Game 5 Of World Series To Resume Wednesday
MICHELE NORRIS, host:
The World Series has collided with the calendar. It's October in Philadelphia, which means miserable weather, specifically rain and driving winds that caused last night's game five between the Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays to be suspended. They were hoping to resume play tonight, but that won't happen, either. Mike Pesca has been covering the series for us, and he joins us now. Mike, when are they going to play?
MIKE PESCA: Oh, if I only had that soundbite from Bud Selig last night in the press conference. He said, quote, "we'll stay here if we have to celebrate Thanksgiving here."
NORRIS: Ha, hope not that long.
PESCA: That was a little bit of hyperbole, maybe. Bud was trying out for Last Comic Standing. But the game resumes tomorrow night because, in baseball, they have the ERA and RBI and the K, but the most important set of initials right now is the NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. All they've been doing is looking at the weather maps. It's too rainy tonight to play. They're going to get in tomorrow, where in it'll be cold and it will windy, but it will not be raining.
NORRIS: So bring us up to date. Where does the series stand right now?
PESCA: The Phillies lead in the series three games to one. They are on the precipice of clinching their first championship since 1980. So you could say it stands at a three and two-thirds game to one and one-thirds game for the Rays because right now, in game five, the score is tight at two in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Actually, the middle of the sixth inning because yesterday's game started off in the way that all these games have started, very interestingly. The Phillies scored in the first inning. They've done that every game so far, but the Rays did something that they hadn't done before. They got their big sluggers. There are three, four hitters, Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria - although they weren't the three, four hitters always. But Joe Maddon has mixed up the line because those two fellows had zero hits coming into last night's game. But in last night's game, they both connected. In fact, it was Pena's hit in the top of the sixth inning that tied the game.
And then that tie brought up an interesting situation. It was just raining so much. The grounds crew tried to pour kitty litter on the field. The commissioner said, OK, we're going to suspend the game, and that was something that a lot of people thought that the tie was something that let the commissioner's office off the hook a little bit. They were pretty happy that the game got tied. ..TEXT: NORRIS: Mike, what would have happened if the commissioner had called the game when the Phillies were ahead?
PESCA: Well, according to the rules, the game could have ended there. If the Phillies were ahead, and they were coming up to bat in the bottom of the sixth, there's nothing in the rules that says the game has to go on. And if it were, say, an August game, they would have said, all right, that was an official game.
But it turns out that the commissioner informed both teams, although the public didn't know about this, and the broadcasters on Fox didn't know about this, but he told both teams that, no matter what, they will be playing the full game. But that's more of a rule of man as opposed to a rule of law. On the books, there's nothing that says a World Series game has to be played to completion.
NORRIS: Mike, we've got to let you go, but one quick question. You're in Philadelphia. The Phillies had built up some real momentum. Are they worried they're on that seat? The team has lost its mojo?
PESCA: Well, fans are - you know, they're just ready to jump off whatever buildings before they implode. The fans here are - you know, they've been looking for a champion for the Phillies for 28 years or for any team for 25 years. So fans have this - the sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.
The players say we're just going to get through, and it'll be fine. But they do know that their ace, their pitcher called Hammels, was knocked out of the game essentially by the rain delay, so that's not their benefit. But as the manager stated, they have more runs and more bats to work with because they're coming up to bat in the bottom of the sixth. So if you look at it that way, the Phillies could be in a good position even though the scored is tied right now.
NORRIS: Well I imagine, there are a lot of baseball fans praying to the weather gods right now. Thank you, Mike.
PESCA: You're welcome.
NORRIS: That was NPR's Mike Pesca in Philadelphia.