Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Does the spirit of Bill France live on in Bud Selig?

What I witnessed last night was the equivalent of that conveniently discovered debris that seems to always cause a yellow caution flag with seven laps to go in too many NASCAR races. Bud Selig has demonstrated a need to manipulate baseball games rather than to let them be played out by the rules. He threw away the Official Rules of Baseball last night, just as he did at the 2002 All Star Game.

Why was completing Monday's World Series game so important that baseball's rules were ignored and the Phillies put at a substantial disadvantage? Was it for the Wednesday pregame Obama infomercial?

The Phillies were screwed by Bud Selig on Monday.

Bud outdid himself this time. This was worse than the 2002 All Star fiasco. Especially considering the All Star Game is a exhibition and last night the Phillies had the 2008 World Series won until Selig intervened.

In this case the Umpire-in-Chief could and should have suspended play after five innings, but that would have made it an official game. And also would made it a Phillies' victory if they could not resume play. Bud said that was a no-no.

"I would not have allowed the World Series to end this way," Selig said late last night, at a Citizens Bank Park press conference that was crowded and uncomfortable.

Unfortunately for the Phillies, in the top of the 6th the conditions were so bad that a routine ground ball third out becomes an "infield hit" and then the tying run. Once the score was tied it was acceptable for Bud to suspend the game. The final three and one-half innings are now scheduled to be played immediately following the Obama ad on Wednesday.

What do the Phillies get when they come to bat in the bottom of the 6th following the Obamamercial? The Rays get to bring in a fresh pitcher, almost certainly their top available starter. The field will then be dry and the fielders, too. And the Phillies Ace is not available to complete the game. The Phillies got screwed by Selig, the Rays play the bottom of the sixth inning with a substantial advantage.

If this game was played using the Official Rules of Baseball, the Phillies win the World Series* on Monday. A rain-shortened game? Yup! Those are the rules for 162 games of the season, but not for Bud in the World Series. He throws away the rulebook and waves the yellow caution flag.

What if they had played by the Rulebook?

First, chances are the game never starts. It is the home team's call whether or not to start, not Selig's excuse to get Obama the maximum audience on Wednesday.

By the fifth inning the field was a mess and the game should have been suspended and replayed on another day. But by then Bud had to keep it going.

In the sixth inning it was a crime to make Cole Hamels pitch in that crap. His effectiveness was lost to the wet ball and his defense was crippled by poor vision and wet hands. Selig bent over backwards to give the Rays a chance to score, then he suspended the game with the weather no worse than in the top half of the inning.

Selig said that he wanted a full nine inning game, but the Rules of Baseball give the umpires that sole discretion. Per the Rulebook, Selig has no say in the matter.

The Rules say:
4.01(d) As soon as the home team’s batting order is handed to the umpire-in-chief the umpires are in charge of the playing field and from that moment they shall have sole authority to determine when a game shall be called, suspended or resumed on account of weather or the condition of the playing field.
According to JSOnline, here's what Selig said.
By scoring a run in the top of the sixth, the Rays prevented Selig from making a difficult decision. With Philadelphia leading, 2-1, entering that inning, the rules allowed for the Phillies to be given a rain-shortened victory and therefore the World Series title.

But Selig said he would not have allowed the crown to be settled in that fashion. No World Series game ever has been started and not played at least nine innings (three ended in a tie).

"I have to use my judgment," Selig said. "That's not a way to decide the World Series."
Wrong Bud. That is the way baseball is played. You are the Commissioner, not an umpire. What's next, is Bud going to call balls and strikes from the Commissioner's box?

*There is my asterisk. The Phillies are the 2008 World Champions in 5 games.

2 comments:

reunionpi said...

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Dad29 said...

Bud for SCOTUS!!

Feel-Good Rulings!!