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October 27, 2008

Pat Gillick

Tim Tschida

Tim Welke

Bill Wilke


RICH LEVIN: Commissioner Bud Selig is going make a statement and answer your questions. With the Commissioner on your far left, umpires Tim Tschida and Tim Welke, and Matt Silverman, President of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Pat Gillick, General Manager of the Phillies.
COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: Thank you, Rich. Tonight's game has been suspended. It will be resumed when I believe that weather conditions are appropriate. And as I've told everybody tonight after the game, while we're at a time of the year where ideal conditions don't always exist, I'm going to be very sensitive and thorough in at least making sure that we don't have a situation like we had.
I know there will be questions, so I'll attempt to tell you how we decided to play the game tonight. I had a meeting, as I did the other night, with Pat and Matt and Andrew Friedman, the two managers, all the umpires, groundskeeper. We had obviously monitored the weather all day. Of course there was no rain forecast, but as the day went on it got worse. But we were told at about 7:45 that there would only be about 1/10th inch of rain between then and midnight or after. So everybody in the room wanted to play. Even though this often isn't a democracy, I asked everyone what they wanted and everyone said "let's play."
And given the weather forecast we had, and we had monitored it over and over again, it was a decision that we made. And obviously I made it with some significant trepidation, but had the forecast held we would have been okay.
I thought the umpires did an extraordinary job, as did the Philadelphia grounds crew. They did a remarkable job. I came down in the fourth inning and was getting very nervous. Came back in the fifth inning and sat with the groundskeeper and then I asked to see Tim Welke, who will speak here in a minute, and that's when we decided that the game was going to be suspended.
So I can't tell you tonight when we'll resume. We'll resume, weather permitting, when the health and welfare of our players is protected as much as it can be.
The rule, if the game is tied, Major League rule 4.12(6), and it's suspended game. It's a regulation game. It's called with the score tied, and so I'd like to call first on Tim Welke, and you guys take it from there.
TIM WELKE: Groundskeeper, Mike Boekholder and his crew did a great job. They groomed the field probably after the third inning or after the fourth inning, every half inning, and they were keeping up with. Then the velocity of the rain made it such when we were playing at the top of the sixth it became harder and harder.
What we look for as umpires is the integrity of the mound and the batter's box, and that was never compromised. Guys weren't falling off the mound pitching, delivering, and the hitters weren't slipping out of the box. So we felt comfortable going. But due to just the velocity of the rain, Mike and his crew couldn't keep up with keeping the field. So at that point we were going to stop. And that's what we did.
TIM TSCHIDA: That pretty much covers it. When the wind turned around and started coming in from right field is when you started to see where players had trouble catching the ball and now the game runs the risk of being comical. We never reached that point. And our goal all along was to stay that way. And it turns out we have pretty identical line scores at the end of the day, and it didn't seem to be worse for one team or the other. What's fair and fair with us. And we just felt that we went as far as we could go.
RICH LEVIN: Any other comments from anyone in the front table? We'll take questions, but we have a microphone on each side, so please wait for the microphone.

Q. What would have happened had the Phillies been leading at the end of the sixth? What's the rule and what was the contingency plan?
COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: The rule, we would have gone into a rain delay, and that rain delay would have lasted until, weather permitting, we could resume the game. And that might be a day or two or three or whatever.

Q. So the game wouldn't have been called --
COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: No, sir. I was not going to allow that to happen.

Q. Commissioner, since you have not announced the time when this will be resumed, how much notice are you going to give fans and how much do they deserve?
COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: They deserve a lot. We've talked to the Phillies and Dave Montgomery, and it will be a usual starting time of the game and we'll know, I would think, many hours beforehand. We have to watch the weather. It just is tricky. I know that many second guess, and I understand that. I've seen some of it.
But the thing that's been so difficult is that the weather, it just keeps changing. It changed during the game tonight. But obviously we're very sensitive to that, and we'll bend over backwards to be sensitive to the Philly fans who have been tremendous.

Q. Mr. Commissioner, you used the word "sensitive, appropriate," talking about the players' safety, why not cancel the game or call the game in the inning before, because there were 45,000 people who thought the game should have been postponed or called at least 30 minutes before. It was a mess out there.
COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: I think I've explained that. I came down. Nobody had come in to see me. I had come down and met with the groundskeeper, who again, I want to repeat it again, have done a remarkable job. And he kept telling me the field's okay. The field's okay. It just deteriorated in the end at certain parts, that's exactly what they said. And that's what Tim said to me when he saw me. That's the first conversation we had. And as soon as I knew that the game was off.

