Heavy rain forced the suspension of Game 5 of the World Series in Philadelphia, Monday night. And, with bad weather remaining in the area, Major League Baseball officials decided they will not try to resume play until Wednesday night (8:37 p.m. ET). VOA Sports Editor Parke Brewer has more from Philadelphia.
When the host Philadelphia Phillies grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning of Game 5, Monday night, their fans sensed they could be on the verge of winning their first World Series title since 1980.
After all, they led the best-of-seven series over the Tampa Bay Rays, three games to one, and had their best pitcher on the mound, Cole Hamels. Hamels had won all four of his previous starts in this post-season.
But heavy rain and high winds arrived in the third inning. Tampa scored one run in the fourth inning and another in the sixth to tie the score. At that point, with heavy rain continuing to fall and no let-up predicted by weather forecasters, officials declared the field unplayable.
The game was stopped and, within 30 minutes, it was suspended until Tuesday night. But the rain and gusting winds did not let up through Tuesday afternoon, so the conclusion of the Game 5 was postponed again by 24 hours, until Wednesday night (8:37 p.m).
Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said they just have not been lucky with the conditions, which he indicated can vary greatly and be unpredictable this time of year.
"It's tricky," he said. I know that many second guess [on decisions affecting play], and I understand that. But the thing that's been so difficult is that the weather, it just keeps changing. But obviously we're very sensitive to that, and we'll bend over backwards to be sensitive to the Phillies fans who have been tremendous."
Phillies General Manager Pat Gillick said all those involved in the decisions were in agreement.
"Unfortunately, those things happen," he said. "So we'll just have to go on from here and go get them whenever we play."
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon shared the same outlook.
"It's just the way it is. There's no crying about it," Maddon said. "And, I'm not really one to point fingers. I've never been that person. I'm not going to do it now."
Maddon's Rays will be in the field when Game Five resumes, with the Phillies batting in the bottom of the sixth inning. The team that wins will be the one that gets the best performance from its relief pitchers.
With his team having tied the game at 2-2 before the suspension, Maddon said that could give his team momentum.
"Us coming back like we did and sitting on it for a day or two possibly could weigh in our favor a little bit," he said. "I'm not sure yet. But I think the most important part of it is that both bullpens are rested, and there's no telling what's going to happen at this point."
While the Phillies will try to win the World Series before their home fans, the Rays hope to take Game 5 to send the teams back to their home stadium in Florida for a Game 6.