10.29.2008

Baseball: Seeking the End of the Series

by Suzie Raven

The Philadelphia Philles only win the World Series approximately once every 125 years. Whenever it happens, I don’t want there to be any question that they earned it.

Technically, they could’ve won on Monday night. They were winning 2-1 after five innings during a rainstorm that had effectively wrecked the field. A game that is rained out after five innings counts as a win for the team with the lead.

Instead, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig waited until the middle of the sixth inning, after the Tampa Bay Rays tied the game at 2-2, to call a rain delay. Half an hour later, he suspended the game indefinitely, waiting for better conditions on another night. It’s unconventional, but legal: according to rule 3.10(c) he can "continue the suspension as long as he believes there is any chance to resume play," even if that takes days. When the game resumes at 8:37 p.m. tonight, the Phillies and Rays will pick up exactly where they left off on Monday.

Many fans in Philadelphia are angry, arguing that the game should’ve been called far earlier because it was clear the weather would not let up. They, understandably, don’t want to waste pitching ace Cole Hamels' last start of the season. Not when they see him as the potential saving grace of one of America’s most championship-starved cities.

They have a point. If Selig ended the game earlier, they could have started it from scratch another night. A night without puddles in the batters box. Since Selig didn’t make this seemingly obvious choice any time in the first five innings, calling it in the sixth was the next best decision.

I want a World Series win as badly as every other Phillies fan, but we would not have gotten an indisputable title on Monday. Not without giving the Rays a proper chance to come back.

After all, that’s the beauty of baseball.

As Earl Weaver said: “You can't sit on a lead and run a few plays into the line and just kill the clock. You've got to throw the ball over the goddamn plate and give the other man his chance. That's why baseball is the greatest game of them all.”

(To see Suzie Raven's early prediction about the success of the Phillies, please see: "Baseball: The Phillies' Secret Weapon, the Bullpen." For other pieces about the Phillies, please see: "Baseball: The Phillies, the Series & the Nine-Year-Old Crush;" "Baseball: The Phillies Corner the Brewers & Sabathia," and "Baseball: The Phillies Head to the NLCS.")










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