When Carlos Pena smacked a single into the outfield to force B.J. Upton home in the 6th inning on Monday night, he did more than just tie the game for the Tampa Bay Rays: He and his teammates probably helped Major League Baseball avoid yet another debacle.
As you know by now, Game 5 of the World Series between the Phillies and Rays has been indefinitely suspended by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, who has vowed to keep the game from restarting until the weather clears up in Philadelphia. Selig has also emphatically stated that Game 5 would not be moved from that city even if they have to stay until Thanksgiving.
There are some who are already calling the Series tainted, but if the Rays had not scored that run, the backlash would have been even greater for Major League Baseball.
Blame part of the problem on the talking heads on Fox – including Joe Buck – who were telling audiences last night that if the Rays had not scored then the Phillies would have claimed their first World Series title in 28 years, citing MLB rules that allow a game to end as long as five innings have been played.
Selig after the game tried emphatically to point out that there was no way that a World Series title would have been awarded even if the Rays were trailing when the game was halted.
“It’s not a way to end a World Series,” said Selig, who added that he had enough authority to enforce his point of view.
No argument here, pal and if the idiots on talk radio think otherwise then they also must be the kind of people who think that stealing Halloween candy from kids is ok too. You don’t halt the Super Bowl in the third quarter and you shouldn’t end the final game of the World Series without going nine innings. It’s frankly un-American to argue otherwise.
Now did Selig purposely wait until the Rays tied the game? Who knows? I won’t disagree the rain was already coming down pretty hard by the end of the 5th. And I’m sure there would have been titanic howls of outrage from Philadelphia fans if their team was still ahead when the game was suspended. They of course would contend that they were being robbed in the name of TV ratings or God knows what else and denied their rightful championship.
Selig maintained that the coaches of both teams knew ahead of time that even if the game was halted after the 5th inning that it would be resumed from that point. Well, that may be true, but the wunderkinds at MLB didn’t bother to tell Fox ahead of time, adding to the confusion of the situation.
Of course, if the Rays come back and win Game 5 and then force the Series into the warm inviting confines of Tropicana Field then I’m sure that Philly fans will be convinced that there is a conspiracy aligned against them.
But I’m sure the Rays will take a World Series title even if someone contends it has been tainted. Just ask the Kansas City Royals – who incidentally came back from a 3-1 deficit – if they have any regrets about winning the 1985 World Series with the help of a blown call.
At the end of the day, however, the Royals still had to win 4 games – each with 9 innings – before claiming that championship. The winner of this year’s World Series should have to do the same.