Baseball tainted by Game 5 of Series

Phil Sheridan of the Philadelphia Inquirer blasts Major League Baseball for what transpired due to the driving rain that the Phillies and Rays had to play in before Game 5 of the World Series was finally called.

2008 World SeriesSimply put, Game 5 is hopelessly tainted by what transpired between the time the game should have been called and the middle of the sixth inning, when it was finally suspended.

Whatever happens when play resumes, whether the Phillies celebrate their first World Series championship or the Rays force a Game 6 in Florida, MLB can’t justify its decision or its decision-making process.

The first problem here is TV’s insistence on scheduling these games for 8:30 p.m. or even later. There are plenty of lovely autumn afternoons – and yesterday was one of them – that give way to cold and blustery evenings. When baseball, like other sports, sold its soul to the networks and their craven need for prime-time sports programming, it created a situation where young fans couldn’t stay up to watch the most important games of the year.

Rollins, rain pouring into his face, dropped that pop-up in the top of the fifth. The play was rather nastily ruled an error, as if it had occurred in acceptable conditions. Hamels got out of that inning without allowing a run. The Phillies led, 2-1, in the middle of the fifth.

At that moment, a regular-season game would become official. A rainout would mean the game was over, with the Phillies winning.

“This is not a way to end a World Series,” Selig said. “I would not allow a World Series to end this way.”

Selig is right on that point. The problem is, it appears MLB allowed play to continue in unplayable conditions because the Phillies had a lead. It seems like more than a coincidence that play was suspended after the top of the sixth, when the Rays tied the game on a base hit by Carlos Pena.

I agree with everything Sheridan said. I thought Selig would have made the right call not to allow the World Series to end that way, but if that was the decision anyway, why allow the game to continue? As Sheridan suggests, it’s almost like Selig was hoping the Rays tied the game so that he wouldn’t be under the microscope for having to change a rule. It’s just a mess.

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