Thursday, October 30, 2008

Is That All There Is? Is That All There Is?
Reflections on the '08 World Series...

If that's all there is...then let's start dancing...let's break out the booze and have a ball...If That's All...There Is...

I can't help but feel that this year's World Series was just kinda totally fragmented somehow. Monday Night, no one seemed to know what to do. I'm referring to the split-up Game 5 between the Phillies and Rays. The rain was coming down in torrents in Philadelphia, and both teams were slogging away in the rain, and it was getting just Plain Old Ugly out there. Finally, The Tampa Bay Rays tied it, 2-apiece, and BAM! The game was called. I got the impression the Powers That Be were looking for a stroke of luck, trying to find an appropriate place to End The Game. Technically, the Game could have been called after five and a half innings, if Weather had been a factor, Which It Definitely WAS Monday Night in Philly. The Phils were leading 2-1, and in most cases, it would've been Game Over at that point. Ah, but this was the World Series! Obviously, the ideal situation here was to have both teams TIED before "calling the game"; my question is, if Tampa Bay had not scored that second run, how many rain-soaked innings would the teams have had to play before a decision was made? Would we have seen ballplayers out there wearing snorkels and swim fins flailing away at moisture-laden baseballs which had swollen to the size of grapefruit?

Had Tampa Bay not scored that second run when they did, this World Series Game would have become a colossal exercise in futility; Sportscasters Joe Buck and Tim McCarver were expressing incredulity at the fact both teams were still out there, and no one seemed to know what to do. The field was fast assuming the texture of knee-deep Oatmeal, and really, no one (except ducks and other waterfowl) could play in that weather. And then, Tampa Bay scored the tying run, which was just the doctor ordered; the game was (conveniently) shortened at that point. My question: Would the game have been shortened if Tampa Bay had not scored that tying run when it did? And Tampa probably wouldn't have scored any more runs in upcoming innings that weren't played that night, because it's pretty hard to hit a baseball when the batters have to wear swimming goggles, and it's hard to run the bases when your rain-soaked uniform all-of-a-sudden weighs 20 or 30 more pounds due to water saturation.

The Series Could Have Been Decided Monday Night. According to generally acknowledged rules of Baseball, An "official" game was played before Tampa Bay came up to bat in the middle of the 5th inning. This is a rule that all teams know, going in. But if The Commissioners were gonna wait until the score was tied 2-2, why not just play a New Game when the weather's better? A New Game starts out at 0-0...what's the difference? Instead, we all tuned in again Tuesday night, and the rain-shortened game was again postponed due to Rain, and finally, on Wednesday Night, the Entire Baseball Nation tuned in for a measly three innings of baseball; after an hour, the Phils won the game, and won the series, 4 games to 1, and that was it! Because of the Rain in Philly, neither team could really take full advantage of Player Talent; it's hard to do anything well when Mother Nature is pouring bucketfuls of Cold Water On Your Head. Basically, in order to preserve the integrity of The World Series, a Rule Was Broken. The one that says, Ya End The Game After Five-and-a-half innings if the weather's Rotten. Isn't player safety an issue?

But since that's NOT what happened, and perhaps if Tampa Bay hadn't tied it, perhaps play would've continued for two or three more innings Monday nite, and the batters would've been zipping between bases on Jet-Skis, and the outfielders would've been wearing Life Preservers. If you're gonna make One Special Rule for the World Series ("any game that has a possibility of being shortened due to rain cannot be Officially Suspended until a tie score is achieved", for example) then ya might as well commit to just starting the Entire Game Over, so you can see some half-decent baseball instead of having to endure the visage of Baseball Players Wallowing Around In The Mud Looking For The Baseball, Which Landed, "Splat!", somewhere between the pitchers' mound and home plate, disappearing in the muck. Not ending this rain-soaked game 5 until the score became tied, was a decision of CONVENIENCE, pure and simple, on the part of Major League Baseball. "Oh no, we can't have a team in the World Series win a rain-shortened game, especially one which decides which team is the Series Champ; it just wouldn't look good!"

If I was baseball commissioner...I would do what I heard several Sports-Talking heads advocate: MAKE THE BASEBALL SEASON shorter! After all, Inclement Weather has a funny way of happening in the Middle Of October. Another advantage of a shorter season: Less Injuries, more quality baseball due to less injuries! Major League Baseball can't really eliminate the various Division Series; that would be akin to trying to shove toothpaste back in the tube. To that, I present some alternatives: shorten Spring Training! Or, perhaps, Play Less Regular-Season Games. It's either that, or require Every Major League Team In America install Domes With Retractable Roofs, which obviously, some smaller baseball markets can't afford. The only good thing I can think of, concerning this just-ended Series is that Jamie Moyer is getting his World Series ring. No one in baseball deserves it more. Jamie Moyer, at his best, is a true wizard. He doesn't throw much over 80 miles an hour. If there's such a thing as a "crafty Lefty", he's it.

As to the title of this blog, "Is That All There Is" was a 1969 hit for Peggy Lee, who had to have been at least 120 years old at the time. Okay, she wasn't 120. But she was gettin; up there by then. That song is one of the most haunting tunes I've ever heard. More trivia: The song was composed by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who also wrote Elvis' "Jailhouse Rock". So now ya know...


Blogger MarmiteToasty said...

I dont understand how it can be called the World Series when, the rest of the world dont take part lol

10:39 AM  
Blogger Idaho Escapee said...

Hi, Marmee...theoretically, the U.S. is the 'Home Nation' for baseball; it was invented here, and (again, theoretically) the best players are located in the U.S., although there are players from a lot of different nations who are every bit as good as players in the U.S. And even then, many players in the major leagues come from other nations. I suppose it's a case of our nation assuming the world revolves around it that leads our great land (ahem) to call it the "World Series". Although...back in the '80s...the Toronto Blue Jays (headquartered in Canada) won the World Series. Many of the Toronto players were U.S. Ballplayers; not many (if any) players were actually From Canada. So if this doesn't make sense, well, I might agree, but since I live in the U.S., I just take it all for granted. And I'm rambling, so I'll end now...

10:16 PM  

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