy running the bases and swinging a bat in that weather? That is an advantage to the pitcher, because he’s constantly throwing a dry baseball. I thought the Rays overcame a real bad decision of making them bat that inning.
          It just so happened that the Rays tied the game up at a time when the weather and field were clearly at a point where you just couldn’t play through it. Would you have liked your Phillies to have to bat in that?
          Instead, they get nice dry whether for their half of the 6th.

          “I wouldn’t want to be pitching or losing my footing playing defense in that shit either.”

          Neither were a factor in the Rays scoring their 2nd run. In fact, the play at the plate was closer than it should have been, because Upton had to tiptoe around third.
          The Rays tied the game because Pena FINALLY took the outside pitch to left. That was the same pitch Hamels had been throwing all game, even when it was dry.

          For the record, Joe Maddon DID NOT want to play the top of the 6th in that weather, so that tells you how much of an advantage he felt his team was getting.

          The argument that it hurt the Rays because they ‘depend on their running game’ was typical Fox BS analysis.

          Oh, you’re right. the Rays don’t depend on their runing game. The 24 stolen bases they have in the postseason never amounted to anything. And it’s easy to run in mud.

          • TomG

            OK, I stand corrected. It’s easier to play defense in the mud than run in a straight line. Rollins first step for that ball hit up the middle and his handling of it wasn’t affected by the mud because Joe Buck said so. No way can that logic be called into question. And the pitcher always has a dry baseball in a torrential downpour because Tim McCarver points to it as fact. Again, who can argue with that well-reasoned analysis?

            We don’t know how the conditions affected the game, so it should have been suspended while the Phillies were up a point as I said.

            • Chris C.

              “OK, I stand corrected. It’s easier to play defense in the mud than run in a straight line. Rollins first step for that ball hit up the middle and his handling of it wasn’t affected by the mud because Joe Buck said so.”

              Oh, c’mon. Even if Rollins fields that cleanly, he is NOT throwing Upton out there. And if the field wasn’t wet, that ball goes into centerfield.

              “And the pitcher always has a dry baseball in a torrential downpour because Tim McCarver points to it as fact.”

              Tim McCarver, for all his bufoonery, was also a former major league catcher who recalls delivering new baseballs to his pitcher after every pitch when it’s raining out. Do you see hitters getting new bats after every pitch?
              And before that half inning started, they put new sand around the mound, so Hamels did not appear to be that affected on his delivery either.

              “We don’t know how the conditions affected the game, so it should have been suspended while the Phillies were up a point as I said.”

              I agree with you there (although they use the term “run” in baseball). However, to insinuate that the Rays had an easy time scoring a run in the 6th is nonsense. You cannot let Upton steal a base in those puddles, like Hamels did. He had 4 steps to 2nd before Hamels even delivered the ball. THAT’S what cost the Phillies a run, not the weather.

              • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

                I agree with you there (although they use the term “run” in baseball).

                Hah, I missed that.

                Tom G. = C. Montgomery Burns

                “I’m sure I’ll work out which pedal is the velocorator and which one the deceleratrix. Out of my way, pedestrians! I’m a motorist!”

    • Chris C.

      “If Selig was so dead set on suspending this call and not awarding the Phillies the World Championship based on a 4.5 inning game — a decision which I support — why couldn’t the umpires halt play a little sooner?”

      Exactly. And futhermore, why didn’t the announcers and fans know it? McCarver and Buck kept reminding everyone of the rules in a rain-shortened game, not knowing that Selig had no intention of applying them in this case.
      And Selig claimed they made this decision on SATURDAY, because rain this week was very likely.
      How about sharing it with the fans then?

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

        After looking this up again, I may have been wrong. According to Rule 4.12, it’s not clear if Selig could have issued a blanket suspension of the game if the score was not tied. This should be up to the discretion of the Commissioner for World Series games. I can’t believe they were actually going to plan until either (a) Tampa tied the game or (b) 9 innings elapsed and the Phillies won.

