Tuesday, October 28, 2008


World Series Rantin'

If I'm Bud Selig, I'm replacing this entire World Series umpiring crew before Games Six and Seven, if the Series goes that far. The umps union would obviously throw a fit, but the umpiring in this series has been absolutely horrible, to the point where there has to be some accountability. This is the Fall Classic, after all, and the inability to call these games correctly and call them with such inconsistency is inexcusable. In Game 4, on the Evan Longoria-Jimmy Rollins tag play at third base, Longoria clearly got his glove on Rollins, and it happened right in front of the umpire's face. I mean, what the hell was he looking at?

It isn't just the bad calls and the horribly inconsistent ball and strike calls, though. Last night's game should have been called at least an inning or two before it was finally suspended. The field was a sopping mess, every ball hit in the air was an adventure, and the game had de-evolved into a pure farce by the fifth inning. I understand the rush to get a full five innings in so the game could become official, but what's worse, having to call the game and replay it entirely, or playing through horrid weather conditions to get past five innings and then risk screwing over one team? MLB can thank Carlos Pena for saving them from a total PR nightmare. Can you imagine if the Rays had lost the series in five-and-a-half-innings? It would have been a total fiasco.

I'm thinking all of this has softened much of the interest in the Series at this point. Will anyone care enough to watch a totally anticlimactic final four innings tomorrow? If the Phils win we'll probably see the most joyless World Championship celebration since the 1989 A's.

-Favorite moment of the Series so far: In the top of the sixth inning, with B.J. Upton on first and the infield dirt reduced to little more than a mud-wrestling pit, Tim McCarver repeated like 50 times that the wet dirt severely hurt the Rays because much of their game was based on speed. Hilariously, on the first pitch of the next at-bat (after about ten throw-overs from Cole Hamels, designed to let the mud get even thicker), Upton stole second base easily and later scored the tying run.

Tim McCarver: He's correct about the plainly obvious and brutally wrong about so much more.

--Before Game 3, country singer Tim McGraw*, son of the late Phillies and Mets World Series hero Tug McGraw, spread his late father's ashes on the field before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. Tug, as you probably know, struck out Kansas City's Willie Wilson to end the 1980 World Series, giving the Phils their first World Championship ever and cementing his status as a Philadelphia legend.

Now, in keeping with my strange fascination with Mets players from before I was born, I freaking love Tug McGraw. The guy was famous for being a bit of a nut (Tom Seaver once said he only had 48 cards in his deck), but he was always good for a quote and his boundless enthusiasm and never-say-die attitude ("Ya Gotta Believe!") endeared him to a lot of fans. He ended his career as a player beloved in both New York and Philadelphia, and brother, that's gotta be hard to do. I don't know if he ever wrote an autobiography or a book of any kind, but it's one I'd read in a heartbeat.

I'll leave you with my favorite all-time Tug McGraw quote, when a reporter asked him what he was going to do with his World Series share:

"Ninety percent of it I'll spend on whiskey, women, and other good times. The other 10 percent I'll probably waste."

*I absolutely hate country music, but even I'm man enough to admit that "Dancing When the Stars Go Blue" is an awesome song. Especially when Bono and a hot brunette get involved.

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