Wednesday

Game 5, Part Deux & DFTU


Hello again everybody...

I thought today I'd be talking about the end of the World Series, or previewing Game 6. Turns out I'm talking about the first suspended game in the history of the World Series. Opinions and speculation abound. Then it's this week's version of the DFTU. No dilly-dallying. Let's go!

"Play: Work that you enjoy doing for nothing."
- Evan Esar (1899-1995), American Humorist


I'm asked from time to time if I ever expect the blog to start generating money or turn into a second career. My answer? I haven't the foggiest idea why anyone would want to pay me to do this because it would feel like stealing money from them if they did. Don't get me wrong, I'd do it. But this has never felt like work. It's much more like... play!

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Speaking of play...

(that's what we in the business call a "professional segue")

... play resumes tonight in Game 5 of the World Series. For those of you who missed it, a veritable monsoon parked itself over Philadelphia for the last two days, forcing MLB officials to suspend a World Series game for the first time in history.

Think about that. The World Series has been an annual event since 1903. In all that time, never, not once, has a game been stopped and then re-started on a different day. Obviously there's been weather situations before this, but in those cases, the game was never started and was postponed til another day. In 1989 Game 3 of the World Series was postponed 10 days because of the Loma Prieta earthquake. But because it hit prior to the first pitch, even an earthquake didn't suspend a game already in play.

So the question on the minds of many people this week was, should Game 5 of this year's Series have even been started Monday night? Or should MLB officials have postponed it rather than put themselves in this position?

We all know that weather forecasts are fickle. So to those that say that MLB should have decided during the day not to play, I don't think that was ever a viable option. What trapped the folks in the commissioner's office was that there was a potential for the heaviest rain to hold off til 11pm or later. Combine that possibility with the fact that the forecast for Tuesday was even worse than what they were facing on Monday, and I think that MLB can hardly be blamed for trying to get the game in.

It became obvious fairly early on in the game however, that the weather conditions were not going to allow the game to be played to its natural conclusion. So the second question becomes, when should the game have been stopped?

I think Tampa fans are elated that they had the opportunity to tie the game up before it got stopped. Conversely, there are plenty of Philly fans who are screaming bloody murder that the game was allowed to go as long as it was.

There's no easy answer here. Once Tampa tied it in the top of the 6th, it became obvious that the game needed to be stopped right there. Anyone who saw B.J. Upton stumbling around 3rd base as he scored the tying run, could come to no other conclusion.

No, MLB wasn't required to wait until the game was tied. The commissioner has the discretion to suspend a World Series game, even if it's gone past the requisite 5 innings regardless of the score. But once Tampa tied the game, it became far easier to stop play.

Bottom line, they pushed it as far as safety allowed and stopped it when they had to. I don't really have a problem with starting the game and trying to get it in. And I don't have a problem with stopping it when they did. It was a no-win situation to be sure, but I can't think of a better way that it could've been handled based on the information that MLB had.

So what happens tonight? The first pitch of the bottom of the 6th is scheduled for 7:37pm central time. Grant Balfour will be on the mound. At least until Philadelphia's first batter is announced, when it's assumed that manager Joe Maddon will bring in rookie sensation David Price. Why the convoluted switch? Balfour was the pitcher of record when the game was suspended, so by rule, he has to be on the mound when the game is started. However, once the first batter is announce, the game has officially resumed and Maddon is free to make whatever substitutions he likes.

Does either team have an advantage with the suspension? Well, clearly the Phillies have the advantage of the extra half-inning. Because the game was suspended in the middle of the 6th, the Phillies have 4 at-bats, while the Rays have only 3.

On the other hand, the Phillies had their ace, Cole Hamels, on the mound and with the suspension, they lose his services. But I'm not sure this is really that much of a disadvantage for the Phillies. If you recall in my preview, I said that the Phillies had a distinct advantage in terms of their bullpen. So if this second part of Game 5 is going to be bullpen versus bullpen, then shouldn't Philadelphia be favored?

Look, there's no history to fall back on here. Therefore I have no earthly idea how this is going to shake out. I've been rooting for the Phillies though, so I'll continue that tonight.

If you want to say you witnessed sports history, tune in tonight for the first ever "second half" of a World Series game!

Finally today, it's time for everybody's favorite segment: Dan's Favorite Teams Update!

