Sport and Society for 10/31/08 [World Series 2008]
- Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2008 20:45:59 -0400 (EDT)
From: Richard C. Crepeau <crepeau@...>
To: undisclosed-recipients: ;
Subject: Sport and Society for 10/31/08
SPORT AND SOCIETY FOR ARETE
October 31, 2008
Now that the rain that lasted for forty hours and forty minutes has ended, a
World Series winner had been determined, and Commissioner Selig has disembarked
from his Ark, I want to say a few things about the series itself, as well as
take a look at some of the "solutions" to the problems raised by the
circumstances of Game Five.
This was in fact an interesting and exciting World Series and the winning team
was clearly the better team. Three of the Philadelphia wins were by one run,
the one Rays win was by two runs, and there was only one blowout. The Phillies
had more power hitters and better pitching in the bullpen. Although the Rays
starting pitching was deeper than the Phils on paper, in this series the Phils
starters more than held their own, while Cole Hamels dominated.
Those who stayed away from their television sets in record numbers missed some
great pitching, a brief power display by the Phillies, and some excellent
fielding when the weather permitted. For the Phillies this was a great win for
a franchise that has had only one World Series win in its existence, and in
fact very few other Series appearances. They were no match for the Cubs in
futility, but they were perilously close.
For the Rays it was a great World Series just by the fact that they
participated. Ten years of total futility suddenly disappeared, and the people
of St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay discovered that there was a very good young
team hidden in the witness protection program at "The Can." The future should
be bright for this team, although there are questions about the health of the
franchise. The big questions will be answered by season ticket sales in the
off-season and overall attendance next season.
As to the "solutions" to the problems raised by the weather, some have
suggested a neutral site for the World Series, either in a dome or in a warm
weather site. Neither of these will be, or should be, considered. A dome is no
place to play the most important baseball games of the season. Warm weather
neutral sites do get rain, although those in the desert might raise the
probability of a rain free event. Most importantly the World Series can not be
taken away from the fans who support their team over the 162 game season.
Baseball is not pro football. Ordinary fans still matter in baseball and at the
World Series, and unlike the NFL, Major League Baseball is not totally devoted
to the rich and famous.
There are other alternatives that could be considered to mute the weather
factor. One possibility is to shorten the season so that the World Series would
end before mid-October. This would minimize the cold weather factor. Second,
games could begin at 6 p.m. Eastern time and not go into the late night hours
with dropping temperatures. Day games could return on weekends. Baseball is
already losing the ratings game to football, so why not go to a better time of
day to play these games? Maybe the fans would find that an attractive prospect,
causing the TV audience to return.
As to the particular issues raised in Game Five, the solutions seem easier to
find. There should be a rule that all games that are started will be played to
their conclusion, regardless of the number or duration of delays in play. This
would apply regardless of inning or score at the time of suspension. It would
make the decision to suspend a game easier, and it would prevent anyone from
winning a championship as a result of a truncated game. These should be
permanent rule changes not some ad hoc decision made by the Commissioner, who
then keeps that information from players and fans. All these changes should
apply for all the playoff rounds and not just the World Series.
So with these final thoughts on the World Series and knowing the Cubs will be
seeking to extend their record for baseball futility, I can only say with all
those many fans of teams other than the Championship Phillies, "Wait 'Till Next
This column will be on hold for several weeks as I am off on an overseas trip
to discover if I can see Sarah Palin's front porch from Russia. I promise to
report back on that and other matters sometime in December.
On Sport and Society this is Dick Crepeau reminding you that you don't have to
be a good sport to be a bad loser.
Copyright 2008 by Richard C. Crepeau