By: Jamie Samuelsen
On SportsCenter, ESPN normally has a rundown that they put along the lefthand side of the screen. It lets you know when there’s breaking news (Flash – Tebow Takes Shirt Off) and it lets you know what’s coming up on the show.
So imagine my surprise on Tuesday night when I saw “Controversy at Fenway” coming up on the show. Well done ESPN. You made me stay tuned! I watched through the commercial break to see a report that the Tigers were furious with the umpiring crew for calling for the tarp when the Tigers had the bases loaded in the top of the sixth inning. Ooooooh. Controversy. This should make for a good day on the radio station on Wednesday. We LOVE a good controversy at The Ticket -especially one where the home team gets the short end of the stick. It makes for good radio.
So imagine my surprise this morning when I saw Jim Leyland’s quotes defending the umpiring crew for such a difficult situation. What? Where’s the anger? Where’s the controversy?
Apparently, an unnamed Tiger official talked to a reporter (Gorden Edes of ESPN Boston) and let him know that the Tigers would be filing an official protest with the commissioner’s office. But you never would have known that from listening to Leyland or Justin Verlander or from reading the game accounts in the paper this morning.
I’m not entirely sure what was lost in the translation. But I do know this. There was nothing to protest.
It’s true that the conditions were miserable. The game probably should never have started and it definitely should have been stopped earlier than it was. But both teams were playing in the same conditions. The Red Sox took advantage of Tigers mistakes. The Tigers couldn’t do the same, even though they had plenty of opportunities. Given that, there’s no valid protest from the Tigers. It did not start pouring only when the Tigers were batting.
Secondly, this whole notion that the game should have continued simply because the bases were loaded in the sixth is preposterous. It was pouring rain and the infield and outfield was taking on water. The umpires can’t concern themselves with the game situation. Their only concern is the player safety and the quality of the game. They can’t worry about pennant races or weather maps or makeup dates. True, they erred by not stopping the game earlier. But they certainly did not err for stopping the game when they did. The whole argument that they didn’t stop the game earlier so they shouldn’t have stopped it then is silly. It’s the classic example of two wrongs don’t make a right.
The true fault here lies with Major League Baseball and the owners. They’re so hell bent on making money and protecting home dates that they try to cram games in even when they shouldn’t. The umpires got this directive, so it’s play ball!
The game never should have been played last night. It should have been stopped much earlier than it did. And it should not be protested. The umpires were right to stop the game. They were wrong to even start it in the first place.