Wisconsin Badgers: The Badgers are 4-4 (1-4 in the Big 10).

Finally! Off the schneid in the Big 10! Thank the maker.

For those of you who missed it, the Badgers defeated the Illini 27-17 this past Saturday. Junior QB Dustin Scherer finally stepped up and made an impact, throwing a TD to David Gilreath and running for another on his own.

The defense was also a huge part of the win, picking off Juice Williams 3 times to help set the offense up with short fields.

I don't know where this version of the Badger football team has been for the last four weeks, but it's nice to finally see them. Welcome back fellas!

The biggest bonus of the win over Illinois is that it sets the Badgers up pretty well for bowl eligibility. The rest of the schedule is: @ Michigan State, @ Indiana, vs. Minnesota and vs. Cal Poly. I think we can be fairly confident in wins over Indiana and Cal Poly, and those two wins gets the Badgers to the magic number of 6.

The biggest negative of the win over Illinois was losing TE Travis Beckum for the rest of the year. Beckum broke his left leg and had surgery this week to repair the damage. This is sort of a double-whammy for Beckum. Travis was considering entering the draft last year, but decided to come back for his senior season. So not only does he lose the rest of this season, but he's on a tight schedule now if he wants to rehab in time for the NFL Combine. Forgive the pun, but that's a tough break for him. (Damn you Lon!)

As mentioned earlier, the Badgers are on the road this week, facing the Michigan State Spartans (7-2, 4-2) at 11am on Saturday. On paper Michigan State is certainly the favorite here. But the Badger fan in me wonders if the whipping they took from Ohio State a couple of weeks ago perhaps took some of the fight out of them. We shall see!

Minnesota Wild: The Wild are 6-0-1, 13 points, and in 1st place in the Northwest division.

Minnesota has earned the distinction of being the only team left in the NHL without a regulation loss. That's obviously mitigated by the fact that they have a loss in overtime. But the NHL's bizarre standings rules aren't the Wild's fault, so Wild fans should feel just fine about touting that distinction!

I'm still not sure exactly how the Wild are pulling this off. With all the scoring they lost in the off-season, and with Marian Gaborik still on the shelf with an injury, it's incredible to me that they're winning at this pace.

The main reasons for this surge as near as I can tell?

1. Mikko Koivu - the man that earned the C for the month of October may very well be in line to become the Wild's first full-season captain. Koivu is amongst the league-leaders in assists and has been, without question, the Wild's best player.

2. Antti Miettinen - the winger has been one of a pair of significant free-agent acquisitions. Most fans had no clue who the guy was when he joined the Wild, but since scoring 6 goals in the first 7 games, they sure know who he is now!

3. Andrew Brunette - the only mistake Doug Risebrough has ever admitted to making was letting Bruno go a few years ago. Now the power forward is back and once again a part of the Wild's top line. 3rd on the team with 7 points, the move to bring him back is paying off.

4. Niklas Backstrom - his .932 save percentage is 5th amongst goaltenders with more than 5 starts, and his 1.98 goals-against average is 4th. It makes things remarkably easier on your defensemen when you have a stopper like Backs between the pipes!

The Wild shoot for their 7th win on the year tonight as they visit the hated Dallas Stars at 7:30pm central time.

(Aside: I'm wearing a Minnesota North Stars sweater today. This has drawn some questioning looks around the ST offices. But at this point, I consider the North Stars and the Stars as two wholly distinct and separate franchises. My loyalties clearly still lie with the Wild.)

After tonight's tilt in Dallas, the Wild return home to face Montreal tomorrow night before heading back on the road for a west-coast swing which starts Saturday in Phoenix.

That's all for today folks. Be sure to tune in tomorrow for the Top 10 Poll and my Week 10 Picks! Until then, thanks for reading!

3 comments:

  1. Geez, I'm not sure if I should watch the game or Obama's 30 minute commercial, hmmmmmmmmmmmmm, let's think about this for a while! I think I'll watch the game, even if it doesn't conflict with the commercial.

    You McCain loving father!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The preceding comment does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sports Take management.

    Should anyone seek to take issue with the preceding statement however, Sports Take management reminds you that the author of said statement is still close friends with many key members of law enforcement.

    Proceed at your own risk.

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  3. When I do not vote for McCain on Tuesday, it's not because his running mate is a woman.

    It's because his running mate is LOONY.

    ReplyDelete