Q. Based on the information you're getting, what's the likelihood you could pick up tomorrow or versus next day?
COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: If I told you tonight what I think of meteorologists, and what they tell me may happen tomorrow...
I went to bed last night, it was less than 10 percent chance, no chance. We want to get up tomorrow and we'll talk to everybody and we'll see exactly what the situation is.
That's a fair question, but we've engaged -- look, we sat tonight, let me just say this, because I know this is one of those situations in life where it's very easy to second guess. But we sat tonight with people, Pat Gillick has been in baseball as long as I have, maybe a little longer. I went through that room and everybody in the room, with all their experience, and Matt will tell you this and the umpires will tell you this, I had a nagging fear because these forecasts have changed so much. But had it been what three different weather services told us it would be, we'd be at the end of the game right now and we wouldn't be sitting here.
I don't want to speculate now, we'll see what happens. But we're not going to resume until we have decent weather conditions.

Q. I just want to make perfectly clear what you said earlier: If it had been 2-1 at the end of that inning, we would have sat here for as long as it took?
COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: The game would have been in a rain delay until weather conditions allowed us to continue. And that might have been 24 hours or 48 hours or who knows.

Q. Just two things: Bud, one clarification on the rule, the suspended game means that it will resume from the point where it was stopped?

Q. And secondly, is there any thought considering the weather here for the next few days that ultimately this might have to be moved down to Tampa to be finished off?
COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: No, we'll stay here. We'll stay here if we have to celebrate Thanksgiving here. (Laughter.)
Q. You mentioned, if I understood you correctly, when it resumes it will be the usual start time of a game. Are you looking for a break in the weather window tomorrow or Wednesday? Will it definitely be a night game for TV?
COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: It will definitely be a night game. Tim asked about the fans, you know, these fans obviously came and bought tickets for a night game, so they deserve to come back and see a night game. Yes, it will be the same starting time, whether it's Tuesday night or Wednesday night or Thursday night or whenever. But, yes, it will be.

Q. Two questions, Bud, for you: You mentioned that you came down and talked to the groundskeepers in the fifth inning when it started to get really hard. Why then was the call not made until the middle of the sixth inning? And then, Pat, for you, how much concern was there that Hamels, obviously your best pitcher, might be rain-delayed right out of the game.
COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: I'll answer first, and then Pat can.
When I came down in the fifth inning, and the head groundskeeper is a wonderful young man and he really did a great job, he's very proud of his field, as well he should be, and he said, "We're okay." He then called the weatherman. I was going to make a nasty comment, but I won't. He then called the weatherman and he said, "Look, I think we're okay, but let's see what happens." And the problem was it got worse. The winds changed. I mean, things happened that we didn't -- that's why I came back again because I was really getting very, very concerned.
The first three innings it didn't rain at all. I got lucky, I thought in the last of the third, hey, the guy was wrong, there's no rain at all. So I guess I'm the jinx here.
PAT GILLICK: Well, naturally we're not happy that Hamels is out of the game. But one of the strengths of our ballclub is the bullpen. So when we pick this game up, be it tomorrow or Wednesday, whenever it might be, I think that Andrew and Joe and his club probably be in the bullpen, also. So that's where it will kind of be fought here in Game 5.
You can't do anything about the weather, as the Commissioner said. We knew going into this evening we thought we'd get the game in. I think as the Commissioner mentioned, everybody in the room felt that we could get this ballgame in. But there was a change in the weather, and unfortunately those things happen. So we'll just have to go on from here and go get them whenever we can play.

Q. Commissioner, you said that this game would not have been stopped, it would have played whenever it was. Is there an official rule in place for the postseason that states that, or is that just your call not to let a World Series game end in that fashion?
COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: Well, I guess putting everything else aside, it's my judgment. I have to use my judgment. It's not a way to end a World Series. And I think there's enough, and I have enough authority, here, frankly, so that I think that I'm not only on solid ground, I'm on very solid ground. But I think I know, and we have two clubs here, who by the way, both Saturday night and tonight I must say have been remarkably cooperative and understanding, and we're well into the process and well into the decision making. And I would not have allowed the World Series to end this way.

