Reigned out: delay angers fans

By Nick Pitts
October 30, 2008

Megan Pellegrino

Not even Tug McGraw’s ashes were enough to save the Phillies from Mother Nature.

Just one game, scratch that, a mere two-and-a-half innings away from perhaps their first World Series championship since 1980, the Philadelphia Phillies were forced to give in to inclement weather.

“It definitely caused the team problems,” Shane Evans, Cabrini alum ’07, said. “They were in good form and the rain delay really dampened everyone’s spirits.”

This marked the first time in the 105-year history of the World Series that a game was postponed due to weather.

Even before the start of game five, on Monday, Oct. 27, the skies were gloomy.

It seemed as though it was just a matter of time before the clouds opened up and a cold, wind-driven rain destroyed the infield at Citizen’s Bank Park.

“The league should not have started the game if they knew the weather was only going to get worse, especially a game that could determine the World Series,” senior education major Felicia Neuber, who was among the crowd in the city, said.

The Phillies, riding left-handed pitcher Cole Hamels through solid six innings, scored on a two-out single by outfielder Shane Victorino.

Hamels threw a relatively low 75 pitches and was poised to go further into the game, having given up only two earned runs.

“I think the delay is definitely taking the momentum away from the Phillies,” Saleem Brown, assistant basketball coach, said.

“We are undefeated at home in the playoffs and we had Cole Hamels, our best pitcher, on the mound.”

The second of two runs that Hamels surrendered to Tampa Bay happened in the top of the sixth, right before Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig made the controversial decision to postpone the game.

Senior business major Chris Cavaliere was an eyewitness to the strange game at Citizen’s Bank Park and was not happy about the decision to suspend play.

“I was aggravated that the umps waited until the game was tied up and made Cole pitch that last inning in the rain,” Cavaliere said.

“I think it is crap that they waited until the game was tied to make a decision,” Mike Dolente, senior business administration major, said. “The field was already horrible in the fourth and fifth innings, yet they waited till the sixth and for the Rays to tie the game.”

Though MLB officials agreed ending the game in the bottom of the sixth inning would ultimately be for the best, Philly can argue that their starting pitcher was denied a chance at rewriting history in his championship-starved town.

“The rain more or less took Cole right out of the game,” Evans said. “He might not have let up those two runs if it wasn’t for the rain and the Phillies might be up going into the seventh or eighth.”

Freshman undecided major Steve Baxter, had a different outlook on the call. “I was so angry, but at the same time it will allow the players to get more rest.”

The official MLB rulebook states that after the sixth inning a game is official and a winner can be declared upon a lengthy rain delay without playing the last three innings.

Commissioner Selig, however, clearly stated that had no intentions of ending the game prematurely.

“Before last year, and Selig’s decision, if the Rays didn’t tie the game, it would have been a Phillies win,” Evans said.

“The train into the city was crazy, the bars were crowded, the streets flooded with people and entire city was so hyped up,” Neuber said.

“After the delay was announced, people were so mad that they walked out of bars without paying their checks. No one really knew what to think.”

For a night at least, the Phillies and their fans, just nine outs away, were robbed of the coveted World Series hardware.

“It really did rain on our parade,” junior finance major Mike Holland said.

Evans seemingly agreed.

“It didn’t do much for the psychology of the fans, the city, and even the players” Evans said.

“No matter how close we are to winning it all, something is always in the way.”

Nick Pitts

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