        • Chris C.

          Yeah, how the heck could the score, and not the weather,
          dictate when they stop and start a ballgame? If they had a suspension plan in place regardless, why would the score matter?

          Even when Selig and company seemingly make a decent decision to “suspend” the ballgame, you just know this boob is gonna say something dumb afterwards.

  • jsbrendog

    damn you arod

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    Bottom line, this was a no-win situation. No matter how it played out, it would have been the wrong decision.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      Just like Superbowl XLII.

    • Chris C.

      Yeah, I think it was MOSTLY the right decision though.
      The only thing they did wrong was play the top of the 6th.

  • ceciguante

    you’re posting because a rain delay came 45 minutes later than you would have liked? because the league tried to get in a world series game?

    seriously?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      “Trying to get in” a World Series game isn’t exactly the best way to go about promoting your Jewel Event or encouraging a fair outcome. There’s a legitimate gripe here whether you want to admit it or not. Again, had the Yanks been playing, you wouldn’t be saying the same thing.

      • ceciguante

        Your presumption that you are correct in the legitimacy of your gripe is funny. Please don’t try that in front of a judge. I assure you it will lose.

        Sure, the weather sucked. But you appear as if you just look for things to gripe about. They stopped the game! Just as you wanted. You are arguing about whether they made the decision 45 minutes too late. The word petty doesn’t do justice that level of nitpicking.

    • Wayne’s World

      Well, if Upton wrecked his career stealing that base, how would you feel? The health of the players should come first. Baseball put the future of every athlete on that field at risk by letting that game continue.

      • ceciguante

        was upton really in danger of “wrecking his career” any more than he is in any other game where the field is wet? please. this is the ultimate in complaining, hindsight responses.

        upton obviously had no trouble running on the field, as he demonstrated. saying he had a substantially increased injury risk is pure conjecture. by that reasoning, players should never play in fog, any degree of rain, etc. but they do, b/c they’re pros, and b/c in one of the top 5-7 biggest games of the season, the league has a huge interest in getting the game in if it can. to run a stopwatch and say “i thought it should’ve been called at 1020pm, but it was called at 1050, therefore i’ve got a gripe” is just ridiculous.

        • Chris C.

          “upton obviously had no trouble running on the field, as he demonstrated.”

          When did he demonstrate that he had no trouble running on the field? He stole 2nd because he got an unbelievable jump off of Cole Hamels, and he ran very gingerly around third when scoring on Pena’s hit. You think that play would have been that close on a dry field?

          • ceciguante

            it’s not a question of whether the play would have been closer if it was dry. so he cornered 3d base slower, like all the players on both teams had to…are you suggesting that there was a significantly greater chance of injury to him or anyone else b/c of the weather? it’s the WS, suck it up, it doesn’t get any more important than that game.

            in the NFL, they play in ice and snow, and nobody complains about a threat to the players. now MLBers have to sit down in the WS as soon as it gets a little slippery? i’m not buying it.

    • TomG

      I think the discussions is whether the game’s premiere event should fall under the same set of rules as a regular season game in regards rain delays. It’s a good, timely topic.

      • Chris C.

        I say no. Selig was right to say that he wouldn’t allow a WS game to end up shortened due to rain.
        This is not game #88 on a schedule. This is the WORLD SERIES.

  • Wayne’s World

    From today’s NY Times, here is the report about what the only man in Philadelphia who had not seen the real weather forecast had to say:

    “Selig met before the game with umpires and top executives from the Phillies and the Rays. He blamed a faulty forecast for the decision to play the game.

    ‘We were told about 7:45 that there’d only be about a tenth of an inch of rain between then and midnight or after,’ Selig said. ‘So everybody in the room wanted to play. Given the weather forecast that we had — and I had monitored it over and over again — it was a decision that we made. I made it with some significant trepidation, but had the forecast held, we’d have been O.K.’

