10/28/08 2:49 AM EST
Selig: Rain would not shorten Game 5
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
"Well, I guess putting everything else aside, it's my judgment," Selig said. "I have to use my judgment. It's not a way to end a World Series. And I think I have enough authority, here, frankly, so that I'm not only on solid ground, I'm on very solid ground."Asked to confirm afterward if he had been talking about any World Series game, not just a potential clincher, Selig said: "Common sense will always prevail. And I'm very protective of the integrity and sanctity of these games." There has never been a rain-shortened game in World Series history, and this was the first suspension.
The Phillies lead the best-of-seven series, 3-1, and if they win the suspended game that is tied, 2-2, heading into the bottom of the sixth, they would capture the second World Series title in franchise history.Under rule 4.12(c), "A suspended game shall be resumed at the exact point of suspension of the original game. The completion of a suspended game is a continuation of the original game." As far as a rainout is concerned, under regular-season conditions, a game that is ended by rain after five innings becomes official and is counted as a victory for the team that is leading at the time it is called.
GAME 5 SUSPENSION
|Commissioner Selig cited rule 4.12(a)(6) in explaining the suspension of Game 5. According to the rule, enacted for the 2007 season, any official game halted with the score tied "shall become a suspended game that must be completed at a future date."
In this scenario, rule 4.12(c) for suspended games is enacted: "A suspended game shall be resumed at the exact point of suspension of the original game. The completion of a suspended game is a continuation of the original game. The lineup and batting order of both teams shall be exactly the same as the lineup and batting order at the moment of suspension, subject to the rules governing substitution. Any player may be replaced by a player who had not been in the game prior to the suspension. No player removed before the suspension may be returned to the lineup."
Prior to 1980, a game called due to inclement weather would have reverted back to the beginning of the inning, with the Phillies leading, 2-1, since Philadelphia did not bat in the bottom of the inning. In 1980, the "reverting back" was discontinued and the game was henceforth declared a suspended game. Rule 4.12(a)(6) was added after the 2006 season so that any game suspended after becoming official would be declared a suspended game. Therefore, Game 5 will resume with the score tied at 2.
In a liberal interpretation of rule 3.10(c), Selig needed to wait at least 30 minutes before calling the game (which he did) and could "continue the suspension as long as he believes there is any chance to resume play," whether that's 20 minutes or three days."We would have gone into a rain delay, and that rain delay would have lasted until, weather permitting, we could resume the game," he said. "The game would have been in a rain delay until weather conditions allowed us to continue. And that might have been 24 hours or 48 hours or who knows?" Bob DuPuy, MLB president and chief operating officer, said that the Commissioner had made the right use of the rules. "If the game hadn't gone five innings, it would have been wiped out and started from scratch," DuPuy said. "But what the Commissioner said is that he would have not wanted the World Series to end with a shortened game. So he would have gone into a rain delay and he would have kept the rain delay in place until he believed weather conditions were suitable to resume the game, which is clearly what the rules contemplate and clearly under his authority of running the postseason." Selig said that during meetings with the umpires and upper management of both teams earlier in the series when rain threatened Game 3 -- which was delayed an hour and 31 minutes and played to its conclusion with the Phillies winning, 5-4 -- he made it clear that every game eventually would be played to its conclusion no matter what the weather conditions. Had the Rays not scored in the top of sixth to tie the score, the Phils would not have been granted the title. "Yes, as the Commissioner said we had a discussion and the judgment if there was to be a rain delay, it certainly would be the judgment of the Commissioner," said Phillies general manager Pat Gillick. "And I think both of us, both [Rays president] Andrew [Silverman] and myself, we wanted to make sure that if this game was to be played, we wanted it to play to the conclusion. "I wanted it played fairly for both sides, Tampa Bay and ourselves. We were aware that the Commissioner could, even with the score not tied, could continue this game later and call a rain delay until the proper conditions did exist." Selig, of course, has made tough on-field decisions before. In 2002, he had to call the All-Star Game in his hometown of Milwaukee after 11 innings with the score tied 7-7 because both teams ran out of pitchers. Of the decision to suspend Monday night's game, Selig said: "It was difficult, but that's why I'm here. By the time this decision was made, we had covered every subject. These were circumstances beyond our control. When you have tough times, that's why you have a Commissioner."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.