Wednesday, October 29, 2008

World Series Game 5 (A&B)

A Few Things That Suck About the Long Delay within Game 5, the World Series in General, Its Announcers, and What the Phillies Should Do in the Remaining Innings:

1.) Major League Baseball probably shouldn’t have started Game 5 of the World Series on Monday night to begin with, but that's all in the past now. Supposedly, Bud Selig (the commissioner of MLB) spoke to the Phillies’ and Rays’ GMs before the game and they all agreed, no matter what the score was at the time of suspension, that the game would not be made official until all nine innings were completed, whenever that might be. Of course, when you have to go over possibilities like these before a game, maybe you shouldn't bother starting the game at all. But here we are, still waiting for the first pitch of Game 5b two days after the first pitch of Game 5a was thrown by Cole Hamels.

2.) Cole Hamels (who is really making a name for himself as possibly the best pitcher in the league, having gone 4-0 in the post season with a strong chance of making it 5-0 in the final game of the WS) got short-changed and the ball taken out of his hands after mowing down the Rays through six innings. I think he was well on his way to pitching a complete game and could have clinched the World Series in front of his home crowd, but that scenario is highly unlikely at this point. Hamels was having a hero-making postseason, having already been named MVP of the NLCS, and the city was beginning to see the light and believe in his magic. With only a few innings left, he was on the verge of becoming a God among men in this city for bringing the world title back to Philadelphia after 28 years of misery. We'll still call him a hero if they win the series, but his God-status will have to wait until his next World Series, if it ever comes.

3.) I actually thought it was cool that they were playing in the rain and mud and wished that they had just let them continue. Both teams were playing in the same adverse conditions, so there would be no excuse for the losing team to cry foul in the end (unless the loser was the Rays and your name is Buck or McCarver). It’s things like this that make a lasting impression in people’s minds and can make for a great game with unusual results. I mean, does anybody remember anything about last year’s World Series games besides who won? Or the year before? Actually, the last cool thing I remember from a World Series was Curt Schilling’s bloody sock, and that goes all the way back to 2004. When it takes something as stupid as a sock with a little blood stain on it for somebody to remember your sport, your sport might be kinda boring and unmemorable. So, they really should have let them play. The “mud game”, as it might be called, would be talked about forever. Instead, MLB just robbed its fans of a great memory. Thanks, Bud.

4.) Why is it that football players can play in the foulest conditions (rain, mud, snow, sleet, friendly fire, etc.) but these guys gotta throw a tarp over the field and run for shelter in the clubhouse until the rain stops? These guys are not guys. These guys are girls.

5.) Although the Phillies bullpen has been outstanding all year and throughout the playoffs, the long delay that has created Games 5a and 5b might benefit the Rays tremendously. For starters, they can now breathe a sigh of relief that they won’t have to face Hamels for the last few innings of this next game. Also, I think the Rays will benefit from this unprecedented game-break more than the Phillies because they’ll be able to take a step away and realize that, “Holy sh*t, we’re still not getting it done, and we’re only a few innings away from losing the whole thing.” They could come back more focused and rested now, and with a greater intensity to win.

6.) The Fox announcers suck. Seriously. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked. I just can’t stand listening to them slam the Phillies over and over again. I’ve never cared for McCarver (he seems to say things of no importance, or state the obvious, just to have something to say much of the time), but Buck is proving himself to be just as bad. Before Ryan Howard hit those homeruns in Games 3 and 4, his lack of production was all they could talk about. Likewise Rollins, who was 0 for whatever until Game 3. And, it seems, not a minute passes that they’re not mentioning (gloating, you might call it) how the Phillies are getting no hits with runners in scoring position and how embarrassing it is for them, etc., etc. While this is a definite point of frustration, the Phillies have only lost 3 games in the entire postseason and are on the brink of winning the World Series, so I think they must be doing something right. But the worst was on Monday night. BJ Upton had just gotten to first base in the last inning. The rain was really coming down then and the dirt between the bases was all mud and sludge. Joe and Tim began whining (really, seriously whining) that the elements were taking away the Rays’ biggest strength as a team which is their ability to run well and take extra bases. How (oh, how?) could our beloved, little BJ even think of stealing 2nd base in these horrible, slippery conditions? There’s just no way he could possibly get a good jump in that mud. As Hamels threw to first a few times to keep him close, Joe and Tim kept complaining about how unfair it was to keep playing if the Rays couldn’t play to their strengths. In fact, it was not only unfair but dangerous for these guys to be running out there, and they said the game should be delayed. Somebody’s going to get hurt, they worried. Then Hamels finally went into his wind-up. BJ had about 5 long strides towards 2nd base before Hamels even threw the ball to the plate. He beat the throw to 2nd by a wide margin. It wasn’t even close. Of course, as you know, good ol’ BJ went on to score the tying run, and everything was right again in the world of Buck and McCarver. Those effin’ d*ckholes…

7.) With the pitcher's spot due to lead off Game 5b, the Phillies will obviously pinch-hit for Cole Hamels (which they would not have done if this game were played from start to finish like most games. Please refer to item #2 above to see why this really sucks). Who the Phillies bring to the plate will ultimately be determined by who the Rays put on the mound (i.e., a righthanded or lefthanded pitcher). So, a brief chess match will ensue between the two teams before the first pitch is even thrown tonight. But this isn't what interests me at the moment. What interests me is who the Phillies put on the mound for the remaining three innings. Charlie Manuel, the Phillies' coach, will more than likely look to his bullpen for a few arms to get them through the game. Again, their bullpen has been outstanding, but I think Brett Myers should get the ball to wrap up this series. He's an overpowering pitcher who would do extremely well in a short situation like this, much like he did in the closer's role last season. Myers and Jamie Moyer were originally set up to finish out the series, if necessary, starting games 6 and 7, respectively, and Manuel might still be thinking of saving Myers for a possible game 6. But he shouldn't. This is no longer a typical series with typical strategies. They have to win now. And the best way to do that is to put Brett Myers on the mound tonight. Moyer and Joe Blanton, who pitched exceptionally in Game 4, could still round out the series in Games 6 and 7, if needed. But the point is, they shouldn't be needed. Not if the Phillies win tonight. Not if Myers pitches the 3-inning game that is Game 5b.

8.) Yesterday, Tim McCarver said that Game 5 should be restarted, not resumed. Tim McCarver is a moron.

No comments: