Baseball Toaster Bad Altitude
Rain On
2008-10-29 13:46
by Mark T.R. Donohue

I waited a day to write anything because I felt I might be overreacting, but if Peter Gammons himself has come out to call this the worst World Series ever -- before it's officially over, even -- then I don't know what else to wait for. Boy, is baseball going out on a brutal note this season. Spooked by terrible TV ratings and aghast at the prospect of rain delay "Simpsons" reruns beating out a potential elimination game, Bud Selig and Bob DuPuy and company ramrodded about four innings of completely unwatchable mudball down our throats the other night before the Rays mercifully managed a game-tying run.

The utter lack of common sense displayed by the baseball bigwigs was stunning. You could see from the umpires' body language that they knew the teams had no business playing, and these are the same guys who can't keep the strike zone consistent from one half of an inning to the other. The players, fans, announcers -- everyone was disgusted, and there wasn't any reason for it at all. Selig made headlines by announcing afterwards that he would have made an exception to the normal rule in effect regarding rain-shortened games. If the game had been called with the Phillies in the lead, he would have caused for the rest of the innings to be played even though the rules on the books contradict that.

The thing is, there never would have been any need for the commissioner to consider such an heroic intervention if he'd followed the rules in the first place. There was absolutely no way that Game 5 should have even started. If the league was feeling lucky, they still should have called it in about the third. That way, they'd still be in the same situation they are now -- a better one, even, with a whole game to make up to rather than a bizarre one-third of a game. If they'd had the guts to postpone the contest in the first place, Philadelphia wouldn't have had to waste its best starter.

The further baseball bends over to please TV -- and it's just about licking its own rear at this point -- the lower the ratings get. The powers that be overruled common sense and standard operating procedure to deliver a product that was pretty close to unwatchable, with baserunners grinding in mud and pitchers giving up on their pitches and just trying to throw over the plate. Not only that, but they stuck the usual 35-minute pregame on top of it, so as to maximize the amount of coverage labeled "World Series" in prime time on both coasts. Maybe if they'd had the brains to move the start time forward they wouldn't be in the mess they are now.

The most depressing thing about this whole situation, besides the fact that it means the baseball year is going to end on a deathly depressing note and it'll be months before the breaking balls fly in good cheer again, is that there was just absolutely no point to all of it. All they had to do is call the stupid game and they would now be in the precise same situation they are now, with another couple of telecasts no one's going to watch, except without looking like complete morons in front of the whole sports media world and insulting the intelligence of what rump of fans still remains that genuinely cares. As a baseball lover and NFL hater, it bugs me that my one argument in favor of my league is completely toasted. Neither league has any integrity whatsoever. But when football sold its soul, it got paid for it. I don't know what the heck baseball's getting.

2008-10-29 15:00:44
1.   Xeifrank
You have some good points, but I don't agree with your statement that Philadelphia wasted their starter Cole Hamels. 6-IP, 2-ER is not bad. The Phillies chances of winning this game are slightly higher or lower depending on what source you use after the stoppage in play than when the game started. I would say at worse maybe about 20% of Cole Hamels was wasted. Nothing to sniff at, but it's not like he was 100% wasted. vr, Xei
2008-10-29 15:11:59
2.   Xeifrank
1. Ok, i don't see that passage about Cole Hamels being wasted anymore. Perhaps, I need to have my vision tested? Enjoy the game. :)
vr, Xei
2008-10-29 15:13:11
3.   Xeifrank
If they'd had the guts to postpone the contest in the first place, Philadelphia wouldn't have had to waste its best starter.

There it is. Glad I got my eyes checked just now. :)
vr, Xei

2008-10-29 16:52:40
4.   grandcosmo
Why do the television ratings matter so much to you?
2008-10-29 17:50:11
5.   Mark T.R. Donohue
4 I don't care what the ratings are. It matters to me that the lords of baseball care so much that they're hurting the quality of the game.
2008-10-29 17:51:41
6.   Mark T.R. Donohue
1 , 3 Having Hamels on the mound in playable conditions could very well have led to him leaving the game in the eighth with a lead rather than in the sixth with the score tied.
2008-10-29 18:09:09
7.   Ali Nagib
"But when football sold its soul, it got paid for it. I don't know what the heck baseball's getting."

All I know is:

Math abilities > Magic cards.

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