Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Final Word on Last Night's Game

Neyer, as he usually does, has the definitive take on last night's game(Insider only):

I don't know which side has the advantage when the conditions are as awful as they were last night. My suspicion is that it's the offense, though. When the mound is muddy and the ball is wet, it's hard to pitch. When the ball is wet and the wind is howling, it's hard to field. Either way, it's hard to argue that wind and rain and cold have the same impact on both sides. And once you've lost that argument, it's impossible to argue that one team or the other didn't have an advantage unless only full innings were played. And as you know, a half-inning was played, and it was in that particular half-inning that the Rays tied the game with an odds-defying two-out rally . . .

. . . So, let's review … Commissioner Selig should have told everyone that the World Series would not be allowed to end without a ninth inning well before this new policy actually came into play. The umpires should have stopped the game before the Rays tied the game in the sixth. Essentially everything that could have been done wrong, was.
I think it was probably an ad hoc decision by Selig, and if it was, it's probably a bit more defensible (it's hard to do things under pressure). As Neyer notes, however, Selig seems intent on having everyone believe that he had prepared for this eventuality beforehand, in which case the decision makes less sense.

Some mistakes you never stop paying for.


Chadillac said...

Worst. Commissioner. Ever.

bigcatasroma said...

I'm beyond trying have it all make sense. As I wrote in "And that, um, WTF," it makes *NO* sense, given the forecast, why the game could not have been started at 6:00, thus avoiding
a) the crappy weather, WHICH WAS FORECASTED (at 6 pm, it was somewhat cloudy, getting dark, and CHILLY, but NO rain); and
b) done us all the great pleasure in avoiding the G*%D@#N annoying FOX, Fascist pre-game show.

I will not stop bashing Fox. They are the root of the problem, I believe. Not that MLB has a TV deal, but that they are SO beholden to the same network that also has rights to the mindnumbing monolith that is NFL, and the incomprehensible monolith that is NASCAR.

Fox plays up the present generation -- loud noise, instant gratification, violence -- things which NASCAR and NFL have, but that baseball does not. That's why I love baseball and hate football and stock racing. That's a personal opinion. But objectively, could those same elements present in NFL and NASCAR, which are NOT present in baseball, be doing baseball a disservice? i.e. Incessant drama building through studio-manufactured drama, manufactured conflict, endless commercials w/o a commercial during the "Take Me Out to the -- no wait, GOD BLESS AMERICA" 7th inning stretch, etc.? These are things which appeal to NASCAR country, but things which I believe do no enhance baseball. Baseball already brings to the telecast built-in drama and subtle conflict.

The result is that MLB has become FOX's slave. MLB appears no longer to be an independent corp., but one in which the corporate veil could be pierced -- unity of interest and the fact that baseball cannot act w/o approval of the TV networks (i.e. move the game time up).

Of course, all of this is moot, sense MLB can conveniently hide behind their anti-trust exemption.

OK, that took 20 minutes. I think it's all off my chest now. I think.

bigcatasroma said...

That is nearly incomprehensible. This is what happens when blinded by rage. In essence, what I was saying was:

1. Fox has baseball under control.
2. Fox did not want to lose time slot.
3. Ergo, Selig could not move game up (which would make the most sense).
4. MLB had to start WORLD SERIES game at 8:37.
5. MLB had to SUSPEND World Series game when conditions deteriorated to the point that they thought that the conditions might, at the time they thought the conditions would deteriorate.
6. Selig makes up reasons why it's OK to suspend game. Looks like an ass.
7. Reason -- he had to, because FOX is pulling the strings, not MLB.
8. Conclusion, MLB is no longer its own entity, but a subsidiary of Fox.


matt said...

Bigcats, I can blame Fox and MLB for a lot of things in the way they handled last night's game, but pushing up the start time would have created just as many headaches. I got down to the park around 3 yesterday, but I know plenty of people who weren't able to show up until well after 7. Heck, I was tailgating until close to 8 so I'm not sure I would have known if they had started the game earlier. It's just not feasible for a lot of people without 24 hours notice.

Connor Doyle said...

Yeah, I think you can't lay this one at Fox's feet, really. The issue comes down to Selig and Co. not running through enough different scenarios beforehand; I got the impression listening to him last night that he felt making it through five would mean they could make it through nine as well.

I don't know there's much sense in trying to divine intent here, but the bottom line is the Phillies got about as screwed by baseball as is practically possible (outside of fixing the umpires, or something). That sixth inning needed to be finished or wiped, one or the other.

Rob said...

The problem with letting the Phillies bat in the 6th is that there was zero chance that Selig would have allowed the World Series to end in a rain-shortened game, were they to have scored a run to take the lead.

mooseinohio said...

What I find somewhat interesting is that we have another professional sport that has to deal with weather issues all the time as it 1) effects the ability to play it 2) has fans that need to be protected from harmful weather (e.g. lightning) and 3) has a specific television time slot that networks want to hit consistently for the highest ratings - it's golf.

The PGA Tour often has final rounds played earlier in the day to assure that the tournament can be finished on Sunday for a whole set of reasons. Often these decision are made late in the day Saturday but fans, maybe not all of them, are still able to make it Sunday morning as opposed to that afternoon as scheduled. While the ballpark may be less full playing the game early the fans in the seats make up the smallest percentage of fans to view the game anyways. I know it would stink to have tickets to go and not be able to but you may not be able to make up the raindate either.

The network could still broadcast the game by cutting into the 'Judge Whoever' shows and local 'news/weather scare' show as well as rebroadcast it during it slotted time if it chooses to. Again golf often broadcasts the show despite folks already knowing the result and if something dramatic happened during the round that I read about on the internet I will probably take the time to watch it.

This is in no way a perfect solution but it is an option and another professional sport that is highly dependent on television coverage for success (advertising is a huge sponsorship benefit) has found it way to make the best of a bad situation.

Mark Armour said...

I blame Selig only because I assume he is the only one who could have decided not the play the game. If it is Fox's fault, well, its Selig's fault that Fox has this power.

They should not have played Game 3 at all, and they should not played Game 5 at all. It is the World Series, the most important games of the year--it is the job of baseball management to present this showcase in the best possible light. They have not done so, ergo they have committed malpractice on my sport.

Stop Smoking said...

Not here to defend Selig at all, but did he really have a choice??

tHeMARksMiTh said...

I agree stop smoking. I'm not sure he really had much of a choice. You can blame him all you want, but he tried to play the game according to plan. If he had started it early, what would have happened if it didn't rain. He then looks foolish for starting it early for no reason, making it more difficult for fans to get to the park. He really was damned if he did, damned if he didn't here.