Baltimore Orioles: MLB screwed the pooch in the NLDS
The Baltimore Orioles are the first ones to tell you that the weather is unpredictable. And that seems to especially be true in terms of trying to decide whether to play baseball, delay, or post phone. However I would submit that MLB’s tactic yesterday in Chicago did more harm than good in the NLDS between the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals.
In a regular season (or spring training for that matter) game, the home team controls whether or not the game starts on time. In saying that, I mean it’s squarely their decision in terms of the weather. Now with that said, the unwritten rule so to speak is that you confer with the visiting team and the umpiring crew. Obviously if the game’s going to be post phoned, you want to come to a mutual decision together. But when push comes to shove, it’s up to the home team. Once the umpire’s said play ball, it’s up to the crew whether or not to call for a delay or cancellation.
However in the post season it’s different. MLB handles all weather situations. The forecast in Chicago yesterday was calling for heavy rain all day, but especially in the later afternoon and evening. I’m not a weather man, however it seems to me that the prudent thing to do would have been to simply post phone the game from the outset.
And yes, it’s easy for me to say. At this point I’m just like the rest of you – a fan sitting at home watching the game on television. And believe me, I was ready to watch baseball late yesterday afternoon! The pitching in this Chicago/Washington series has been very good. And I’m a fan of pitching. But if the weather isn’t going to hold up, why delay the inevitable.
Again, sometimes forecasts are off and sometimes strange things happen. Especially in a place like The Windy City. But it just seems to me that MLB did both teams a disservice by bringing them to Wrigley Field and having them go through the motions of getting ready to play a ballgame.
And let’s take it a step further; with the rain out, the teams now surrender their travel day IF Washington happens to win today. Whereas before they would have traveled back to DC today for a game five on Thursday, now they’ll travel immediately following the game today to be ready for tomorrow. Some would argue that’s more akin to the regular season which is what players are used to, and that might be a valid point. (And again, mind you that this only applies if Washington wins; if Chicago wins this afternoon the series is over.)
However on that premise, why would MLB schedule a 4 PM start today? Why not a 1 PM or even a noon game? Would that not give the teams an extra few hours to get to Washington if in fact that’s today’s eventuality? I get it in the sense that it’s all about TV ratings, and to a lesser extent how many people they feel will complain about the start time in terms of having tickets to the game. But this is Chicagoland…it’s acceptable to skip work on any random weekday afternoon for a regular season Cubs game. Much less a playoff game!