Q. Commissioner, you mentioned that you used three different forecasting services, and since the weather has been an issue in two of the games here, could you talk about what services you use? And was it all a consensus that it was not going to rain?
COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: Gordon, the answer is no and no. But, look, there are three weather services. The Phillies actually use three. I know I have another one I use. Other people have. The interesting part is they were all three optimistic tonight. The forecast was somewhere about 1/10th inch of rain, which the groundskeeper, Mike, kept telling me, "Commissioner, don't worry. We can handle that. That's nothing."
I don't want to get into a discussion of weather services. I used to bang them enough when I ran the Brewers, so I'm not going to do that tonight.

Q. For the umpiring crew, in the fifth inning, Scott Kazmir walked the first two batters and had trouble with his cleats. Were the Rays complaining about the conditions at that time?
TIM WELKE: No, but I think at that time that's when they groomed the field and came out and groomed the mound. They bought out a tongue compressor, and then I think shortly thereafter he left the game, if I remember. But nobody was wild.
As I said earlier, the first thing we look for is the integrity of the mound and secondly the integrity of the batter's box. And those were maintained throughout. It's just the integrity of the infield, because of the velocity of the rain, and the more Diamond Dust you put on, the quicker it becomes wet again, and the field started to become very slick. And at that point we couldn't go any farther because of the infield.

Q. Does this at all change the idea of MLB possibly moving the regular season back and starting the postseason a little earlier? The urgency hasn't been there in the past, but perhaps it is now that this has happened two games?
COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: Well, as an amateur meteorologist, let me assure you it rains in November and it rains in mid-October. You can get warmer weather as the Fall goes on.
No, really, look, you know, like most things in life you have to be lucky. Leo Durocher once said it is better to be lucky than good. I think we have been pretty good, but we certainly haven't been lucky. A week one way or another, if you study the weather and the weeks, look, it's warming this weekend after the intense cold in the Midwest, which is now coming here. And if the World Series was played next week, we would have been better off.
But, no, that really is not a factor.

Q. This question is for either of the umpires: After Scott Kazmir walked those two batters, the next hitter hit a pop fly in the infield. The game announcers said they did not see an infield fly rule called. I wonder if that was because of the conditions. I wondered the same.
TIM TSCHIDA: The infield fly rule requires the umpires' judgment to determine whether or not a ball can be caught with ordinary effort, and that includes wind. It includes sun. The thing we were looking at usually is how comfortable that player is under the ball, because if he is comfortable under the ball, he can let it fall and possibly turn two. When he has to focus, as difficult as that was, the rule really isn't necessary to enforce at that time because he's going to do everything he can just to catch it.
While you brought that question up, one of the things we're kind of overlooking here is, the players were truly professional through this whole thing. Everyone played. No one complained about the conditions. No one, "What are we doing out here?" Which usually happens in these situations. It did not occur tonight. And they should really be commended for what they've done.

Q. For Matt and Pat, were you apprised before the game started that there was going to be this sort of different interpretation of the rain delay rule, and that the game would not be called early with a winner?
MATT SILVERMAN: There was significant discussion before the game and before Saturday's game about the conditions. I stepped out before the conversation was concluded, and Pat can talk about it, there was discussion of in a close game what might happen if the rain started. And the decision was made at that time that there would be this rain delay, and that the game wouldn't end without playing the full nine innings.
PAT GILLICK: Yes, as the Commissioner said we had a discussion and the judgment if there was to be a rain delay, it would be certainly the judgment of the Commissioner. And I think both of us, both Andrew and myself, we wanted to make sure that if this game was to be played, we wanted it to play to the conclusion. I wanted it played fairly, both sides, Tampa Bay and ourselves. We were aware that the Commissioner could, even with the score not tied, could continue this game later and call a rain delay until the proper conditions did exist.
COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG: Let me pick up on that. Again, I was very careful at the outset of this press conference to say that in the meeting beforehand, all these things were discussed in some great detail. This comes not only as no surprise, but Pat and Andrew and I actually had a very meaningful discussion on all of these things.
The players had been professional. I want to say again. That the clubs and these two gentlemen, Andrew, and everybody connected have been very professional. There were no surprises here. All this had been covered.

Q. There is a rule, just for clarification, that this game was an official game. It could be moved back to the end of the last complete inning, and the Phillies would, in fact, win the game if you did that. That is an option, if you just chose to suspend it; is that correct?
TIM WELKE: I'll answer that. That's the old rule. We used to revert back. That's been changed and we now go under the suspended rule.

Q. Matt, what's your hotel situation for the players?
MATT SILVERMAN: We did check out of our hotel and we're looking into other accommodations. I think we have them. It may not be within Philadelphia proper, but it should be close.

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