    [end of Times quote]

    Selig’s weather forecast must have been supplied by the team of senior executives at Fox Sports.

    • Marsha

      That is so WHACK! I saw the Weather Channel in the morning saying the game probably won’t be played due to inclement weather. Just starting that game was an insult to the players and the fans.

      • Chris C.

        If they really wanted to get the game in, they should have started the game earlier………..say, anywhere from 6-7pm. This has been done before, where times were changed due to weather concerns.

        But God forbid Bud Selig actually tell the TV Networks what MLB is doing! It’s now the other way around.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          Maybe they could have moved the game somewhere nice, warm, and dry, like, oh, i dunno… St. Petersburg, Florida?

        • ceciguante

          this might have been a good idea, but like it or not, this is a professional league we follow…these teams, and the league, do it for money.

          have you ever tried to move a broadcast event as big as the WS up an hour? i’m sure you haven’t. my guess is that it’s far from easy to make that happen, and that a whole crapload of people would not only be inconvenienced if they did (all the fans who miss the first 3 innings), but that a lot of people would lose big $$$ if they tried it. oh, wait, i forgot…we’re pretending money isn’t an issue on this post. forget everything i just said.

          • Chris C.

            “have you ever tried to move a broadcast event as big as the WS up an hour?”

            Gosh no, I haven’t. What would happen? Would the sky fall?

            “and that a whole crapload of people would not only be inconvenienced if they did (all the fans who miss the first 3 innings)”

            Well, since they knew the weather forcast well in advance, they could have announced the change earlier in the day. Then alot less people would miss the first three innings. It wouldn’t be as catastrophic as you think.

            but that a lot of people would lose big $$$ if they tried it.

            Not interested in monetary reasoning. I know what baseball WOULD DO. I’m telling you what I think they SHOULD HAVE DONE.
            I realize they wouldn’t do anything that may cost them even a nickel.

            “oh, wait, i forgot…we’re pretending money isn’t an issue on this post.”

            No, wise guy. I’m fully aware that money is the #1 issue. But that doesn’t mean we can’t put forth suggestions for the good of the game AS FANS.

      • ceciguante

        couldn’t disagree more.
        i’m a fan who was gratified that the league and players did everything they could to get the game in. i understand that some fans are frustrated that the game was started with a major threat of bad weather, but mike a. said it best: this was a no-win situation for the league. they would be criticized (irrationally, imo) if they didn’t try to play, and criticized (equally irrationally, imo) if they tried and had to suspend it as they did. there are few things less certain than weather forecasts. judging someone else’s decisions — after the fact — about how the weather turned out is ridiculous and completely unfair. mountains out of molehills.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          Hey ceci, since you’ve appointed yourself the “Arbiter of Gripe-dom”, I’m curious (genuinely, not snarkily… please disregard that portion of my name temporarily) about your feelings on the merits of my gripe that Selig/the Umps seemed to be waiting for the Rays to tie it before “tabling the question”, to use some parliamentary procedure jargon.

          Because while I’d agree with you that the economic incentive weighs in favor of playing, and the injury gripe doesn’t hold much scrutiny, I wonder simply about the affect on actual competition. I’m not going to parse whether Team A or Team B gains an advantage from playing in the inclement weather, but Selig sure seemed less reluctant to postpone it when the Rays scored that waterlogged run.

          If you’re Charlie Manuel, do you raise issue with the league, claiming that the bigwigs forced your guys to play defense through a monsoon in the unethical hopes that a sloppy field would facilitate a tie, subsequent game reset, nullification of Cole Hamels, and an eventual prolonging of the series into games 6 and 7?

          Conspiracy Theory, Roswell Style? Or, qui bono, who benefits?

          (Qui who gives a shit, it’s got a friggin bow on it.)

