A New Kind Of Cold War

By Joe Henderson
Updated: October 23, 2009

TAMPA — I’m a peaceful guy, wishing nothing but happiness and harmony for everyone and everything.

There’s one exception, though.

The World Series starts next week and I hope it’s a mess. I hope there are ice storms, blizzards, sleet and slush. I want it so cold that Bud Selig’s eyelids freeze. I want weather delays that keep everyone at the ballpark until 3 a.m.

I want postponements that push the Series back until Thanksgiving.

The Phillies did their part Wednesday night by eliminating the warm-weather Dodgers to win the National League pennant. Now we just need the Yankees to do their part and finish off the Angels and give us two cold-weather cities.

That would give the Series the fighting chance it deserves to be a climatic catastrophe.

It’s nothing personal.

It’s just that the Series could run until Nov. 5 if it goes seven games. More games are actually on the schedule for November than October, assuming the Series goes the distance — and that’s fundamentally wrong. I want baseball punished for it.

You’d have thought the wizards running the game would have learned from last year’s meteorological meltdown last year in Philly with the Tampa Bay Rays. Game 5 — remember, that’s the one that took three days to complete — began in the most wretched conditions I have ever seen for a baseball game, let alone one where a championship could be decided.

It was beyond cold.

It was beyond miserable.

It was raining ice water all night until Selig suspended play after the Rays tied the game in the top of the sixth inning. Umpire Tim Tschida said afterward that conditions made the game “comical,” but there was nothing funny about any of it. The game slogged on because baseball is a slave to Fox television, and Fox wanted the game completed in the time slot it had planned for baseball.

I remember walking outside the following night; the game had already been “delayed” until the following evening, allegedly because the forecast wasn’t promising.

The weather was actually tolerable when I checked. The delay couldn’t have been because Fox didn’t want to interrupt its regular Tuesday night lineup with shows like “House,” could it?

Oh wait. … Just a few of days ago, on a Tuesday, the Yankees and Angels played a day game on the West Coast. I never object to day games as a rule, but I thought this was pretty funny. The game went extra innings, bled into prime time and delayed the start of …. “House.”

Tell me the baseball gods don’t practice karma.

I checked the long-range forecast next week for Philly and New York and, unfortunately, it’s relatively mild. Nothing against the fans in either city, but baseball and Fox need the harshest kind of lesson for pushing the season this late. Baseball isn’t designed to be played in November.

It’s more than uncomfortable — it’s potentially dangerous.

I can remember the sight of outfielders trying to pick fly balls out of the driving rain in Game 5 last year. I remember Philly starter Cole Hamels having to abandon his deadly changeup because he couldn’t be sure of the grip on the wet ball.

And that game began Oct. 27.

This Series cannot end until at least Nov. 1 — and that’s with a four-game sweep.


Mother Nature gave baseball a brush-back pitch last October.

Maybe a snowball upside the head this time will finally do the trick.