Never underestimate MLB’s ability to surprise. We entered last night’s game knowing that it could be the decisive contest in this year’s World Series. It still might be. We just don’t know when it’s going to end.
The decision-making process that saw game five suspended is being debated all over the internet. I instinctively expect Bud Selig to mess things up, so I’m a little uneasy about the fact that I think he (just about) got this one right. There’s an argument that the game shouldn’t have been started in the first place. It probably would have been postponed if the weather forecast for today had been positive, but more rain is predicted so the decision to give it a go was understandable.
Undoubtedly, it was correct that the Phillies weren’t handed the World Series trophy on the back of a shortened game. Carlos Pena’s single to tie the score at 2-2 seemed to make things a bit easier, although Selig has stressed that even if the score had remained 2-1 he would have suspended the game and there was never a question of a result being declared. It’s a shame we didn’t all know that before the game got underway and it looks like the players weren’t entirely clear on the matter either.
Anyway, the decision has been made to suspend the game and that it will resume whenever “weather conditions are appropriate”, according to the Commissioner. That’s a wonderfully vague way of scheduling such an important encounter. What does it mean for British fans?
Well, the current intention is to try to play the rest of game five tonight from 00.20 GMT. If the Rays win, although no definitive decision has been made as I write this it is probable that the travel day will be wiped out and that games six and seven (if necessary) will be played as originally scheduled on Wednesday and Thursday night (the early hours of Thursday and Friday for us).
The only issue with this is that Five are currently due to broadcast the opening game of the NBA season at 01.00 tonight. I didn’t stay with Five’s coverage once the covers came on to the field this morning, but I would assume that the World Series will take precedence.
However, the prospects of play tonight in Philly aren’t good. Different weather forecasters are predicting slightly different things, but they all state that some rain is expected and it seems unlikely that they will head out on to the field if there is a significant risk that they might have to come off yet again. Most importantly, Selig has made it clear that game five will be played in Philly. If we have to wait several days for a clear evening then that’s how long it will take.
All we can do is keep a check on the MLB website this evening and go from there. If the game can’t be completed tonight, the schedule gets torn up completely. Five have some tin-pot programme called “Quiz Call” scheduled for midnight on Friday and Saturday, so I’m sure they will be showing all of the action remaining in this series regardless of when it is played and how many games are involved.
The uncertainty can’t be avoided, but it’s still disruptive whether you are a player trying to prepare for one of the biggest games of your life, or you are a British baseball fan trying to combine the competing interests of work, sleep and watching/recording baseball games played in the early hours of the morning.