          • ceciguante

            it’s funny how you anoint me “arbiter…” so and so when you are probably the most prolific poster of your own opinion on this blog. glass houses.

            i’m not takin the conspiracy theory bait. it’s amazing that you and others talk about selig and co. “waiting for the rays to tie it,” while wayne’s world is further up the page talking about the threat of upton “wrecking his career.” this is all melodrama and BS. if the rays didn’t tie it, wouldn’t they be in a worse position for having tried to hit and run bases in a downpour? selig admitted that he wasn’t going to let it end as a rain out victory, which everyone seems to agree on. so where exactly is that bow you’re talking about? if anything, the rays overcame greater adversity by scoring the 2nd run. i don’t see how they received any favor, i just see a one run rally in a downpour. which was awesome. where’s the gripe?

            i have to ask what you guys are all smoking. i want some, please share.

            • Chris C.

              Nobody did the Rays any favors last night. The home plate ump squeezed Kazmir the entire time he was on the mound, which was a big reason why the Phillies got their 2 runs on one hit in the first inning.

              If would have been justified if Hamels got squeezed the same way, but that was not the case.
              He got some ACE treatment. Very one-sided.

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

              The “arbiter” bit wasn’t done in any mean-spiritedness. Tongue in cheek – I poke fun at you, I poke fun at myself.

              ——————————-

              My point was simply that going into that last half-inning the conditions were already clearly really bad, and yet they played through it. If Selig had already ordered the game to go a full nine, why not just halt play at the end of the 5th? Or earlier? Selig himself stated that “if the Phillies had been ahead when play was stopped, the game would have technically entered a ‘rain delay’ so…” blah blah blah.

              If you’re going to issue a fiat that the game is going nine full innings, the score at any specific point prior to those nine innings be damned, then why send the teams back out there in the top of the 6th in a heavy downpour that profoundly affects the quality of the game (and could easily be a strategic advantage for one team or the other) simply in the hopes that someone (Tampa) would tie the game so that it could be postponed with less hand-wringing or rancor? Because Selig admitted as much by acknowledging that the Phillies one-run lead weighed as a counterbalance to his desire to suspend/postpone.

              And that type of double-standard (If Philly is winning, we play on through the muck, but if Tampa ties it, we stop and wait for good conditions) is what would be chafing me if I’m a Phillie fan. The fact that this comes in as consideration in the decision making process means that the league/commissioner has a slight rooting interest in my opponent scoring a run here.

              It’s not a real conspiracy (again, tongue in cheek), it’s just off-putting.

              (and yes, this is very nitpicky. What do you want, it’s a blog. Blogs nitpick.)

              (oh, and the qui bono line is from The Departed. Sorry if it’s too obscure.)

              • ceciguante

                i see your point better now. the rooting interest bit could be a concern. and selig sounds like he was trying to cover his no good ass. but this way, both teams had 6 times at bat and 6 in the field in the same general conditions. that seems fair. the weather screwed both sides, shit happens. i’m saying it’s silly to gripe about it like you’ve been wronged, and the game is a farce, i want my money back…gag. we saw a great 6 innings, and i think the drama in this series is heightened now. if anything, that crazy game will make this WS memorable. i can’t fault the league for doing their best to get a WS game in.

                and don’t worry, i’m not sweating the arbiter thing. thx for clarifying.

                • Chris C.

                  “i see your point better now. the rooting interest bit could be a concern. and selig sounds like he was trying to cover his no good ass. but this way, both teams had 6 times at bat and 6 in the field in the same general conditions. that seems fair. the weather screwed both sides, shit happens.”

                  The Phillies did not have 6 times at bat. “Fair” would have been either halting the game after a full 5 innings, or making the Phillies bat in the bottom of the 6th through that crap.

                  And I don’t care what anyone says about the poor conditions for the defense and pitcher………I think the hardest thing to have to do would be hitting a guy who throws in the high 90’s (Balfour) with a wet face and baseball bat.