Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Nice Day, Stands are Full of Fans, Let's Play ... Huh?

Hurricanes suck, but then again, so does the D-Rays' management. The Yanks' latest series against Tampa was scheduled to start with a Labor Day doubleheader, which was supposed to start at 1:00. Then it was put back to 3:00 because the Devil Rays were running late getting out of Tampa due to Hurricane Frances.

The Devil Rays didn't reach New York on time for even this delayed start, and the Yankees are now pursuing a forfeit of game one of the doubleheader.

There was a firestorm of a thread over at the website formerly known as Baseball Primer.

On the one hand, the Commissioner's office told the D-Rays last week to come to New York over the weekend. On the other hand, Tampa's players had reasonable misgivings about leaving their families in Florida to face a hurricane alone. They decided to blow off MLB's instructions.

I can't really blast the Devil Rays players' decision, but then again, I didn't sit in Yankee Stadium for seven hours yesterday, waiting for a game to start.

How did it come to this? Why do the Yankees have to ask for a forfeit, here? After the D-Rays decided to stay in Florida over the weekend, why didn't the commissioner's office issue one of the following two statements?

1. "What the heck were we thinking? Of course you're not going to leave your families alone in a hurricane! Forget what I said about spending the weekend in New York. Just be there by 7:00 Monday night." Or

2. "I told you to be in New York friday, saturday at latest. You disregarded this office's orders. Now you've decided to jeopardize your series in New York. We'll push back the doubleheader's start time for you, but if you're not ready to take the field at 3:00 on Monday afternoon, you'll have forfeited one game. Still not ready to play at 7:05? You lose two."

This, of course, would only be the Commissioner's office doing its job. Instead, we get fans waiting around Yankee Stadium for the Rays, who simply didn't show up on time, and now a fight over what happens to the canceled game. Forfeit? Does the game get made up sometime in September? (Mind you, the D-Rays are already making up two games against the Tigers from this weekend.)

The real sucky part about this is that I think this was supposed to be a real Labor Day doubleheader: one ticket gets you into two games. That sort of doubleheader (since replaced by the necessity-only, two-ticket "twi-night" doubleheader) much like the cinematic double feature, has died out in my lifetime. Some day, in the not-so-distant future, I'll be stuck explaining to kids what the scheduled doubleheader, the rotary phone, and the public library were. Aside from the rotary phone, I don't look forward to explaining why those things no longer exist.

Yanks won the nightcap, 7-4. Alex Rodriguez batted second and drove in 3 runs. If I tell you the starter pitched well, you can probably tell me who the starting pitcher was.

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