Like every other Phillies fan, conflicting thoughts were going through my head.
“Wow, its raining really hard.”
“If they call this game, will I be happy with a world series title by rainout?”
“Jesus, this is by far the most rain I have ever seen a pro baseball game played in.”
We all knew it was raining too hard to play, but we also knew that Bud Selig would never call the game after the top of the 5th ended. At that moment, the game became “official”, according to the rule book. The rule book states that if a game is called due to rain after being official, the game is over and the team ahead at the time gets the win. We knew Bud wouldn’t call the game because, in this specific instance, calling the game would give the Phillies the win, and therefore the championship, and lead to the further humiliation of Bud Selig and his quickly fading league. (“but our revenues have never been higher!” let me introduce you to a concept known as “market share”, and to a league that is not only crushing yours, but continues to grow, the NFL.) So, Bud ignored the rule in the best interest of the game. We all understand that decision – baseball doesn’t need another embarrassment. I could probably start the “major league baseball embarrassment of the day blog” and rarely be lacking for material. So, Bud waited until the game was tied, when he could both stop the ridiculousness of playing in a downpour and avoid the travesty of a rain-shortened season deciding game. It was his only move, right?
WRONG. Shortly after the game, the news came out that Selig had a pregame meeting with club officials from both teams where they decided that no game would end early – it was the world series, it was too important for that. They decided that any game would go the full 9 innings, even if they had to wait for a huge rain delay. I’ll let this Jayson Stark excerpt, copied and pasted below, explain it:
“I’ll tell you what,” the Phillies’ Matt Stairs said. “To have a tie game, sixth inning, that makes Bud Selig and the boys pretty happy, because they didn’t have to make a big decision, to let that game go through a 10-, 12-, 13-hour delay. … So the big man’s happy. He didn’t have to make that decision.”
Ah, but what Matt Stairs didn’t know — what, apparently, none of these players on either team knew — was that Selig had already made his big decision. If the rules weren’t going to permit him to suspend this game, he was going to have to go to Plan B. He was just going to have to impose martial law — or at least Selig’s Law — and, essentially, suspend it anyway. By simply declaring the world’s longest rain delay. Whether that took 24 hours, 48 hours or all the way to Thanksgiving. Selig vowed these teams were not going to finish this game “until we have decent weather conditions.”
I hope to explain to you the significance of this. Bud Selig had already decided the game wouldn’t be “shortened”. He could’ve stopped it at any time and, even though no players or fans had any idea of this, it would not have ended as any other game in the history of baseball would have. It would’ve been finished whenever the weather was better. Thus, there is only one possible way to create an unfair situation here: HAVE THE TEAMS BAT AN UNEQUAL NUMBER OF TIMES IN THE SAME CONDITIONS. There is absolutely no fucking reason the top half of the sixth inning should have been played last night. It was already raining profusely. Bud Selig ALREADY HAD A CONTINGENCY IN PLACE FOR THIS EVENT! The tarp would’ve come on, he would’ve gone to the same press conference with the same umps and team officials, and said “we talked before, this is the world series, we are going to play all 9 innings”. Pat Gillick could’ve said “yes, we agreed to this before hand, if we were on the other end it would be pretty unfair”. And every Phillies fan and player would’ve said OK, we don’t need a cheap title, we’re already going to win anyway (David Price? I am not afraid of you).
Instead, Bud couldn’t really decide which set of rules he liked better. The actual rules, where the game ends? Hell no. The new, improvised rules? Eh, improvising rules is pretty JV, lets avoid those at all costs. I wish I had some sort of explanation as to why the top of the 6th was played, but not the bottom. Bring out that fake dirt stuff and the Phillies would have had the exact same conditions as the Rays just did.
So Bud waited until it was politically good for him to end the game, instead of when it was actually fair for the two teams. I feel like Bud walked into my apartment, stole my laptop, and gave me a quick flick in the nutsack on his way out the door. I just want to say “WHY?” while I try to figure out what just happened. Bud Selig had a plan in place, then ignored that plan because of new circumstances that wouldn’t make him look bad. The cost of Bud’s PR was the fairness of a World Series game. Whether or not the Rays scored a run that inning, to let them bat and not the Phillies is undoubtedly unfair. I’m the commissioner of a fucking fantasy football league and even I know the commish’s purpose: stay out of the way and let the teams decide. We don’t need you, Bud. You’re a big retard who has fucked up time and again in the past. All we need you to do is stay the fuck out of the way and let the teams play baseball in a fair setting. Do I agree with secretly changing the rules beforehand? It’s certainly not optimal, but in this situation its at least understandable. To then not enforce those new rules, instead reverting to the old rules at a time when it was patently unfair, is inexplicable. You chose the short-term gain, Bud, jumping out to call the game as soon as it was tied, forcing people like me to sort through the facts and call you out on your bullshit. I’m confident I won’t have to do it again anytime soon, though, as you look like you’ll be keeling over any second now. I hope your legacy is that even with the power to unilaterally change the rules of the game at any time, you still could not succeed in providing a fair baseball game at the most important time of the season.