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Should They Have Played?

Now that Game 5 is half-way in the books -- and that really is all we know for sure -- the full-press of revisionism is well under way. Not unexpectedly, there's a lot of anger being hurled at Bud Selig, and perhaps there's go reason for it. Maybe Boz won't be the writer to do it this time, but there's plenty others that will.

Before we going running with the bulls of discontent, it's important to note that Selig's pre-game decision to play the game actually did get the Capital Weather Gang seal of approval. Sure, they didn't directly prescribe a Philadelphia forecast, but they missed on Philly for the same reason they mis-diagnosed the rain that travelled through the D.C. area (which was all part of the same system).

So, even though you didn't know what vorticity was until moments ago, that could be the one legitimate lifeline Bud Selig can hold on to in defending his decision to play the game. Naturally, that's not nearly enough for scribes in Philadelphia and, to a lesser extent, Tampa Bay.

Tucked inside a Philadelphia Daily News edition with a banner headline of "Pour Judgement" is this gem, from sports columnist Bill Conlin. His best lines (except the Forrest Gump quote to start it off, of course):

With two outs in the sixth, a trained seal named Hamels was pitching while surrounded by an infield closer to an Everglade than major league. And when

Pena splashed a single to left, B.J. Upton belly-surfed across the plate with the tying run.

The game had splashed totally out of control.

Ouch. Conlin's colleague, John Smallwood, is the first person on the train claiming the rain delay could be a huge lifeline for the Rays, sure to be a popular opinion in Philadelphia.

That exact opinion is shared by St. Petersburg Times columnist Gary Shelton, who claims the prolonged rain delay might be the perfect catalyst for another momentous Tampa Bay rally.

But the columnist flying the flag that this series is perfectly emblematic of all that is Philly sports is Sam Donnellon, who says rain in a deciding game, and the undefined time line that will follow, is completely appropriate for the full "Philly fan" experience. It's something we also noted here at Baseball Insider last night.

The Inquirer's Phil Sheridan is the writer who levels the same TV blow as our own Tracee Hamilton, tossing the "shame" word at Selig and MLB in general. Inquirer writer Patrick Kerkstra, in the stands to write a fan-reaction piece, instead was treated to a scene of utter despair, as he chronicles here.

And while you might think all the negative thoughts are being harbored in Philly, you'd be wrong. Tampa Tribune writer Joe Henderson lobbed some of the harshest words, noting that the Rays were eventually forced to take refuge at a hotel out in Delaware. They'd checked out of their hotels anticipating a flight back to Tampa, and now have no idea when they'll return to the field, stuck under semi-permanent "high school trip to Washington" room check rules.

But what do you think? Should baseball have started Game 5 last night? And how will missing an entire day before resuming tomorrow affect the series?

By Cameron Smith  |  October 28, 2008; 12:39 PM ET
Categories:  Phillies , Rays  
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Next: Game 5 Will Be Wednesday (Update)


Well, if Selig should have known they weren't going to get this game in, shouldn't the Rays' TS have known to start lining up some hotel rooms, like, last Friday?

Posted by: CEvansJr | October 28, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't want to hear any of this "boo hoo", "typical philly fashion, "cry us a river", "we are so tortured as fans" and all that jazz. The fact is, the rain effects both teams in a negative way. Should the gave have been suspended earlier? Hell yes. But the fact remains, if the Phils would have hit the ball and not left a small village of base runners on last night, we wouldn't be talking much about this b/c we would be up 6-2 instead of tied.
This doesn't change much. If the Phillies don't start hitting when it matters, the series is going back to Tampa. End of story.
I hope they use this extra day off to take some hacks off the tee and in the cage.
The questions I have is, who gets the ball for the Phillies in the 7th and who is going to pinch-hit for Hamels leading off the 6th??????????

Posted by: PhilliesPhan | October 28, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I definitely think they should have covered the field earlier for a rain delay much earlier. The problem is that,based on the forecast, it was quite likely that the game would not be finished that night). So if you stop it before 4 1/2 innings it appears you are giving the Rays an advantage; then if you stop it in the bottom of the 5th or the beginning of hte 6th you appear to be handing the WS to the Phillies; (Selig has since said he would not have allowed it to end that way). As it is the Phillies got hurt by the sloppy conditions in the 6th. I just think it gives a lot of drama/intrigue/reason for arguments for years to come that just adds to the lore of the WS.

But the way it looks now, if the Rays take advantage of their good fortune and it goes to game 7, Hamels could be starting that game on 3 or possibly even 4 days rest (if they cannot play tonight and they still get a travel day off). That would make for some great storylines.

Posted by: CoachD1 | October 28, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Fire Butt Selig.

This is just the most recent reason, on a mountain of reasons. If you want an incompetent nincompoop as commissioner of baseball, I can do the job for half the $$$.

Call me.

Posted by: AWWNats | October 28, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

In the beginning of the game it wasn't coming down too hard. The minute it came down in buckets, it should have been at a minimum delayed if NOT postponed. They went around 3 innings in POURING rain!

Are there any statistics for either team on how well or not well they end up doing after a rain delay? How about a postponement. I mean it happens during the season! What's the won-loss ratio of each team?

Posted by: CALSGR8 | October 28, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I was there, and the weather was lousy. When Upton stole second base in the 6th and later scored, I thought to myself, "these conditions are lousy for the defense. Catch the ball, plant your feet, throw the ball - it's just impossible. Give the Phillies another at-bat and we'll run all over the slip-n-slide in the same way that Upton just did."

But the bottom of the 6th never came up. The Phillies offense didn't get the chance to splash around the Rays defense for one more inning.

And that's where the injustice is. Yes, water was an inch deep out there, but it had already been raining for five innings, and the field had already been absolutely saturated for about an inning or two. What's another half-inning? Get an even number of innings in there - not 5.5 innings, but 5 or 6 whole innings - and then stop the game. This business of stopping in the middle of an inning during sloppy conditions is just crazy. Give both teams equal opportunity (at the plate, on the basepaths) and equal challenge (on defense) in the sloppy conditions.

All this being said - Jimmy Rollins misplayed a pop-up in the 5th, yet Pena played similar pop-ups twice in the bottom of the 5th. On that score, anyway, Pena and the Rays seemed to be handing their wet-weather defense better than were the Phillies (of course, Utley's great start of the double play was amazing, particularly considering the conditions!).

Posted by: chrisduckworth | October 28, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

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