Tuesday, October 28, 2008

No Ties in Baseball

There are no ties in Baseball anymore. Now you might say, “were there ever ties in baseball?” Or, “there haven’t been ties in Baseball for 100 years, since they started playing extra innings.” That’s true, except there were still ties in Baseball until just a couple of years ago.

Through the 2006 season, if a game was rained out after 5 innings with the score tied, it counted as a complete game. It was a tie, even though MLB didn’t keep track of the ties in either team’s win/loss record. All of the stats from the game counted as official stats. Then the entire game was replayed at a later date.

My sister and brother-in-law, when the lived in England, had quite a laugh when the local London news reported the end of an MLB game as being a tie. Only to find out that it had been rained out and was, in fact, a tie. When Mark McGwire beat out Sammy Sosa for the single season home run record in 1998, he did it in 163 games because of a tie. Don’t cry foul though, Sammy also played in 163 games thanks to the one game play-off with the Giants to determine the Wild Card. (One game play-offs are counted statistically as extra regular season games.)

Then they changed the rule. Now rained-out games that are tied after 5 innings are suspended and continued from where they left off at a later date. Had last night’s World Series game happened a couple years ago, the Rays and the Phillies would be playing an entire new game tonight.

Although, the tragedy for both teams is that had they scored just one more run (or in the Phillies case, had they just kept Tampa from scoring in the 6th) and been winning when the game was called, they would have won. The Rays would have stolen a win and gone back to Tampa still alive. Or perhaps more bizarrely, the Phillies could have won the Series on a rain-shortened game.

Typically one of the most memorable moments of a World Series is when the last out is recorded or the last run scores to win the game and all the players pile on top of each other in celebration on the field. Had the Phillies won on a rain-out, that moment would have been an umpire walking on the field making a series of hand gestures to indicate the game was called and the Phillies had won the game and the World Series. Would the players have piled out on the field in the rain anyway, or would that moment have been just too anti-climactic? We’ll never know.

No post-season game has ever been truncated due to weather, and none will ever be. Commissioner Bud Selig apparently was prepared to use his power under the “best interest of baseball” clause to change the rain-out rule last night and require the game to be suspended and completed regardless of the score. (Look for there to be a rule change in the off season to make that part of the cannon.)

There are no ties in Baseball anymore, and now no rain-shortened post-season games either.

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In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.