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The longest game ever played?

Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor

Rounding Third Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - So much for it always being sunny in Philadelphia.

What a mess this World Series has become. An hour-and-a-half rain delay on Saturday, some of the worst umpiring you will ever see, and now a suspended game.

And now, we have to wait another day for Game 5 to be completed since the cold, rainy, snowy conditions in Philadelphia are apparently not conducive to baseball. Go figure.

I am guessing this is probably not what Abner Doubleday envisioned when he dreamt up the game nearly 170 years ago.

Commissioner Bud Selig is taking his shots today, and rightfully so, I guess.

Obviously, I have no problem with him suspending the game on Monday. By about the third inning it was quite clear there was no way they were going to get that game in. But why wait until the sixth inning?

Sure, all the conspiracy theorists will point to the fact that Tampa Bay tied the game and it gave Selig an out, but all the parties involved knew this game was not going to be decided early. Selig met with both general managers before Saturday's game when it was clear weather would be an issue, and told them both at that time that each game is going to go nine innings, by hook or by crook.

So, if you were going to complete the game anyway, why couldn't they have just stopped it after the fifth? Heck you could have called it after the fourth and just started anew on Wednesday, since weather is wiping out any chance of action on Tuesday.

And as Selig so eloquently pointed out, Rule 4.12, section C clearly states: "A suspended game shall be resumed at the exact point of suspension of the original game. The completion of a suspended game is a continuation of the original game. The lineup and batting order of both teams shall be exactly the same as the lineup and batting order at the moment of suspension, subject to the rules governing substitution. Any player may be replaced by a player who had not been in the game prior to the suspension. No player removed before the suspension may be returned to the lineup. A player who was not with the club when the game was suspended may be used as a substitute, even if he has taken the place of a player no longer with the club who would not have been eligible because he had been removed from the lineup before the game was suspended."

According to all the weather reports on Saturday, once the rain stopped, it was going to stop for good. Everyone involved knew that game was going to be played. This was not the case on Monday. All the reports stated the weather was going to get worse as the game wore on.

I don't blame Selig for trying to get it in. He had to at least try, since the conditions for Tuesday were even worse. And let's be honest, the weathermen are not always right. But once it became clear that they were right this time, the decision should have been made right then and there to stop the game.

The weather on Wednesday does not look that great either. There is a good chance this game lingers into Thursday.

So, whenever this gets going again, the Phillies will be batting in the sixth inning with the score tied, 2-2. Grant Balfour was on the hill for the Rays at the time the game was called. I guess he could start again, but everyone on the planet is expecting Joe Maddon to go with left-handed phenom David Price, who could probably go as long as needed.

I guess we will wait and see, though, who Phillies manager Charlie Manuel uses to pinch-hit for Cole Hamels, who will lead off the sixth for the Phils. The Phils have a legit beef for that one reason. They are going to lose Hamels. He was pitching great until the weather started to get really bad. He even admitted that he wasn't able to throw his changeup because of the weather.

The Phillies could throw a number of guys, including Game 3 starter Jamie Moyer, whose normal side session would be either Tuesday or Wednesday. They could get an inning or two out of him, then go to Ryan Madson and if things go as planned, Brad Lidge in the ninth.

Philadelphia's bullpen has been its strength all season. They are still in the driver's seat. Plus they have three less outs to get. However, it does seem that there are some outside forces working against them at the moment.

Maybe they should table the parade talk for a little bit. At one point yesterday "Phillies World Series Parade" was the No. 3 search on Google. Even after the game was called on Monday, there was someone from the Philadelphia Police Department discussing parade routes when the "inevitable" occurs.

But, even if the Rays happen to win and then take Game 6, the Phillies will probably have Hamels in their back pocket for a potential Game 7. He only threw 75 pitches on Monday.

The best part of all this was that the Rays had already checked out of their hotel. The team's traveling secretary, Jeff Ziegler, was forced to work overtime to secure accommodations, which he finally did in Wilmington, Delaware - a mere 45 minutes from Philly.

All in all, it is a mess. Somehow I have a feeling we are going to be heading south for a little more cowbell. Say what you want about Tropicana Field - this never would have happened in St. Pete.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.

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