World Series’s 6th Inning Rain Suspension ‘Will Go Down in History,’ Says ESPN’s Chris Berman

October 29, 2008 - 7:43 PM
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(CNSNews.com) - The suspension of Game Five of the World Series on Monday after Tampa Bay tied up the game in the 6th inning has sparked controversy among professional baseball fans, many of whom argue that the game should have been called earlier when the rain started or not played at all.  
 
ESPN anchors Chris Berman and Rece Davis spoke with CNSNews.com at the National Press Club on Wednesday. Berman concluded that the decision to keep playing the game in the rain into the 6th inning will go down in history.

Under the regular rules of professional baseball, an official game is 4 ½ innings, unless the home team is trailing, at which point 5 innings would have to be played to make the game “official.” On Monday, the Philadelphia Phillies were ahead going into the 6th inning, under heavy rain and wind – Tampa Bay tied it up 2-2 in the top of the 6th and then the game was suspended.

On the argument that the game should be have been called before it was deemed "official," that's a "hindsight argument," ESPN's Davis told CNSNews.com.

"I think if you subscribe to the whole conspiracy theory that they wanted to see if they could get the game tied so it would be a little less embarrassing, I guess that could be one aspect of it," he said. "But one thing -- I don't know, maybe I'm too naïve about it -- but I think the weather snuck up on them a little bit. I think it got a little worse than they thought, a little faster than they thought, and then they got in a situation where they didn't want -- even though Selig said we would have had rain delay forever. I understand that. But I think he did not want to get into a situation where it looked bad, where it looked like they were bending the official rules of the game and reverting to the former score."

ESPN's Berman said the commissioner is not a weatherman and he probably thought they could get the game in before the weather went sour.

"If they waited another hour and a half maybe the rains wouldn't have come,” said Berman.  “There's always a chance. I have a weather report, ‘Boy it looks like it's coming,’ maybe we can get it in another hour and a half  -- maybe the game would be over by then. I mean, once they started it, let’s see what happens. You can't blame them for the weather. The report said 95 percent of whatever. Sports tells you that if there's a 5 percent chance of it not happening, it always happens, so they gambled and lost. It's really that simple. You can't blame the commissioner for not being a weatherman."

Berman says the decision to keep playing will go down in history.

"It does present a situation that 50 years from now we'll be talking about,” said Berman. “A three-inning game to decide the World Series potentially. You know, about as long as tee ball games, which is interesting, but we'll always remember this series.”