Athens, GA (Oct 26, 2008) - Last night, Major League Baseball and Fox Sports decided to go ahead and play Game 3 of the 2008 World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays The first pitch came at 10:06 PM ET. The game did not end until 1:47 AM ET. What were the lords of baseball thinking? That is what Bill Chuck, co-author of “Walk-Offs, Last Licks, and Final Outs – Baseball’s Grand (and not so Grand) Finales” wants to know in this guest editorial.
Legal Disclaimer: The opinions and words written by guest writers do not necessarily reflect those of the management of "Eye on Sports Media" and The Cayuga Group, LLC.
Shake Me, Wake Me When It's Over
By Baseball Newstalgist Bill Chuck
As the late Levi Stubbs and the Four Tops sang:
Somebody tell me that I'm dreamin'
And wake me when its over.”
How many fans were singing that song as they were drifting off during Game 3?
On October 15, 1988, Game 1 of the World Series began at 8:35 Eastern time, the game ended 3:04 later when Kirk Gibson hit one of the great walkoff homers of all-time. That meant viewers of the game only missed the first 10 minutes of Matthew Broderick and the Sugarcubes on Saturday Night Live.
In the 1991 World Series, one of the greatest Game 3’s took place at Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium, the game ended at 12:34, when the Braves’ Mark Lemke hit a walkoff single…in the bottom of the 12th inning. Game 6 ended at 12:14 on Kirby Puckett’s walkoff homer…in the 11th inning. One of the greatest Game 7’s ended at 12:01 on Gene Larkin’s walkoff hit…in the 10th inning.
On Saturday, October 23, 1993, Game 6 ended on Joe Carter’s walkoff homer as Toronto won the World Series defeating the Philadelphia Phillies at 11:37 Eastern time. As disappointed as Phillies fans were, at least they got to root for their team, support their team, and console each other as they saw the ending of this exciting game.
This is more than most Phillies fans can say about Game 3 of the 2008 World Series. Because of an extended rain delay BEFORE the game begun, Jamie Moyer threw the first pitch in anger at 10:06 Saturday night. By the time the thrilling game came to its conclusion on Carlos Ruiz's scratch walkoff single it was 1:47 a.m….Sunday.
The wild game concluded 47 minutes after Saturday Night Live, starring “Mad Men’s” Jon Hamm ended, meaning that only mad men like myself were up to watch the conclusion. This all East Coast series could only be watched by the fans on the West Coast who even bothered to switch back to Fox to see if the incessant rain delay would ever end.
This was the latest start in Series history, according to Major League Baseball, beating out the 9:24 p.m. first pitch when Philadelphia hosted Toronto for Game 3 in 1993 at Veterans Stadium, following a 72-minute rain delay (that was a one-sided 10-3 victory). That makes this Game 3 start, by far, the biggest World Series disgrace in MLB history.
What was the point of starting this game?
Certainly, not to be supportive of the close to 46,000 fans who huddled in the rain waiting for the game to start.
It certainly wasn’t for the players who had to wait and wait for the game to begin.
And, it undoubtedly was not for the viewing public, particularly kids who have only one non-school night to hope to see the conclusion to a World Series game.
So this late, late start was to nobody’s benefit, unless, unless…was there a Fox in the henhouse?
You think the fact that had Game 3 been postponed, Fox would have been forced to run re-runs of “Cops” could have entered into the decision to play this game? Even a bigger factor could be that Game 5 would have been moved to Tuesday night, the night that Fox airs two ratings magnets, “House” and “Fringe” and that means those shows that have been pre-advertised would be pre-empted.
The fact is Fox could care less what their numbers were for Game 3. All the advertising for the game was sold, now they just needed to be run. Whether the ads ran at 10 pm or at midnight made no difference to them and the rest of the show is just considered to be filler (I would be referring to the game).
It’s the fact that Bud and his boys at MLB allowed this to happen is the part that is so shortsighted, and ultimately, so sad. Selig refuses to accept that baseball needs to be watched and seen in order to prosper. It’s almost as if he wants a free-market without regulations and has anybody seen the stock market lately? Baseball can grow its fan base with great postseason games and Game 3 was a great baseball game with a wild, exciting, great ending. Too bad so few fans got to see it.
About the Author
Bill Chuck is available for radio appearances, and writing for print or the web. he can be contacted at Bill@billy-ball.com or by calling 617-566-2784.