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News » Whither the weather: Wacky World Series on hold

Whither the weather: Wacky World Series on hold

Whither the weather: Wacky World Series on hold
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Fall Classic? More like the Rainfall Classic.

The threat of bad weather kept the World Series on hold Tuesday, leaving the Tampa Bay Rays stuck at a hotel in Delaware and the Philadelphia Phillies still close to a possible championship.

Sooner or later, the suspended Game 5 will resume in the bottom of the sixth inning with the score 2-all and someone will win this thing.

Just not yet. Besides, the baseball commissioner went home to Milwaukee.

They'll try again Wednesday night at 8:37 p.m. with the Phillies leading three games to one in the best-of-seven matchup. Oh, the wind chill is expected to drop into the mid-20s - at least snow showers will be out of the forecast.

Already an odd Series, it'll get more weird whenever it starts up again - Phils ace Cole Hamels is set to lead off against Grant Balfour, and there's a chance both will be out of the game before the first pitch.

"It's kind of like overtime in a sense, I guess," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "Or sudden victory."

The Phillies had hoped to wrap up their first title since 1980 on Monday night. But a steady downpour turned Citizens Bank Park into a quagmire, washing away the foul lines and turning home plate into a puddle.

It took a few innings before baseball decided it was time to call out the tarp and cover the field.

"It's just the way it is," Maddon said. "There's no crying about it."

OK, no crying here. The manager who listens to Springsteen while filling out his lineup card was real calm - he'd already lost one game at 1:47 a.m., then saw this unexpected break force his Rays to relocate to a hotel 25 miles south in Wilmington.

Too late for complaining, anyway. A Series studded with big boppers such as Ryan Howard and B.J. Upton was no longer whacky - it was downright wacky.

Since the Phillies will come to bat in the sixth, fans won't have to wait long for the seventh-inning stretch. They might not even have time to buy a hot dog, or a cup of hot chocolate.

Hard to tell how many people will tune in even if - for once - a World Series wraps up before kids have to go to bed. The TV ratings for the first four games dipped by 25 percent from last year.

Tickets from Game 5 are good for the resumption, provided everyone can scramble back with their soggy stubs. The Phillies' ballpark holds nearly 46,000 people and surely logistics will prevent some of them from returning.

Then again, a $160 seat in the upper deck is suddenly more valuable for someone eager to see the Phillies try to win their first championship since 1980, and the city's first major sports title since the NBA's 76ers in 1983.

Commissioner Bud Selig, who flew home for a day, was ready to return to Philly for as long as necessary.

"We'll stay here if we have to celebrate Thanksgiving here," he said in announcing the suspension.

If the Phillies win a battle of the bullpens when Game 5 resumes, they'll soon parade up Broad Street. If they lose, time to fly to Tampa Bay.

Delays in the World Series are rare. There has never been a rain-shortened game and this was the first suspension.

There were three straight washouts in 1962 with the Yankees and Giants, and a series of rainouts set up the classic 1975 game between Boston and Cincinnati that Carlton Fisk won with a home run off the foul pole. In 1989, an earthquake interrupted Oakland and San Francisco for a week.

Rain intruded in Game 3 Saturday night, with the first pitch pushed back to 10:06 p.m. - the latest start time in Series history - and the last pitch coming shortly before 2 a.m.

Despite a shaky forecast, baseball tried to play Monday night. It was raining lightly at the start. Within a few innings, it was clear the showers weren't going to quit.

"You're not going to win against Mother Nature," Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels said.

With the wind chill dropping into the 30s, several players wore caps with ear flaps attached. Mud flaps would've been more appropriate.

"I was upset with some of the things that went on," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "But I definitely was agreed with everything that happened, and I also agreed that the game definitely had to be stopped. The conditions were definitely unplayable."

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: October 29, 2008

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